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Wheelman • Page 2

Even better than the wheel thing.

Via various production meeting, Diesel advised on The Wheelman's 'Super Moves'. Essentially, 'cool driving' helps build up your Focus Meter, and, when topped up, gives you access to time-limited moves that give you the upper hand when the heat is on. Accessible via up on the d-pad, The Cyclone slows time down while allowing you to swing the car around 180 degrees for ten seconds or so. At this point, you've got a brief window in which to loose off a deadly volley of targeted pot shots at specific parts of your pursuers. To help you out, you can cycle between red targeting reticules and take out individual tyres, as well as the occupants of the vehicle itself.

When it's all over, the car swings back around and it's time to focus on the small matter of driving like a loon. To add a further layer to the mechanics, how well you can aim during these sequences depends on how well you're driving, so if you're doing cool handbrake turns and generally not crashing into walls every five seconds, you'll be able to hit the target when it counts.

Another key element of the driving combat is the use of the right stick to ram opponents off the road. Rather than simply steering to ram, you can effectively focus on driving in a straight line but have a rather more forceful barge effect when you apply the right stick. In addition, when opponents sidle up, using the left bumper (or L1 on the PS3) allows you to shoot at where the automatic reticule dictates - such as at their tyres or at the individuals busily shooting the shit out of your ride.

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Shooting often makes driving more fun.

As you might expect, The Wheelman is a game with an awful lot of destruction going on. Practically every piece of scenery can be smashed to bits in spectacular fashion, while the vehicle damage modelling has been lavished with a similarly pleasing degree of care. While it's fair to comment that the frame-rate's not quite there yet, at this early stage, with months of polish to come, the final game ought to boast impressively chaotic scenes. Evidently the scripted levels lead you via the most damage-happy routes possible, but the freedom to take your own route is also apparent.

The serious concern right now is how the on-foot elements will be bedded into the missions. In the demo missions shown off, the scripted AI is clearly nowhere near finished, and the rather loose aiming mechanics and absence of cover utilisation left everyone in no doubt that there's still a lot of work to do in shoring up this part of the game. To give Midway some slack, the publisher admits that the difficulty was set at a low level during Gamers Day, so we'll have to see how this part of the game develops over the coming months.

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