It may have got some respectable review scores (including 7/10 from Eurogamer), but 50 Cent's latest game hasn't proved as popular as its predecessor.
1st May 2009
20th February 2009
8th January 2009
22nd September 2008
31st March 2008
While our most recent Chronicles of Riddick face-off once again saw Xbox 360 emerge victorious in our ongoing comparison features, this more comprehensive roundup of recent releases suggests that maybe, just maybe, the balance of quality is starting to shift three years into the lifespan of the current-generation consoles. Taken as a whole, neither machine can claim victory over the other in this collection of games, probably the first time this has happened since our coverage began over two years ago. A sign of things to come, or just a factor of the specific games chosen? Only time will tell.
As is the norm, for the more interesting games you'll find embedded comparison videos. The combination of insane-level h264 encoding combined with slowing the video down to 50 per cent speed all but eliminates macroblocking, making for streaming vids that do actually show the difference. Couple that with our usual 24-bit RGB screenshot comparison galleries and you're all set with the very best possible assets to back up the critical comment.
Onto the line-up then, a seven-strong collection featuring the best of the most recent cross-platform releases.
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According to 50 Cent himself, the man you spend most of Blood on the Sand controlling had a lot of input into the game's design early on. Perhaps he's a big fan of Gears of War and The Club, then, because someone certainly was. This is a fast-paced cover shooter that riffs on both games and fills the gaps with unlockable melee combos, beefy weapons and exclusive music.
The debt's obvious from the end of the first cut-scene onwards. You control 50 from a tight, over-the-shoulder perspective, lock onto cover by hitting a button and lean over to aim by holding the left trigger. Whether manoeuvring through rundown buildings or crouched behind walls or cover points, the left trigger brings you into the zoomed-in firing view, with a reticule in the centre to line up your right-trigger shots.
Unreal Engine 3 games rarely look exactly the same, despite common characteristics, but Blood on the Sand is also a dead ringer for Gears on more than a few occasions, and not just in 50's bulky, muscular character model. The game's set in a fictional Middle Eastern country and the environments are the tortured, decaying aftermath of war, full of helpfully strewn concrete blocks, low walls, pillars and corrugated iron to hide behind. As with Gears, there's a set path through each level that takes in a few corridor brawls, and more open areas designed for mid-range cover combat. You're never in any doubt where to go, thanks to helpful on-screen prompts and convenient blockages.
I'm pretty sure I've been shot more than nine times at this point, but in the grand scheme of 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, this is forgivable. After all, 50's wearing Kevlar (even on-stage, complete with grenades slung around his waist), and as the first game pointed out, he's bulletproof. It's certainly no more absurd than the story, in which 50 and chums are chasing down a diamond-coated skull stolen in an ambush by a balletic ninja lady. "Where'd she go? That bitch took muh skull," he laments, after he dives backwards over the bonnet of a Humvee firing an assault rifle, and sets off to shoot up a fictional Middle-Eastern country, which seems to be populated almost exclusively by terrorists, drug lords and weapons dealers with thick accents.
THQ has told Eurogamer that the new 50 Cent game will be released in February.
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand sees the titular rap star and his chums from "G-Unit" gadding about with big old guns. Footage shown so far suggest you'll be taking down men in turbans while exporing sandy environments full of Arabic architecture, but that doesn't mean it's set in the middle East obviously. There's an online co-op mode and 18 exclusive new 50 Cent tracks,
According to THQ, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand will be released for PS3 and Xbox 360 on 20th February. You can catch up with trailers, previews and the like via the gamepage.
A BBFC rating for 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand has all but confirmed THQ as the new publisher.
It looks like 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand will still get a release despite the demise of former publisher Sierra.
Sources close to Swordfish Studios have gunned down rumours that 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand has been cancelled.
The game is close to completion, according to GamesIndustry.biz, and the team is working long hours to squash bugs in time for a Christmas launch.
US blog Kotaku had originally claimed the game had been put to rest and that the UK team developing was to be sold off.
Activision Blizzard has issued a new release schedule with several key titles conspicuously absent.
"The first thing we had to do was deliver a game that was much, much, much better than the original," says Julian Widdows, game director on 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand. "While it was a huge commercial success, I don't think anyone is particularly shy of that fact that it wasn't critically well-received. It wasn't the game people wanted."
Julian Widdows, game director on 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, has dismissed suggestions the title is set in the Middle East.
Producer Aaron Blean has said that 50 Cent sequel Blood on the Sand is much more focused on quality.
"We're not just throwing together another game. We took the time; we invested in some really good tech, some really good writers and we created some really compelling gameplay that will definitely deliver the ultimate 50 Cent experience," Blean told IGN.
"We want to get the word out there that, not only does this game exist, but it's a game that you should pay attention to. It's not going to be anything like the first game."
Has guns, will travel.
Following all sorts of speculation, the sequel to 50 Cent: Bulletproof has officially been announced.