Surprisingly fun, but it's not worth your $60
The idea of a 50 Cent game is certainly cringe-worthy for most, especially those who aren’t fans of his music, and rightfully so. With 2005’s Bulletproof proving to be sub-par at best, Blood on the Sand didn’t exactly have very big shoes to fill, nor did many care about the title in the first place. Surprisingly though, BotS comes though in a number of unexpected ways and the game isn’t entirely broken.
BotS starts with 50 and the rest of G-Unit finishing a concert in an unnamed Middle Eastern city. After dropping the mic and walking off stage, 50 is informed that the $10 million he had been promised for the show is gone and 50 is none too pleased. As collateral, 50 is offered a diamond-encrusted skull, which is soon stolen, leaving 50 to answer the question “Where’s my skull?”
The main problem behind BotS is trying to figure out whether the game is serious or not. One would imagine that Mr. Cent (which he is actually called in the game on more than one occasion) wants you to believe that this is how he lives by giving you some form of interactive look into his life, or if it’s meant to be a sort of ridiculous satire that’s laced with plenty of profanity and racial slurs, among other things. Playing the game as the latter definitely gives the game the benefit of the doubt, as anything less than that would just be ridiculous on a number of levels.
Probably the best and first thing you’ll notice about the game are its visuals. The character models in particular are fantastic, and the animation flows well, even if they are a little uninspired and over-the-top. Cutscenes don’t disappoint on a number of different levels, and everything from the levels to the particle effects are better than what you’d expect. However, BotS is riddled with texture pop in, especially during cutscenes, and the environment is rather generic as far as Middle Eastern games go.
The audio on the other hand is quite the mixed bag. The soundtrack is entirely 50 Cent/G-Unit, some of which are exclusive to the game. Problem is that the tracks quickly become repetitive, and you’ll be hearing the same songs over and over again throughout the game, enough so that you’ll begin to recognize certain lyrics by the end of the game. While this might be just fine for some, especially fans of 50 Cent’s music, it just ends up feeling stale without the lack of variety. Even the occasional looping non-descript Middle Eastern track would have been appreciated, but instead, it’s non-stop 50.
The voice acting fits in with the over-the-top feel, as evidenced by 50’s constant one liners, which can be heard at any time with the press of the left analog stick, and his partner (of which you can chose one of there members of G-Unit, whether it be Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks or DJ Whoo Kid) each have their own individual taunts and phrases to get your attention, which usually start with “Hey 50!”, “Yo Fiddy” or something along those lines. None of the “acting” is very good, not that it’s expected to be, which only adds to the atmosphere of the game.
To add to the over-the-top feeling, 50 Cent and crew are loaded to the teeth with a number of different weapons ranging from pistols with exploding/flaming bullets to rockets. If you manage to get up close to an enemy, you’ll have the option to perform a melee kill, which simply consists of a few timed presses of the same button for a gruesome kill. Rest assured, 50 fights dirty. For the most part the enemies are the same. Regardless of how they’re dressed, they all act the same, standing out in the open most of the time, and when they do find cover, it’s not for very long. As far as boss battles go, they’re all exactly the same and are in no way difficult.
The game plays, for the most part, like Gears of War. You hide behind cover and pop out while your enemies are vulnerable. At least, that’s how you’re supposed to play. Unless you’re playing on the hard difficulty, there’s no real need to find cover unless the odds are really stacked against you, and most of the time you’ll find yourself just running and gunning. One of the things that actually keeps the game interesting are the scenarios that pop up frequently, having you accomplish objectives in a given amount of time, whether that be “Kill 3 Snipers” or “Jump the Ramp”. These are a nice way to keep the game moving and are, for the most part, pretty simple to execute.
While there’s no multiplayer, online or offline for that matter, in BotS, it does have online co-op where you can either play as 50 Cent or one of the playable members of G-Unit. There aren’t any bonuses or additional content, which makes it seem like it was just thrown on to justify two people buying the game.
One of the mixed blessings about BotS is that it’s only around seven hours long. But the nice thing is that by the time you finish the game, you’ll probably realize that’s about all the 50 Cent you can take, although the $60 is a little steep for a game with little to no replay value and no multiplayer.
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is not a good game by any means, but at the same time, it’s not a bad one. If any game has bargain bin written all over it, it’s BotS. It appeals to a certain audience, and it hits the points it needs to very well. The over-the-top, ridiculous feeling to the game, aided by the gratuitous amounts of blood, swearing and use of racial slurs make it something that you probably wouldn’t expect: fun. It might not be worth your $60, or even $40 for that matter, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth playing. It’s short enough to play through in just a few sittings, and honestly, that’s just about right. Try as you might, but it’s pretty hard to hate BotS, but at the same time, it’s damn near impossible to love it as well.