50 Cent: Blood on The Sand

One of the biggest egos in the music industry has delivered another game for us to play. His previous offering, Bulletproof, was about as welcome as a fart in a space suit so is Blood on the Sand the breath of fresh air we need?

The first thing I noticed about this game wasn’t the sweary nature of everything. It wasn’t the way it borrows from other games. It was actually that it’s quite good to play. I can honestly say I didn’t see that coming. I was not expecting good things, but good things I was given. Initially, you have to basically ignore the “plot” because it’s, well, cobblers. Fiddy has finished a concert when the shady gentleman in charge of paying him confesses to the fact that he has no money. He, quite luckily, has a jeweled skull which will do quite nicely, though. The game unfolds when this skull is swiped from under Fiddy’s dragging knuckles, and he takes up the chase through a seemingly lawless, and now quite wartorn, city.

The game seems to borrow elements from a few other titles. The cover system is very Gears of War, while the scoring system has come from The Club. Yes folks, you’re awarded bonus points for flourish – kill the myriad of baddies in all sorts of ways for bonus scores. For added fun, click the left stick when you’re doing it and you can swear at them for points. Blood on the Sand also borrows that hidden targets idea from The Club, with each level having posters of our favourite scowling hip-hop stars to collect, and targets to shoot for mega bonuses – essential if you want to unlock absolutely everything there is to be had. Getting a decent score run lights up your Gangsta meter, allowing you to enter “Gangsta Fire” which is Fiddy’s version of Bullet-Time. Having said that, I found that it’s not all that useful and runs out too quickly.

Variety comes in the weaponry, and in the game scenarios. You can, of course, pick up the guns discarded by your fallen foes, but should you fancy something a bit newer you can stop off at a payphone and contact your weapons dealer, and if you have enough bling (collected from big bling crates throughout the levels) you can by some new toys to kill people with. The shop also stocks new close combat moves (a quick time event, which is generally rubbish!) and new sweary things to shout at your fallen foes. Yes, that’s right, Mr Cent has to go to a shop and spend $20,000 to learn a few new insults.

As you play through a level you’ll occasionally be alerted to a scenario – these are special scoring sections which usually require you to take multiple targets down within a set period of time. These help to break up the gameplay a little, often forcing you to go from cover-and-shoot to run-and-gun gameplay. These are also the sections where you’ll get the least help from your chosen G-Unit member.

Ah yes, your support guy. You can be accompanied by one of three members of G-Unit. These guys hardly miss anything they shoot at, and I found that there were a few times when I was alerted to an enemy by them, only to then find that they had also dispatched said enemy in almost the same virtual breath. This is a little bit annoying if you’re looking for a decent score combo, and your buddy pops a cap in the ass of your intended target. Your buddy is also essential for helping you get around the levels, as there are assisted jumps and heavy doors that require teamwork to overcome. The other criticism I would make of the computer controlled buddy is that he seems to be pretty much indestructable which is a shame – the game would be increased if you had the tension of knowing your guy had gone down leaving you to fend for yourself.

Graphically, I found the game to be very impressive – the string of identical enemies was a bit of a let down, particularly as their different coloured shirts made me think of the extras in a Star Trek episode as I despatched yet another un-named bit part. Soundwise, the voice acting is generally good and veers away from the wooden fare we often get, and there are a whole heap of new 50 Cent tracks to listen to as you play. I can say, with my hand on my heart, that they all kind of sounded the same to me but it’s not music from my particular aisle of HMV so that may be why but as music to listen to as you go through a level goes, it’s not too bad at all.







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