Over the top and unoriginal but worth experiencing.
50 Cent: Blood on the Cent is a game that I'd 0NEVER thought I would buy at any price. Just having something that has 50 Cent branding on it within my home would receive worried looks from family and desertion from my friends. As the game came out I saw it was getting more favorable reviews when compared to 50 Cent's first shot at video games '50 Cent: Bulletproof". Also seeing the comments on the story and dialogue from here on Giant Bomb and other outlets I decided that I should find out for myself whether Blood on the Sand would be anything decent, but at a price which I could take the risk. A few months later 50's new game dropped to a price low enough in which I could buy and after buying it I can see why the game has a cult following.
In Blood on the Sand you play has American rap artist / gangster / business man Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. After playing a series of concerts in an unnamed Middle-Eastern country (because an American like 50 Cent is completely sold-out and mega popular in that area of the world) the 10 million dollars he is promised gets stolen and threatens the concert promoter who in compensation give 50 Cent a diamond-encrusted human skull. 50 takes the skull in exchanged for not getting the $10 million. After getting ambushed by a group of terrorists the skull is taken and it's up to 50 and the G-Unit to get it back .
The story is a massive contrast of quality. On one hand it's just plan bad writing that 50 is only there for the skull and has no other motive other then to get his skull back with over-the-top dialogue and insane lack of common sense. On the other hand the plot is just so absurd in itself that you want to find out what crazy thing the story will do next. There is about 5 different double-crossings, 50 himself speaks in a way which is completely out of place with the setting and the other characters (besides 50's G-Unit crew) and just trying to take in the fact that this is what 50 Cent wants you to think he does on a regular basis like he is some sort of super-gangster makes the game feel like a perfect example of 'so bad it's good'. That is that it's so horrible but not the horrible of you not enjoying it but so horrible that you can't just help but laugh at what's happening on screen. In a kind of messed up reality that makes it better then games with actual proper stories.
On your way to get back 'Fiddy's' skull you must go through alot of enemies by shooting them in the face. You go from one small closed off area to another fighting the same enemies which are colour coded into ranks like 'heavy weapons' over and over again. The basic mechanics of the shooting and movement seem fine but lack flavor. Controls feel tight with the standard fire with right trigger and aim with right stick template of controls but the game never tries anything new.
There is a score system which keeps the game's pace going with you constantly looking for enemies to shoot. To complement this is a ' challenge system' in which every encounter the game gives you a goal to achieve in a set time limit. While most of them is 'kill enemy X within X time limit' this again keeps the game's pace steady and fast with the targets with a red over line so you don't loss track. This also goes into the collection mechanic with cash, wanted posters and targets hidden in the level which if collected can net you bonus weapons and extra points.
Standards gameplay mechanics of modern day 3rd person shooters weep from the walls with the such staples as a cover system (Gears of War), weapons shop (Resident Evil 4), 2 player Co-Op (Gears of War), slow motion mechanic (Max Payne), close range combat kills and vehicle / gunner sections. There is one interesting game mechanic the game includes which is a 'taunt button'. Everytime 50 or his G-Unit partner kills an enemy and the player clicks in the left stick the character will say a taunt like 'You fuckin' with me?' or 'Fuck this fuckin shit'. They will get a points bonus for that kill but this requires you to hammer on the stick non-stop which can get repetitive and annoying.
General controls does it's job with basic actions on the buttons and sticks you'd expect from a 3rd person shooter in 2009. Driving controls are a bit spotty with over-sensitive turning and lack of direction.
Graphics are generally decent with great character models with detail like sweat and veins on the giant muscles on 50 Cent shows the guys at Swordfish knows how a game should look like. The environments have a nice stereotypical Middle-Eastern setting which in any other game would be a stroke against it but in this game it works. The physics need a mention as they are the most over-the-top in any game ever. Bodies will fly back at the smallest shot with debris flying and bodies rolling over tables and pillars which again suits this game like a glove. If there is one graphical detail worth
critiquing it's 50 Cent's unmoving, barely blinking eyes which are stuck in the same place for the entire game.
Sound is a bit all over the place. The voice acting is both good and bad. It's got bad voice acting with the G-Unit lending there voices to the respective roles by pushing out exaggerated lines but it suits the over-the-top script almost perfectly. The music is a collection of 50 Cent 'classics' and unreleased material, these range from 'not-to-bad' to 'oh god turn it off', but hey 'In Da Club' is in there. Even if that is too much for you there is a option to remove the vocals. The sound effect are pulled directly from any sound warehouse which have unoriginal boring sounds with the collection sounds the worst.
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is an experience. It is the perfect example of gameplay over everything else. It shows that you can make a game with a completely insane plot, unoriginal mechanics, laughable voice acting and awful sounds effects with just tight controls, simple yet fun gameplay and a few decent incentives that's worth playing.