While some may claim this is just another GTA knock-off I really think the game is trying to break new ground by focusing on vehicular combat and action. I think the game fell short because it didn't focus enough on what it did well. Any open environment game that has to do with criminal activities and the underbelly of crime is instantly smacked with the moniker "GTA clone" and already is branded with a bad mark against it even before the press really sits down to review it. IGN's rating stinks, plain and simple. With the dubious amount of Wii games they've handed high scores to, I say shenanigans. Now am I saying this game is a "10" run out and buy it? No, I am not; but if you give it a chance, you may find something you like. The high points of the game: -Vin Diesel character/ voice work -Vehicle Combat -Pretty Good story -Plenty of things to do in the game on the side So why should you rent this game? Well, if you're a fan of Vin Diesel, that's a pretty good reason. The main character is modeled after him and is voiced by him. Diesel's own game studio Tigon was involved, so he's had a lot of input for the game. I think as a self-proclaimed gamer (if you've watched the interviews) this goes a long way in making the game. The vehicle combat is very slick and stylized. I like what the game does with the melee strikes when you flick the right stick in the direction of other cars. The races are fun, especially since you can shoot at your competition and use the super moves to decimate them. Unfortunately there is a downside: I really wish the developers would have focused on the vehicle combat. I mean give us more vehicles, make them upgradeable, new moves to unlock, things like that. So, without these things the game quickly becomes stale with the same animations for destruction and use after use of the super moves. In trying to appeal to a larger audience, the game falls short of what it tries to do. Nevertheless, a step in the right direction. Try it.
Wheelman is a fine and aptly titled game, especially when you consider you will probably spend over 90% of the game driving. It is fun for the 1-2 days it will take you to finish it, and I experienced no glitches or bugs of any kind, so by all means rent it for a spin.
Whether considering the game as a whole, or breaking it (or any game) down to its components, about all I can say is that it is a fair-good game but nothing more. Graphics are servicable, shooting is adequate, voice acting and storyline are OK, and the driving has it's merits at times. The shortcoming of the game is that while you spend the overwhelming majority of the game driving, there are only perhaps a dozen vehicles in the game, and even fewer that you will wind up driving with any regularity.
The game boasts over 100 total missions including side missions, but when you consider that most side missions are only 1-3 minutes in length, that boast doesn't exactly equate to there being much meat on the bones.
So, I'd recommend the rental, it was fun, and I don't have any regrets, but after a few days it will likely feel like it's time to mail it back.