The invite to go and see the new 50 Cent game, Blood on the Sand, was greeted with a mix of disinterest and disdain in the GamesRadar office. The first Fiddy game - Bulletproof - was pretty terrible, amounting to little more than an exercise in cynically shallow fan service. However, 10 minutes into being shown 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand by developer Swordfish Studios (who thankfully had nothing to do with the previous game) we got the strangest feeling that this self-proclaimed 'long awaited' sequel might actually be, well, a pretty decent arcade shooter.
While the storyline set-up is beyond the realms of stupid, we can't help but admire it for being so utterly preposterous. An abridged version of the plot goes something like this: 50 Cent and the G Unit play a sell out gig in some fictional war torn country. They get stiffed for the money. They grab their pieces and go big time Rambo. It's a crudely fashioned excuse for 50 Cent's predicament, but this is never going to be a game played for its sparkling narrative anyway.
And regardless of how you feel about hip hop's mumble-mouthed multi-millionaire wandering the scorched concrete streets of a bombed-out Baghdad-a-like shouting "This is the real shit!" and "50 Cent nigga!" at insurgent-styled enemies, it's certainly a far more interesting scenario than playing in another uninspired, gang-infested American hood. At least the colour-palette is more cheerful. And anyway, it's not all going to be killing on dusty streets. During the game 50 Cent will travel in a linear fashion through six different environments, taking in slums, foothills and a fortress encampment along the way.
The drastic change of location from hood to war zone (which Swordfish liked to refer to as "the hood from the hood") immediately puts a healthy amount of distance between this and the dismal Bulletproof, but it's really just the first positive indication of how hugely different 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand appears to be compared to its maligned predecessor. It's a point that both publisher and developer are keen to stress: besides it being the next 50 Cent game, there really is no relation between Blood on the Sand and Bulletproof. And that's something we think everyone will be thankful for.