Sunday, February 21, 2010

Video game number fifty: 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

Game review number fifty in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "50 Cent: Blood on the Sand".

What other game could I possibly play for number 50 this year?

When the first two words out of the main characters mouth are "Mother fucker!"...you know you're in for something special. You are 50 Cent, international rap superstar...at least in your own mind. Apparently, you've just gotten off stage and the concert promoter owes you ten millions dollars. Clearly, this is a video game...as there probably isn't a venue in the world that would pay 50 cent that much money for one night of rap these days.

I don't think you have to be a fan of the rapper to enjoy this game. I liked his first album "Get rich or die trying", but I haven't bought a 50 Cent record since then. When I heard he had a movie or a video game coming out...I thought that was pretty funny, but hey...good for him. He certainly hasn't died trying to get rich so far.

Actually, this game made me snicker a little bit at the man himself. Here's a businessman, who made most of his money by investing his rap earnings in Vitamin Water and then selling his share of that company to Coca Cola. Then, he releases a video game in which he's both a superstar and a mercenary at the same time. In the world of this game....50 Cent is still playing sold-out concerts, but immediately after he gets off stage....he's all about shooting people. I can't knock the guy for creating a video game based on his wildest dreams. If someone wanted to make me a game, it would have all sorts of awesome stuff in it that doesn't actually happen in my real life. No one wants to play a game where a guy sits at a desk working on Excel all day. Still, because this game stars a real person, I suppose it's sort of funny at just how unrealistic it actually is. This game could have starred Bret Michaels and it would have made just as much sense. In fact, wow....I think that's the sequel right there.

While the concept itself may be sort of silly, this game is actually pretty fun. Primarily, Blood on the sand is a third person shooter with a buddy system, sort of like Army of Two. Unlike Army of Two, I actually really enjoyed the combat system. It may be wrong to say this, but I think it's a much better game...so far, anyway.

I picked a combat partner named "Yayo", who helps by shouting out objectives, or giving 50 a boost when he needs to get onto a ledge or something. As 50 cent, you have a couple of cool powers besides just being good at shooting people. You can slow time down to take more accurate shots, or you can punch people and get very elaborate counter kills. One of my favorite things is the "taunt" featire, which is basically 50 Cent yelling "bitch!" or something at people he is about to kill, or people that he's just finished killing. Taunting victims gives you extra points. There are hidden items to find all over the levels, and of course...lots of money hidden in item crates. I'm sure this part is rooted in real life. When 50 isn't playing sold out concerts for ten million dollars a pop, he probably supplements his income by running around and breaking open every box he sees, hoping there's more money inside for him.

Speaking of money, any game about 50 Cent wouldn't be good if you couldn't get paid. You start out the game trying to get your ten million by doing the music thing, but when the concert promoter doesn't have it....you have to break out the hardware. You're about to shoot him with a shotgun (instead of sicking your lawyer on him, like the real 50 probably would)....when suddenly, he offers you an alternative. This concert promoter happens to have in his possession, a human skull covered in diamonds. "Damn, look at all the ice!" says your partner Yayo. 50 Cent is going to take the skull as payment, when it's suddenly stolen away.

Into your first mission you go, with the header: "The convoy's been ambushed and that bitch has stolen your skull!"

Basically, this is all you need to know. From this point on, you'll obviously be chasing and shooting people, trying to get your skull back. I may actually keep on playing this sucker to find out, but I imagine you succeed.

Overall rating: 7/10. This game is quite solid. I can see myself coming back to it. As far as shooters go, it's pretty darn good. I suppose my only beef is with the hero himself. It's too bad it had to be based on a real guy. Had they created a hero from scratch, this could have been epic.

Achievements? I got quite a few...including one zero pointer I tried for on purpose, the "get killed on easy" achievement. I thought that would be funny.

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