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Have you ever wanted to work in video games? Well that's what the guys at GameBizCo Inc. do. Literally.

Join the cast of Another Videogame Webcomic as we peek behind the curtain to see what exactly goes into bringing your favorite video games to the small screen. It may be a job in video games, but it's still a job.

Wheelman

Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Price: $59.99 (PS3, Xbox 360), $49.99 (PC)

What do you get when you combine GTA-style sandbox gameplay with crazy Burnout Paradise style driving and add a dash of a generic summer blockbuster plot? You get Wheelman, a game that couldn't be more suited for its virtual star, Vin Diesel. (But is it just me or does the guy on the box art not look like Vin Diesel?)

In Wheelman, you take to the streets of Barcelona as Milo Burik (by way of Vin Diesel), an undercover CIA operative posing as a getaway driver (hence the name of the game) to infiltrate the three major gangs in the city and turn them against each other. As you progress through the story missions, you uncover a deep and complex plot of intrigue and mystery... actually, no that's not right at all. The story in Wheelman is about as complex as you'd find in a Michael Bay movie . But you don't watch a Michael Bay movie for the plot, you watch it for the big action set pieces. And the same goes for Wheelman. You're not playing it for the plot, you're playing it for the big action set pieces.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a huge fan of sandbox games and driving games are rarely my cup of tea. In fact, I'm not even sure I like Vin Diesel all that much. But the combination of the three in Wheelman makes for an interesting experience. The game can be played in one of two ways, either as a sandbox game where you steal cars and cause general mayhem or as a mission-based driving game, jumping from one mission to another without having to worry about evading the police in between. The story missions are equal parts extreme driving and on-foot shootouts but the side missions are strictly variations on driving (races, vehicle combat, taxi missions, etc.). While it's nice that the developers extended the gameplay experience with the side missions, they do get a little repetitive. It would have been nice to have the side missions include some of the elements from the story missions.

What doesn't get old are the gameplay mechanics that make you feel like you're playing an action movie. You can smash your vehicle into oother pursuing vehicles with the flick of the right analog stick. If you do that enough times, you're treated to a dramatically presented crash and let me tell you, there's nothing quite as satisfying as watching the car that was trying to run you off the road crash and burn into a pile of scrap while the driver flies through the windshield. But if you're looking for other ways to stop your enemies you can try the aimed shot or the even more impressive cyclone move. They're both "bullet time"-like maneuvers where you slow down the game in order to line up that perfect shot to blow up a car with a few well-aimed bullets. The aimed shot targets opponents in front of you while the cyclone spins your vehicle around 180 degrees. Finally, you can "airjack" a car, stealing a car at high speed, jumping from one car to another without slowing down the action. (Actually, the only thing that does slow down the action are the ubiquitous loading screens...)

And the action, as well as the graphics, never fail to impress. The city is meticulously detailed to the point where I feel like if I played the game enough, I'd be able to find my way around Barcelona. (But if the real Barcelona is anything like the game Barcelona, I might not want to visit...) My only complaint about the look of the game is actually the Vin Diesel character model. Unlike the box art, Milo Burik looks a lot like Vin Diesel... except that it always looks like he just ate a bag full of black licorice. Seriously, what's up with the teeth? Are they that hard to model?

Rating

I knew from playing the demo that I would enjoy the game. Its over-the-top presentation makes for an extremely fun experience. But after playing the full game, I feel like Wheelman is bogged down with repetitive side missions. All of the story missions are different to a degree but they only account for a quarter of the total missions. And once you've completed all of the story and side missions, there isn't much to keep you playing the game. So I'd probably recommend "renting" this one.

But if you really like sandbox games or don't think you'll get tired of playing the same kind of mission over and over again (for a higher grade), Wheelman might be worth a buy. Like I said before, I did enjoy the game I just don't think it's a game that I'd play over and over again or even pick up after the story has been completed.

Recommendations

I'm not sure what to recommend this week. I honestly don't play a lot of sandbox or driving games. Sure, I could go the easy route and recommend something like GTA4 , but I'm not sure I have the depth of experience with those types of games to make a definitive recommendation. Although, I am looking forward to PROTOTYPE , which will be out in a couple of months... and that's both a sandbox game and and over-the-top action game. But can I really recommend something that hasn't come out yet and something I've played for all of 10 minutes?

chamber715

Player Two

After the resurgence of multiplayer co-op, GameBizCo Inc. hired Player Two to be the Goose to someone else's Maverick. His workload isn't quite as heavy as most of the other people working at GameBizCo Inc. and as a result, he spends a lot of time in the break room or playing computer solitaire.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

Player One

Player One is top dog at GameBizCo Inc. Nearly every game, from Pong to Mario Bros to Grand Theft Auto, requires Player One's expertise. His cocksure and sometimes inappropriate attitude is an annoyance to his coworkers but seeing as every game needs a first player, they make due.
First Appearance: Bonus Stage! Here comes Player One!

Damsel I. Distress

Whether it be a castle, a dungeon or mystical island, Damsel always needs to be saved... and she hates it. Damsel longs for the day when she's given the role of a strong female lead character who doesn't have huge breasts with hyper accurate physics.
First Appearance: LittleBIGPlanet

Final Boss

Underneath the huge brute that is Final Boss lies a timid creature who wouldn't hurt a fly. He puts on his "angry face" when throwing barrels down ramps or breathing fire but deep down he feels sorry for doing so. He's been known to throw a game or two in the player's favor.
First Appearance: World Record

John Minion

John Minion, or Min for short, is the hardest working employee at GameBizCo Inc. Playing everything from Goombas to no name thugs, Min gets beat up on a daily basis but loves every minute of it. He always wanted to work in the gaming industry and was originally hired as an intern. After years of getting coffee, his big break came when someone called in sick... and the rest is history.
First Appearance: Watchmen: The End is Nigh

Middle Manager

Middle Manager works in the Human Resources department. He runs staff meetings and interviews prospective employees. The other 90% of his time is spent playing Freecell on his computer.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

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