Monday, July 13, 2009

Reinventing the Wheel

Recently, I was given a copy of "Wheelman" for the Xbox 360. This is a driving game in which you are a CIA agent who looks like (and is voiced by) Vin Diesel. You are tasked with...no, it's your job to...um...actually, I don't really know. I'm certain that you have an overarching goal that will be reached at the end of the game, I just have no idea what the hell it actually is.

So, mostly, I just drive around Barcelona, accepting missions and blowing shit up. Basically, if you've played any of the Burnout games, it's a lot like that except there are a few key differences.

First of all, someone thought Vin Diesel would be great for this game. As far as I'm concerned, they could have had Lisa Simpson voicing the main character and I would not have cared. Mostly this is because I haven't really been paying much attention to the cutscenes, since I already established that I have no idea what is actually going on in the game.

Yes, there are guns. You can lean out your car and shoot your gun while driving. Or you can use a special aiming mode where you simply shoot through your own windshield at other cars. You can drive any variety of automobile--from a semi to a motorcycle (or, even more humorously, a scooter!). also, you can use "vehicle melee" attacks, which are a fancy way of saying "ram the other guy so far into oblivion so that even his mother feels it, and several kittens cry." You can also airjack cars which means you basically jump from one vehicle to the next in a stunning display of Batman'esque manuevers, only without the nipples on the costume.

There are plenty of side missions to keep you occupied. They range from your basic "Rampage" (a.k.a. "Trash the Entire City") to "Made to Order" where you airjack one or more cars and take them back to a certain spot. These I find to be much more fun than the actual plot-related missions. Quit talking so much and let me blow shit up, already. If you rank high enough in any of these missions, you get bonuses like upgraded vehicle toughness or free valet parking at your local crime lord's estate.

The game is not without its flaws--the plot being one of them. The controls can sometimes be a little loose and tough to control and I still have not yet gotten used to drifting around corners yet. This is not a game I traditionally would have bought but since it didn't cost me anything, I can't complain. All in all, I'd probably give it a "B".

Next review:

SyFy Pictures Presents: "Sand Serpents"

Oh wow...this movie had "standard SyFy movie formula written all over it." It stars all your favorite celebrities like..."that one dude" and "that chick with the hair" and...yeah, who am I kidding? The cast is riddled with a bunch of nobodies who were hoping that this movie would be their big break. Guess what? It's not!

I know nothing about Army ranks and units, so I'm can't adequately use Army terms. You'll have to bear with me. So this Army unit is in Afghanistan, trying to kill lots of Taliban dudes and they get captured. Then the Taliban dudes mysteriously disappear, leaving the Army dudes to escape on their own, having no idea what happened but suspecting the Taliban dudes were eaten by something (the gigantic burp didn't give it away, of course).

The short of it is that a Taliban blast awoke these gigantic sand worms from deep beneath the surface and now they're hungry or pissed off or bored or something. All I know is, I kept waiting for a "Dune" or "Tremors" reference and never got one. Boooooo!

The movie is actually rather entertaining and follows SyFy's "army goes in and finds something unexpected" formula rather closely. Bullets obviously do no good against the worms (big surprise) and, in the end, they have to lob explosives at the worms.

There are several holes in the movie, the biggest of which was when the Afghani child runs out in front of the Army's stolen truck, causing it to flip. She was trying to stop them from driving down the stretch of road that was mined. Yet, later, they drive down that same stretch of road! Also, why aren't any of these worms setting off mines? I'm sure that would help the situation a bit. Maybe the mines were set to "don't kill worms".

Anyway, the movie is predictable, the Army guys are whiny and unlikeable (I include the chicks in this group as well) and the Taliban dudes are stupid and evil. Also, with all the gunplay in this movie, it's astounding that nobody can hit the broad side of a barn...er...worm. They all may as well be playing Laser Tag.

Here are your Drive-In Totals:
Full-body chomping: Lots
People actually shot: 2
Whining: Constant
Choppers yoinked from the sky: 1
"Graboids" jokes made by me: several
IED-fu
Grenade-fu
Worm-fu

3 1/2 stars

He can manipulate the action

No comments: