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March 3 2009
Vin Diesel Wheelman - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
26/3/2009UbisoftUbisoft /
Midway
Tigon /
Midway Newcastle
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1None$119.95
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Vin Diesel is accurately modeled for Wheelman.
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Getting some major air with the truck.

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Vin Diesel jumps over the vehicle.
When it comes to open world games few can go past Grand Theft Auto IV or EA's Burnout Paradise. Both are brilliant games in their own right. Vin Diesel Wheelman looks to straddle both titles with more driving then in Rockstar's title, but more action then in EA's. It should be a good mix if they get it right. So what's it about then?

Vin Diesel stars as undercover agent and highly skilled driver Milo Burik who must infiltrate the Barcelona underworld to gather intelligence surrounding a covert heist. Posing as a driver-for-hire, he ends up caught in a crossfire of corruption and chaos while trying to stay one step ahead of local law enforcement and rival gangs.

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Expect Wheelman to be action packed.
Essentially this game is all about the car (or motorbike) chases and action sequences. During the game you can choose your own route through the living, breathing city of Barcelona as you complete more than 30 missions and 100 side-missions, or simply drive around and take in the breathtaking Spanish architecture. The driving sections aren't Driving Miss Daisy as you will be able to sideswipe, and ram, enemies - or have your enemies do that to you. Not only will you complete these missions, but also seek out all the game’s hidden cinematic jumps and golden lion statues.

It's not about driving the cars though as you will also be able to shoot at enemies from within the vehicles, while one of the coolest functions is called an 'Air Jack'. This maneuver sees you leaping from one moving vehicle to another in order to get a brand new ride. Another very cool move is the 360° Cyclone Spin where you can spin the vehicle around 180° to take out anyone that's behind you, and then spin back 180° again to resume your route.

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Shooting at the enemies from a vehicle.
So you can do pretty much anything in the car, but the developers have also grabbed some of the people that worked on John Woo's Stranglehold to work on the on-foot sections in this game. At times Milo can jump out of the car for some action on the streets of Barcelona.

With the developers promising at least 8-10 hours of game time, but with no multi-player, we have to wonder just how much value there will be in this game. While the potential demise of Midway is a potential issue, the developers are still talking about downloadable content being released down the track. As with all PS3 games being released after the end of 2008 we can expect the game to include support for Trophies.

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The PS3 version of Wheelman looks impressive.
On a technical level Wheelman uses the Unreal engine to power the game, and even the developers have stated that getting the best out of the PS3 isn't easy at all (in fact their quote was "The PS3 is a huge pain in the ass". To go with the game engine developers Midway Newcastle have incorporated the Havok physics engine.

Visually Wheelman looks pretty impressive with Vin Diesel in particular being superbly modeled. Locations look quite nice, and animation impressive too. If the game can hold a solid frame rate then this has the potential to be one of the strongest PS3 releases visually. Certainly some of the good news is that the development of this game hasn't been rushed, it has been in development for a couple of years now, and it continues to look better every time we see it.

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Gun battles in Vin Diesel Wheelman on PS3.
While there had been talk that this game would also see a theatrical movie released around the same time that early plan doesn't seem to have materialised. Having said that in a few short months Vin Diesel will star in a new movie Fast and Furious and fans of this game will likely check out that movie, while fans of the movie would do well to check out this game despite entirely separate stories and characters. Thanks to Ubisoft stepping in to help publish and distribute this title we will be able to get our hands on Vin Diesel Wheelman on March 26th.