Put aside any preconceived ideas of what 50 Cent’s latest game should be, because it’s not. In fact, it’s one hell of a fun all-out blast-a-thon, harkening back to retro themes with a modern third-person shooter spin. Blood in the Sand exceeds every possible expectation.
Everything here is campy. The story, dealing with a hilarious diamond encrusted skull of someone’s dead wife, is as terrible and as cliché ridden as they come. It’s supposed to be, because nothing here is taking itself seriously. It’s completely over the top, turning rapper 50 Cent into a new generation one-man-army that even Robocop couldn’t kill. He’s adept at everything, from rocket launchers, turrets, driving, and an entire arsenal of guns.
Played from a third-person perspective, Blood borrows from Gears of War liberally, setting up action set pieces, creating lots of cover, and swearing a lot… actually, Gears has nothing on the language here. In fact, pressing the left analog stick results in a “f*ck you” button of epic proportions. You can even buy more insults, rated on a one to five scale in terms of vulgarity.
Shooting is smooth, guns have a great feel, and the overwhelming gore coupled with ragdoll physics lead to nothing but good times. Hilariously out of place red barrels deliver satisfying explosions, and a wide array of grenades deal out destruction.
While the core gameplay is undoubtedly repetitive (there are only a few different enemy models), nothing compares to this game’s use of helicopters. Every cut scene seems to have at least one, every boss fight is against another, and the game’s outstanding moments comes when you’re shooting from one. Use a jet, different cars, something.
50 can also dish out melee attacks, done in a quicktime event. They’re satisfying, although shooting people is far easier. You can purchase more as the game goes on, as cash is doled out from dead enemies or crates that litter the stage. Points are awarded based on the kill, completing challenges, and you can earn bonuses for various other actions. The end of each level tallies everything up to determine your total bonus which is then turned into unlockables.
Drop in, drop out co-op is the only form of multi-player, with the second player taking control of one of three members of G-Unit. It’s online only, so don’t expect any play with friends who come over. Again, like Gears, you’ll need to keep your partner alive by reviving them when they go down. If need be, you can slow down time (apparently a power no one knew 50 was capable of) to clear foes out of the way.
Tons of music is unlockable, and plays non-stop during the game. For fans of 50 Cent, it’s great. For non-fans, it’s grating. There’s also a music player in the main menu if you just want to hear the songs. Music videos can also be unlocked.
While by no means a classic or revolution in gaming, Blood in the Sand is still an absolute blast. The core mechanics are incredibly fun to play with, the story a hokey backdrop, and the action non-stop. For sheer brain-dead action fun, this is as good as it gets.