On the surface, and even at its core, the latest videogame from 50 Cent is nothing short of a self-serving boner jam of big guns, fast cars and masculinity at its most moronic—and that’s exactly why you should get your paws on it ASAP.
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand allows gamers to step into the sneakers of the hip-hop sensation. It’s the last night of his international tour and, conveniently, the final stop is a fictional Middle Eastern country. At the show’s conclusion, the venue’s owner admits that he doesn’t have the money to pay for our hero’s performance, so he forks over a diamond-encrusted skull instead. Fiddy is instantly taken with the artifact, but a group of terrorists attack his convoy and swipe it. Not willing to suffer the loss of the ice-covered cranium, the MC embarks on a shoot-everything-that-moves rampage through the Middle East.
With its money-centric plot, Blood on the Sand plays up 50’s motherfuckin’ P-I-M-P-ittude. He’s not a heroic gunslinger seeking to end Middle Eastern terrorism, but a displaced Queens gangster looking for his payday. The result is a morally complex universe in the style of Grand Theft Auto, set against a war-torn backdrop reminiscent of Gears of War. Sounds like an award-winning fusion to us.
While the average gamer will like Blood on the Sand just fine, this is a 50 Cent videogame made for 50 Cent fans, complete with 18 new tracks recorded exclusively for the game. Still, even those unfamiliar with Fiddy’s music will have a hard time resisting the adrenaline-pumping beats that score the experience. And while playing alone is enjoyable, doing so alongside a buddy in the game’s cooperative mode, which works both online and off, makes Blood on the Sand even more entertaining. The second player chooses between one of three members of 50’s cohorts—Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks and DJ Whoo Kid—to help the rapper restore his riches.
Still not sold on Blood on the Sand‘s violent goodness? Set your sights on the badass “gangsta fire” feature. Like the “bullet time” mode made famous by Max Payne, “gangsta fire” features a “fire gauge” (not unlike Guitar Hero‘s “star power” bar) that when accessed, slows time enough to dispatch a room full of bad guys in short order. Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.
If the game falls short in any area, it’s the hand-to-hand combat system. Fiddy has a slew of “counter-kill” melee attacks at his disposal that are a pain in the ass to employ. The player has to time the button-pushing just right in order to execute these kill moves, and it’s pretty damn hard to achieve that level of coordination in the midst of a heated gunfight.
Admittedly, Blood on the Sand is not for everybody. If you’re not into eviscerating terrorist assholes while listening to incredibly filthy rap music, then this is not your cup of gin. However, if you’re a real man (or a really awesome woman—in which case, please meet me at the candy shop), you’re going to love the hell out of Blood on the Sand. Forget the club, the Middle East is where it’s going down.
Challenge Heeb to a game of Blood on the Sand online. Our Xbox username is “heebgamer.”