50 Cent: Blood on the Sand – co-op hands-on

“%#&@!! Step up %#&@! and come on and %#&@! get it, %#&@!!” At least, that’s what multi-platinum rapper 50 Cent says. If you need a translation, it means he’s about to bust a cap in some major terrorist ass. And the best part about busting those caps, at least in his upcoming shooter 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, is that he can now bust them with a buddy.

Unlike 50’s first game, Blood on the Sand introduces online co-op, enabling you to either host a game as 50 Cent, or join someone else’s as one of his G-Unit sidekicks – Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, or DJ Whoo Kid. And like the best games with the feature, it enables you to drop in or out of a friend’s game at any time, adjust your own difficulty, and jump into any mission that the host has finished (along with the host, of course).

Co-op in Blood on the Sand isn’t limited to just blazing through mobs of terrorists together with a buddy; in fact, it’s key to getting through the game alive. You can boost your partner up over obstacles, lift heavy objects together, revive him when he’s down and team up in vehicles, with one player driving and the other shooting. Each player keeps score separately, racking up points by completing objectives, killing enemies, and collecting items and ammo, with bonus points and score multipliers awarded if you complete secondary objectives, like going on a killing spree or completing a task within a certain amount of time. Your score isn’t just there for your own satisfaction, either - Blood on the Sand uses it to rank you against other players on its leaderboards.

We’ve played through a pretty significant chunk of Blood on the Sand’s co-op, and so far it’s been surprisingly… fun. The action’s rapid and thick, and what makes it work especially well is that, well, it works. Co-op gameplay is extremely fluid, with little to no lag, and if the sidekick pauses the game, the whole game is paused. However, hosts worried about griefing can boot pause-happy sidekicks at the simple press of a button. Likewise, a sidekick can decide to leave at any time.

The most rewarding thing (literally), at least for Xbox 360 owners, is the king’s ransom in Achievement points it doles out for just playing the game. You get Achievement points for completing each mission, but sidekicks absurdly get double the Achievements: one for finishing the mission, and another for completing it as a sidekick.

Don’t let the first 50 Cent game fool you; Blood on the Sand is entirely independent from its crappy predecessor. Though its story is a bit over the top – rapping in some foreign country, and then running after a bitch who stole your iced-out skull that you acquired from a guy that owes you thousands of dollars – the charm of this game is its casual run-and-gun gameplay. It’s easy for anyone of any skill level to pick up, and missions, though short, are filled with immediate, nonstop action. Whatever you might think of 50 inserting himself into another game, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is shaping up to be a worthwhile game– at least for the Achievements, you whores.

If you want to see more of the co-op gameplay, check out THQ’s official trailer and our own custom video below:

Jan 29, 2009

Lizzie Cuevas
GamesRadar Verdict: [ 8 ] Great You'll love: + Stunning graphics + Impressive AI + Replay value You'll hate: - Getting your ass beat at Halo - Jealousy - Heartbreak