Xbox 360 Review: 50 Cent – Blood on the Sand

50 Cent returns in this surprisingly good shooter

The first 50 Cent game was pretty average, it had a ton of problems and seemed nothing more than an advertising campaign for him. Blood on the Sand is a perfect example of how a company should respond to negative feedback about a game and put changes into the sequel. I hate rap music and I don’t particularly like 50 Cent that much, but regardless of that…this is a blast, albeit a very short one.

The story is fairly simple. Basically after performing for a sold-out crowd in a fictional war torn country, 50 Cent discovers that his payment has been stolen by the local crime baron– a former CIA operative and death-dealing organ harvester. It’s not much to write home about, but it doesn’t hold the game back. What it is underneath is a great game full of action.
Blood on the Sand is a third-person shooter, but it’s taken many aspects from other games like the cover system from Gears of War and the arcade-style shooting of The Club, it’s an interesting combination and one that works very well. If one of these failed to deliver, the whole game would collapse…but luckily it manages to pull it off. Some might claim that the game is repetitive and while it is, it changes things before they become stagnant, usually with a driving or helicopter shooting sequence.

As you progress, you’ll get money to spend on upgrades like better weapons and new taunts. Weapons are pretty standard, but pack a punch and feel great overall. It is a bit ludicrous to imagine that the dealer would be able to get the weapons to you in a building on fire, but the game has the good sense of humour to make a joke out of it. What is impressive is the enemy AI, they’ll go behind cover, throw grenades at you and test you. It’s pretty tough to tackle the game’s hard mode solo, but easier with a co-op buddy.
As you probably have guessed, you can play the entire game through co-op either online or offline. It’s quick and easy to join, drop in and out of games is simple and makes a nice touch. As I’ve already mentioned, Blood on the Sand has taken many things from other games and one thing is slow-motion. A meter is built up by getting quick kills and hitting specific areas of an enemy for more points, you may lean on slow-mo quite a bit…which is inevitable when it’s included in a game.

Scenarios pop up during levels and are time-based quickie objectives like killing a number of specific enemies or breaking through barriers. Doing these adds bonus points to your overall score which helps you reach a certain rank for the level. So you’ll be trying to get Gold in each level for the achievement, which is nearly impossible on Easy, but do-able on Hard.
The game sadly has no multiplayer other than co-op and the campaign can be blasted through in a couple of hours, but luckily it has replay value in terms of hunting for posters and targets to shoot. Not to mention trying to get every achievement the game has, although if you find a good co-op friend then it shouldn’t take too long.

The visuals for Blood on the Sand are very impressive. The areas look great, as do the character models and effects like fire and explosions. The framerate rarely dips and loading times are short, so in terms of presentation it’s fairly good. Voice-acting is fairly good, although it depends on how much you like “Fiddy” and his crew. The script has plenty of cursing which fans will enjoy, but the story is so unimportant that you’ll probably just skip the cutscenes and concentrate on the action.

The Verdict

What I like about the game is that you don’t need to like 50 Cent to enjoy it, you can just ignore him and play a good third-person shooter. It’s not original and it doesn’t add anything new to the genre, but it’s simply a case of guns, explosions and swearing…which most people enjoy from it. So if you’re a fan of the rapper then pick this up, if you don’t it doesn’t matter. It’s just a surprisingly good game overall.