I think my ratio between games I buy because they're terrible to games I buy for actual enjoyment is getting too expansive. Aside from major releases most of the games I buy are the second hand shits of yesteryear that I avoided when they were at full price. Now that they are cheaper and in great supply since they're usually the first things to be traded in from someone's collection, there is no end to the number of self torture that is purchasable for under a fiver. This week I bought 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand, the second in what I imagine will become the 50 Cent trilogy if any major publisher inevitably loses all sense of self respect and buys the rights from the now defunct THQ in order to get in on the cash grab.
For anyone that doesn't know, Blood On The Sand, BOTS, is the continuing adventures of Fiddy Cent and the G Unit on their never ending quest to run around, kill every living thing in site and then call it a pussy to show how badass they are. The whole thing is Fiddy continuing to promote his image that he is a mean ass motherfucker and will personally go and kill anyone who insults or disrespects him, even though him actually killing anyone at this point would be pointless since he's worth several hundred million dollars, is far too busy continuing to grow his empire and if he were to do any of the things that he says, it would be an internationally major news story. But I guess alternatively Fiddy can't really promote the true image of all that. Owning 10% of a major mineral water company is never really considered that gangster and no one wants to accept that the G Unit are anything more than bottom feeders who laze around with Fiddy and survive off of his estate, whilst contributing very little to the actual business since he has producers and marketers for all that. I like DJ Whoo Kid as much as the next man but I don't think any of Mr Cent's continued success rests solely in his capable hands.
Whoever said being a shareholder in a company that specialises in dietary supplements ain't Gangsta?
So yeah let's get on to the game. The first game, which I haven't actually played but have been told it's a glitchy mess, meaning that I will get around to playing it, centres around 50 Cent and the G Unit being massive violent arseholes on the mean streets of their home town New York. Skip ahead 5 years and not much has changed except that now Fiddy is pulling the massacre equivalent of a Michael Palin documentary by instead taking his complete sociopathic indifference to the lives of any human being out of America and all the way to the Middle East.
The game begins with Fiddy having just finished a rap concert to some Middle Eastern people, a concert which we only witness the end of as Fiddy throws his microphone to the floor and walks off to take a furious shit or punch a baby to relieve some of the after performance jitters. On the way he is informed that his payment for the concert hasn't gone through for unknown reasons. Fiddy doesn't bother guessing that this may be a bank transfer error or simply that the details he gave his contractors was wrong and therefore he should find the manager and update him. Instead, like any reasonable businessman he storms into the managers office, shoves a pump action shotgun into his face and starts threatening him for his 10 million. Anwar, the manager, cowers in fear at Fiddy's calm request and says that the money was stolen by some gangsters, but the bad kind apparently, and that instead Fiddy should take his priceless diamond encrusted skull. "You one lucky motherfucker", remarks Fiddy before leaving for his convoy to the airport.
Along the way however, Fiddy is attacked by some militia, who steal Fiddy's skull and leave him for dead, but unfortunately don't grant us the mercy of managing to pull that final part off. Being unable to assume any form of responsibility and being a massive bellend, Fiddy calls Anwar and tells him that apparently although Fiddy, having been a dumbass, has actually lost his own skull, this is instead Anwar's fault and if Anwar doesn't help him then he will kill Anwar. So begins our epic tale as Fiddy and one of his G Unit companions (I chose Lloyd Banks), shoot, shank and act like all over cunts on their way through war torn location unspecified Middle East, in search of the diamond skull.
This was the first moment when 50 Cent posed the immortal question - Where my skull?
So that's the setup and don't worry, if you thought it was stupid or ridiculous then don't fear because Fiddy will be on board all the way to constantly talk about the fucking skull that he lost. The great thing about this game is that the whole way through although everyone tells Fiddy just how evil the local militia and gangs are, but Fiddy never does anything particularly different to distinguish himself from them. At one point I felt sorry for Fiddy because I assumed that he was running low on cash or something, since he seemed to be madly scavenging it from every box that he could kick or shoot open, even going so far as to loot the corpses of the men he brutally kills. I guessed that he needed this next pay check to cover some kind of personal debt that he'd gotten himself into, but upon requesting for help from a local fighting force, Fiddy tells them that money is no obstacle. Fiddy is driven by greed and a lust for power and shiny bracelets, making him no better than the enemy that he's chasing.
So how does the game play? Well okay. Sometimes. For a AAA game with such a large name behind it I was assuming that it would be a little better made but it really comes off as a bad Gear of War clone. It's got the regular tank controls to it, with Fiddy lumbering his way around the environment, a prisoner to the eight directions of the compass as if he was some kind of mental migrating bird. As a cover shooter, the game sucks even more since most of the time the enemies can shoot you behind cover usually because of two reasons. Either the cover is too small, rendering it pointless, or secondly, because Fiddy's muscles have been made so ridiculously swollen, probably at his request, that he sticks out of the corners of anything he hides behind like a fat tit forcing its way out a bra.
Aside from that Fiddy also seems to be covered in glue or something cause he sticks to every single bit of cover that he comes across, namely because of the developers making the evade and cover buttons the same button. In any other game this would be fine, but since they are apparently shit at making games, you end up trying to jump out of the way of enemy fire and instead getting stuck at the edge of a wall, stuck like a target at the end of a range for them to shoot at. Fiddy is also fucking impossible to manoeuvre whilst attached to cover, seemingly making his own decisions as to where he will poke his head out of on every knee high wall and pillar that you stick him behind. He might look left or right, but you'll never be able to make him do one on purpose. It'll always happen by accident, almost as if the character of Fiddy himself is so deeply engrained to be a fucking cunt that he is purposely ignoring your inputs.
The game also makes sure to remind you using both visual and audio cues at several points during the game, that Fiddy does indeed wear a Rolex.
It's all just part of the overarching character development
Other than Fiddy's head and arms getting shot the whole time, you'll be glad to know that the enemies are also bullet sponges, sometimes taking up to 8 head shots to bring down. They are also extremely accurate, so hiding behind cover is really your only option to killing them and you'll have to be there for a while, which as I've said is a fucking gamble as to whether or not it'll work properly. Every now and then you might have to free run it and evade some shots, but since evading is a massive pain in the arse in any area where there isn't a single knee high wall in sight to accidentally glue yourself to, then that strategy doesn't really work either.
The game isn't always terrible though. Aside from just being a generic cover based shooter, the game also has an arcade component. Most of the game will be spent shooting people in order to rack up kill combos in order to get a high score at the end of the game. I found most of the time I could barely get just over the bronze medal ranking for any of the levels, only getting a gold once during a points heavy helicopter on rails machine gun bit. In my eyes it was because the game handles like shit a lot and you can never trust the game fully that it's going to work, although I guess in 50 Cent's eyes it was just because I'm too much of a pussy.
The points don't really change much aside from the unlockables that you can purchase at pay phones around the levels. These unlockables are then bought with separate money which you can attain by grabbing the stacks of dollar bills that fall out of your victims upon death or simply kicking crates that are filled with bling and diamonds, to pieces.
The game as a whole is mostly carried by how ridiculous it is and although it gets repetitive, the arenas where you fight are pretty well designed and the game keeps along at a good pace, only really ruined by the shoddy gameplay and control that you have to contend with. The game is basically a B movie about how great 50 Cent is. I like to think that Fiddy is in on the whole thing and knows it's ridiculous but a part of me has a feeling that he genuinely thinks that this fantasy of him being a globe trotting military gangster is actually really cool. 50 Cent in this is way too much of a cunt to have been his idea to portray himself like this. What they sold to him as him looking cool, I imagine was the writer's slightly taking the piss because everything that Fiddy does or says in this game are always the actions of the worst person to have ever lived.
If Fiddy runs into anyone he is immediately hostile, telling his biggest fan to “go fuck yourself” and greeting everyone as either a “fool”, a “pussy”, a “waster”, or a “bitch”. What I like is also most about Fiddy is how clearly crazed and hypocritical he is. Quite late on in the game Fiddy points out out how mistaken the enemies are in attacking him saying that “They're fighting the wrong player”. He says this whilst I was hurling Molotov cocktails into a group of three men, burning them alive while at the same time gunning down the enemy which managed to escape the blaze containing his screaming comrades. I wonder if they know that if they just lay down their arms there and then, that Fiddy would also lay down his and embrace them in a hug of peace and brotherhood before initiating a close quarters combat sequence and mashing his psychological circle button until his had kicked their fucking teeth in and then gone on to rupture their chest cavity, just for some measly anti being a pussy bitch points.
This is probably the most reasonably that Fiddy handles a situation throughout the whole game
50 Cent likes to also point out a lot about the environment, especially whenever it involves slagging off the Middle East. “This place looks like shit”. “Motherfuckers so desperate”. “I can't tell if they're knocking stuff down or building it back up”, he said while shooting down an apache helicopter with a rocket launcher, which then went on to take out an entire building, during which Fiddy went over to a crate and smashed it to steal some of the precious trinkets that lay inside. Over the course of the entire game I must've made several million dollars from items stolen from the local populace, which Fiddy went on to spend on new ways to stab a man in the chest and guns so he could continue on his quest to find his skull.
Fiddy is so retarded he can even spend money on words for himself to say, since it takes the pissing away of income in order for him to make any decision whatsoever. You can buy taunts in the game which can be activated at any time by clicking the L3 button. This is not only entertaining during battle, to swear at and berate all of the desperate citizens who have turned to militia work but also because during scripted events where he is helping his AI companion up a wall or chatting about the next stage of the plan over his headset, you can keep forcing him to shout out “yeah bitch take it” and “I'm gonna fuck you up in your ass” all over their dialogue. This completed the narrative that I found most helpful in my head to understanding the story; that being that 50 Cent is a narcissistic, ego maniacal, paranoid schizophrenic psychopath with debilitating tourettes. Just exactly the kind of character who would make all the decisions in this game.
The easy thing about the story in this game is that even though it drags on and goes from thing to thing with little to no explanation or reason for any of it, none of the motivations need to be developed, because there is only one motivation. Find my skull. “Mister Cent I need you to help me rob this truck carrying gold bars?” “Will it get me closer to my skull?” “Yes.” “A'ight motherfucker”.
“Fiddy, my family is being held hostage by this crazed warlord, will you help me save them?” “Skull?” “Yes, skull will be there also”. “Hell yeah”.
If 50 Cent existed in real life, and by which I mean the game version, he would be weirdly good to have around. You could just send him on menial tasks and trips, only having to promise him that his skull will be there for him to do it, and then possibly putting up with him thrusting a shotgun in your face upon his return when he realises he's been duped. “Hey Fiddy?” “Where my skull?” I think it's down at the store”. “Yo, heading out there now bitch!” “Oh and Fiddy? Could you pick some milk up while you're down there”.
One more thing I did learn from Fiddy was that he likes to have his name written on basically everything he owns. His cap has his name on it. His belt is a golden emblem with his name written on it. The videogame character of 50 Cent is like a big virtual billboard, shooting his way round an even bigger billboard to feed the egomania that the real 50 Cent must be craving so much that he's willing to sell the rights of his own image to a company to make up some shit about him since apparently his films don't profit enough for him to make any more of those. Plus they're also not very good. Just like his games.
Fiddy at one point even yells out that a grenadier has some “Rockets with my name on it”, which is something he'd probably love since he's so obsessed with plastering his name on everything, marking his territory like a retarded toddler with a felt tip pen. If he was at any point unable to engrave his name into something and make everyone unavoidably aware that this particular item is the property of 50 Cent then he'd probably just piss all over it like an animal in order to make his territory known. The only reason he probably doesn't do this is because he can't make his piss look gold and tacky enough, which if he ever finds a way to achieve this, probably will become the next big thing, a new trend that every other twat, egomaniac, untalented, sellout rapper will go on to copy and show off on their own episode of MTV's Cribs; forcing the camera man to stare down at his pool of toxic gold plated piss that lies in a lonely little pool among a sea of name marked baseball caps and piles of shit studded with diamonds and platinum albums sticking out half submerged in the filth.
And me, the Wu Tang Clan and the surviving members of the Beastie Boys will all shake our heads in disappointment.
I insult 50 Cent under the assumption that he's nothing like himself in the games, which if I'm wrong then I'll find out in a few hours when I hear the stomping boots of the G Unit kicking my door in, grenading my valuables and then making me suck the butt end of a sawn off like the bitch that Fiddy will most definitely inform me that I am.
This is 50 Cent's face when he is contemplating whether or not you are almost inevitably indeed a bitch
So at the end of the day, the game is fun. It's sometimes frustrating to play and control and wears thin near the end. However, when you're not noticing it's downfalls, it can actually be pretty entertaining to waste a few hours away on. But it really is the only game that you really play for the cutscenes because any time you get a CG render of 50 Cent acting like an arsehole and yelling at people for his skull, you realise once again why you laid down the cash for this game in the first place.
And having the ability to kill him during the game isn't bad either.