50 Cent: Blood on the Sand Review: G-Unit Tours The Middle East
Go Go Go Go Shawty…
Yeah it’s Fiddy. Here we have a game that by any shape or form sounds like it should be bad. A lot of people are expecting it to be bad based on 50’s first game, “Bulletproof.” But hey, for some reason that game sold millions, so, like any blockbuster, you know it would get a “sequel.” After getting a chance to sit down with the man himself in our exclusive preview, and getting some hands on time with the game TrueGameHeadz came away feeling good about the project.
The full retail version does not disappoint. I must say that Swordfish Studios did their homework for “Blood on the Sand.” Developers of the little known sleeper title “Cold Winter” from back in the day, they nailed the big budget “blockbuster” feel of this game. Borrowing generously from the ideals seen in last year’s Sega release, “The Club,” and “Gears of War,” they developed a control scheme for “Get Rich” …er “Blood in the Sand” that feels polished and familiar. You will not find any problems with the control setup as you’ll feel in control when using the game’s many weapons, and the cover system works admirably. The Counter Kill system can be considered comparable to the chain saw kill in “Gears” where you run up to the enemy and hit the attack button, which launches a quick time event that shows you how bad war can be.
If you haven’t played “The Club,” “B.O.T.S.” borrows the arcade-like mechanics of chaining your kills for a multiplier, while a timer counts down in order to score big points. Each time you dispatch an enemy the counter starts and if you take out another one before the meter runs out you have a successful chain. You’ll also rack up big points for multiple kills at once like any shooter worth its salt.
Let me tell you a bit about the story in this game, while far reaching, it is a bit meatier than most games in this genre. You take control of Curtis “Only my friends call me that” Jackson A.K.A. 50 Cent, out on tour in what appears to be the Middle East, when a concert promoter decides to short Fiddy and G-Unit the money promised for performing. (Surprisingly, this happens a lot more than people would like to admit with shady concert promoters.) So you got me there. Instead of getting dealt street justice, the promoter offers up to 50 a priceless artifact (loosely based off of Damien Hirst’s diamond skull). 50 accepts this artifact as payment, and that’s where the fun starts. You see in this version of the Middle East, you can’t just go rolling around with a diamond skully in your lap, so 50’s motorcade is attacked and the skull is stolen from him. Big mistake. You don’t steal from Fiddy twice! He personally declares war on the regime in an effort to get his skull back. Along for the ride are is the G-Unit crew (Llyod Banks, Tony Yayo, or Dj Whoo Kid), one of which you get to pick from to fight alongside you. I chose to roll with Yayo, because of his unique voice and his wise cracks served as comic relief. (The driving stage cannot be missed).
The option to jump into co-op online is also available to go through this game, which really makes it feels like “Army of Two” in some parts. Partners are needed to lift gates, help each other to high ledges, and revive a partner who “has been hit”. But the partnership breaks down when you get to the cut scenes, because you don’t even see 50’s boys chilling in the background; it’s all 50, all the time. It would’ve been cool to see them interacting in the cut scenes, but it’s kind of understandable that didn’t happen … but at least have them there. Would that have been too big of an ask? You can tell they spent a lot of time looking at 50’s post “In Da Club” video body, because he’s as chisled as can be, but not over the top like a Marcus Fenix in this game.
The graphics overall in this game are commendable; throughout the game there are numerous explosions everywhere, and the fire done well. Playing levels on the tight Middle Eastern streets makes you feel claustrophobic. You’ve got to also give 50 props for his imaginative setting for “Blood on the Sand,” as it is the least likely place for what most people would consider “Hip Hop.” This title is not going to feel like “Def Jam Vendetta,” or any of the other games involving drugs, and hoodlums. This is, for all intents an purposes, an action game where the main character could’ve easily been any generic caucasian that we’ve seen in so many other shooters. However, the fact that it is 50 Cent is not lost on this title, and is best show in the very believable voice acting. You won’t be hearing stuff come out of 50’s virtual that you couldn’t imagine him saying or rapping (no he doesn’t in the game) in real life. Voice acting is something that’s often overlooked in most games, but you can tell G-Unit had fun in the studio on this one.
You can’t really talk about the audio in the game without mentioning that there are over 40 tracks from 50 Cent included on the disc. For a guy known for making his name on the mixtape circuit, you can expect to hear a lot from 50 in “Blood on the Sand.” Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, most of the tracks are well-known, and you can get into a groove when some of them come on from your customized in-game playlist (being to change the track at any point during the pause menu was genius). But, it should be noted that some of the songs just do not fit the gameplay. Hearing “Disco Inferno,” “Peep Show,” and “Puppy Love” might not flow as well while you’re throwing grenades and splitting heads as “Gunz Come Out” (my personal fav for the game), “Back Down,” and “I’ll Still Kill” do. Rest assured though that after you customize your list you’ll be bopping your head to the Dre beatz while you let off some shots.
Overall, “Blood on the Sand” is definitely a game you should cop for the collection. If you try to find all of the hidden posters and collect all the cash that you can it should clock in at about 10 hours of gameplay your first time through. If you happen to grab all of the collectables, you’ll unlock all of the game’s videos and get all of the good weapons and stealth moves.
I give this game a