The Wheel Man

2017 April 28


The New “Ubisoft” game “Wheel Man” stars the Shoot ‘em up, growly-voiced action star Vin Diesel, set in the picturesque city of Barcelona. Milo (Vin Diesel) is the hired driver who plays gangs off against gangs and in the rise to the top, sends most of the Spanish police force to an early grave.

The idea as far as I’m aware, is to combine excitement of big, brash and plosive Hollywood action scenes, with the self-control to be involved in the outcome … all well and good and a brilliant idea you might think? To some, maybe but to me, not at all.

The reason Hollywood action films have such excitement is because the action is concentrated and related to the tension built up in the scenes preceding the chase/shootout. In the game, you can do chases where and whenever, which after a while began to take some of the drama out of it. During these epic battles, you could have five or six cars chasing you at one time (fairly standard in cinema of course) but there is only a certain amount of times that you can shoot a car with completely realistic ease and accuracy and the resulting slowed, fiery, car flipping explosion keeps its cinematic intensity. After a very short amount of time, the novelty wears off and you actually just want to get on with the driving part of the driving game – after all, you are playing a game, not watching a film!

I had the good fortune to play this game at a friend’s house, who happens to have a rather large television and a huge comfy sofa. This you might think would make a game designed to give a cinematic experience that little extra advantage. Again, no. It more served to aggravate how annoying it was to constantly have everything slow down in a tedious, repetitive, even less realistic than cinema sort of way.

My nitpicking doesn’t stop there; cinema is very rarely hugely realistic in the same way few games claim to be hugely realistic. It seems ludicrous to take what realism is left in action driving films and just throw it in the bin… In this game, you can go from full speed to 0 as soon as you reach a destination, spin your car in a perfect 180, jump from moving cars onto stationary ones that miraculously begin to move before you have even reached them – its just too unrealistic to achieve its aim of being a Hollywood game.

If you’re looking for a mess-about driving game, then “Wheelman” is great. If you want a good game, get something else. For realism or action, go to a rowdy G20 protest and if it’s a more cinematic action you’re after, then do what we have always done and go rent a film.

Jack Carnell