Wheelman Demo Impressions

Listening to: Nothing.


I downloaded and tried the Wheelman demo the other night on my XBOX360. It's an action/racing game that utilizes the 3D likeness of famous actor and bald man, Vin Diesel.

Overall, I was slightly underwhelmed by the entire experience. For a game that desperately relies on tension and a sense of speed, I never really got a feeling for either. I made plenty of mistakes (there's a woman telling you to do certain things to escape the police), but was never punished for them. I might as well have just driven around the city and purchased some gelato on the way as the outcome would've probably been the same. The game also kept telling me I was "speeding" (and thus filling my "Burnout" meter), but it never felt like I was driving any faster than a 100cc race in Mario Kart. I was always just slowly... getting... away.


Speaking of Mario Kart, the game also had this weird game mechanic that felt a lot like Mario Kart: Double Dash. If you double-tapped left or right, your car would shift perpendicular to the road in the respective direction. It's like when you press the L or R buttons Double Dash and ram another opponent. Things like this took away from the over-the-top action feel and ended up just feeling cartoonish and unrealistic.

Granted, it's "just a game", but the presentation is obviously not meant to be interpreted as cartoonish or unrealistic. It turned out the game wasn't even mildly extreme.

I guess I just wished the game had a more exciting feel to it, like the underrated Stuntman: Ignition. It wasn't the best game in the world, but it really got your blood pumping (out of excitement or frustration) during the last stretch in a long stunt run.

Hopefully it was just because it was the demo and wanted to be as accessible (often confused with "easy") as possible. The graphics, at least, were nice and the main character sure looked like Vin Diesel. You know, all brooding and fast and furious and furrowing his eyebrows all the time.

Fact: Vin Diesel's greatest role ever was as the Iron Giant in the movie The Iron Giant. He was very convincing. Oh, and then there's this instructional video too. That's the most realistic hair I've ever seen.