It's action and hijinks in the Middle East as 50 Cent and his pals return for another madcap adventure in THQ's 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand.
Perhaps there's no madcap hijinks, but you have to admit the concept is a bit far-fetched. A shady Middle-Eastern concert promoter pays Fiddy and his crew with a mysterious diamond-encrusted skull. When the skull is stolen, it's payback time. Worries over the realistic nature of his previous game caused 50 Cent to exchange the urban setting of his previous game, Bulletproof, with a place where it's apparently okay to run around shooting people. Between the new setting and a new developer, this is an entirely new entry in 50 Cent's gaming catalog.
But is it a good entry? Let's turn to the one group not afraid to get a cap in their asses - the game critics.
References to "totin' gats" or "bustin' caps" come from just about anyone these days (whether or not they have a clue what the hell they're saying). That makes it tough for a game with rap ties (even one starring 50 Cent, who legendarily survived being shot nine times) to come off as anything other than a parody. Simply by taking the action halfway around the world to the Middle East, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand breaks some of that numbness. But this unlikely move does far more for the game than just taking the action out of a familiar urban environment. The war torn setting provides the backdrop for a larger-than-life story that becomes the videogame equivalent of a comic book starring 50 Cent and the G Unit crew as the heroes.
Official Xbox Magazine
Cramming together pilfered elements from both the Gears of War series and Sega's The Club, Blood on the Sand's action emphasises the use of cover during gunfights and score multipliers earned by stringing together kills. Throw in online two-player co-op (your buddy suits up as one of three G-Unit members), and the result is fast-paced, shoot-'em-up, nine-chapter action that never slows down even for the sake of gameplay.
The enemies behave reasonably, and will pop out and shoot as much as you do, but can be a little too predictable at times. I opted to start the game on the hardest difficulty and still managed to breeze through the game quite comfortably. Although when foes take up to 5 headshots before they drop, it can be quite tiresome - especially if you're not so controlled with your firing. That said, the combat is quite solid and enjoyable for what its worth.
Now, with the good stuff out of the way, there are some problems. The A.I. isn't that smart, and the game's total lack of online multiplayer really hurts. As nice as online co-op is, a game like this is deserving of the full online package. Additionally, the main adventure will not last you any longer than 5-6 hours, and the hidden content in the game isn't worth replaying BotS for. You will also experience some redundancy, and the general lack of innovation (considering this is a blatant rip-off of Gears and The Club) doesn't help either. Still, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is a pretty solid game that gamers should find themselves enjoying.
Blood on the Sand has its moments of clunky controls. In single player, your AI partner will steal your best cover option or get in the way of your shots. In co-op, where fluidity can (but not always) get stiff as you complete co-op actions, you'll sometimes find yourself getting stuck on cover or having trouble leaning out from the correct side. For the most part, however, the controls and cover system work well and doesn't inhibit gameplay to any great extent.
While it may be hard to recommend Blood On The Sand to gamers who are itching for a more tepid Gears Of War-The Club hybrid-especially since both can be had for less than the price (combined) of the game under review-it's difficult to recommend against playing the game. It's bizarre and capable enough to make the ride fun.
I agree with the last guy.