50 Cent: Blood on the Sand - PS3

In these modern gaming days when every stage of development is obsessively covered by the press, discovering a title to be semi-decent only on release day is almost as rare as a decent full scale Sonic title. So imagine my shock when 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand turned out to actually be, well, alright.

After the much mocked 50 Cent: Bulletproof bombed with the gaming press, development duties have been switched to a seemingly more talented bunch, and things aren’t quite so serious this time around.

Set in the Middle East, instead of “Fiddy” taking on the duties of “ending the war on terror” as we might have expected, Curtis Jackson is merely attempting to get back his payment for a recent gig.

What proceeds is the kind of over-the-top gaming action that’s just perfect for a half hour blast every evening. A cross between the score system of The Club, and the hardcore blasting action of Gears of War 2, Blood on the Sand offers up more bang for your buck that any of us could have ever hoped for.

Though 50 can easily snap in and out of cover, the game encourages you to keep on blasting. With enemies sent sprawling your way at an epic rate, your score can easily spiral upwards if you chain together kill after kill in succession.

Enemies are universally brainless, so having the rest of “G unit” by your side doesn’t make too much difference to how things proceed. But the aforementioned cover system is by far one of the better examples out there, with urging 50 in or out of cover taking a simple context-sensitive button press.

It’s all wickedly over-the-top, with explosions, kills, and horrific language even more readily available than a Tarantino flick. There’s even the chance to jump into “Gangster Fire” mode in order to slow down time and pop off a few headshots to elevate that score ever higher.

The plus points continue with co-operative gameplay available in the “drop-in, drop-out” format that a number of games are sporting for multiplayer fans. As fun as the game can be on your lonesome, toss in a fellow gamer and things turn into a real blast. It’s just a shame that this mode is purely for online gamers, so hooking up two pads won’t offer the same kind of thrills.

It’s not all gaming genius for 50 however. The included music, including a wide range of tracks from 50’s not so varied range of tunes, is obviously quite an acquired taste, so you may wish to turn your stereo speakers a touch higher to drown out the noise.

Equally, as fun packed as the over-the-top action is, its easy to tire of the constant killing way before the closing credits roll. And considering this one can be run through easily in a single evening, that’s a long way from being something to shout about.

Verdict

As far as gaming shocks go, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is the biggest so far this year. Taking itself not even remotely seriously, the development team have crafted a rip roaring blaster that anyone can easily have a blast with.

It’s just a shame that the constant blasting doesn’t stand up to any long-term test. But if you’re in need of a title to while away the weekend, and you’re not too eager to use your brain cells too heavily, you could do a heck of a lot worse than pick this up.