|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Swordfish||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Vivendi||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Fall 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
May 9, 2008 - Built on the solid Unreal Engine 3, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is said to favor substance over style. According to Vivendi, the gameplay is what matters most this time around. In this game, 50 will be battling international gangsters in a variety of exotic locals. There is going to be plenty of shooting action, as well as vehicle missions that will include Hummers and choppers. Even 50 himself is actively involved in the project.
"Once we get the game out there, I think people will realize right away where our focus [is] for the sequel," Vivendi Games producer Aaron Blean says. "We've emphasized the gameplay quality more than anything this time around." The follow up to 50 Cent: Bulletproof, Blood on the Sand is purported to take the fledgling series in a new direction. It's an entirely new story with different gameplay elements than the original. The game is set to appeal to fans of gaming, and not just fans of the artist. But there are going to be some great payoffs for 50 fanatics. Blood on the Sand is going to feature more new and exclusive music than Bulletproof. 50 is said to be writing tunes specifically for this game, and many of the songs can only be heard in-game. Although unconfirmed as of yet, it's rumored that other top-shelf hip hop artists may be lending their talents to the soundtrack.
Out of the 'hood and into the desert. The story in Blood on the Sand begins in the Middle East where 50 and his boys are knocking them dead with a live performance. Afterwards, the promoters renege on the deal and refuse to pay the boys in cash. Instead they are offered what is said to be an incredible gift. A bejeweled skull. This artifact is a national treasure, but it's also rumored to have special powers. Not long after the acceptance of the skull, it's stolen from 50 in an ambush. While the boys escape the ambush with their lives, 50 is bound and determined to reclaim his treasure and to find out who stole it - and why.
Elements of the game are influenced by such classic games as Gears of War and movies such as Three Kings and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The story will have depth and intrigue, but with no sacrifice to the intense and varied action. 50 is going to play the role of the hero, but this time he's going to share the glory with some of his G-Unit buddies. Whoo Kid and Lloyd Banks are also playable characters. They will each have different abilities that can be called upon in times of need. A two-player co-op mode allows another player to pick-up-and-play at any time. The player can also leave the game at any time and normal play will resume. But only one player can be 50, so make sure you're the first one to get to the console.
According to Blean, virtually every aspect of this game has been improved. The story is more involved, and the graphics are more realistic. Environments are incredibly well detailed, spacious, and interactive. The control system has been refined to accommodate a large move set including running and gunning in all directions, hand-to-hand combat, and driving various vehicles around while manning mobile machinegun turrets. Various 50 Cent licensed merchandise such as Vitamin Water will also makes its way into the game. The water will help to replenish health.
Using walls and other obstacles, your character can take cover to escape a deadly hail of bullets. You can hug the walls and make your way down tight passages. Shooting can be conducted behind you, over your shoulder, and blindly while taking cover. While the game will have more structure in terms of missions and goals, the gameplay is open to accommodate a variety of playing styles from those who play conservatively and stealthily to those who prefer running-and-gunning. Players will have the freedom to use different strategies and tactics in this version.
Controversy surrounded the original 50 Cent game. Not only did critics pan it, citing that it wasn't a very good game, some countries such as Australia actually banned it because of the graphic, gratuitous violence and the glorification of a criminal lifestyle. Blood in the Sand is still an action-based shooter, but the gameplay is more varied and refined. There is less gratuitous violence and less gore. The story will contain elements of mystery, suspense, and comedy. 50 himself is apparently heavily involved in the development of the game, stopping by the developer's office to check the game's progress and offer his suggestions.
Blood in the Sand is attempting to replicate the production values of a Hollywood blockbuster. A Hollywood scriptwriter is handling the storyline, and the developers are working hard to make the game look as photo-realistic as possible. With an exclusive soundtrack from one of the most popular artists in hip hop today, Blood in the Sand is going to be one of the most anticipated releases in the Fall of '08.
CCC Senior Writer