Late to the Party | 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

Wearing grenades to a music concert? Profanity-laden dialogue? G-Unit co-op? This is Late to the Party, and it can only be the paradoxical enigma that is 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand.

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is one of those games that defies the logic of the universe. It started out as something completely different, had a rapper’s involvement thrust upon it and even survived being canned when Activision jettisoned it into production hell. And yet here it is: a game about a rapper blowing up half of the Middle East to get back the diamond-encrusted skull payment for his concert performance. And you know what? It’s great! I think I can feel reality unravelling as I write this.

Guilty mother-f**king pleasure

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is one of those games that sneaks into the guilty pleasure lists of gamers and journalists alike, sitting there puffing a cigar while it sneers at your other favourite games. And, launching in 2009, it completely passed me by while I swooped about in Batman: Arkham Asylum or scaled Renaissance architecture in Assassin’s Creed II. 2009 was a big year for releases, so 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand was soon lost in a whirlwind of games with higher profiles.

50 cent blood on the sand
CQC combat? Rocket launcher, bitch!

Which is a shame, as Blood on the Sand does what it does really well. It doesn’t try to fool you with a faux-interesting storyline or deep character arcs either; you are, quite literally, a rapper who performs a concert with bullet belts and grenades strapped to him. You don’t get paid your quite reasonable ten million dollar fee, so it’s time to carve a path of explosive destruction through some sand-bleached streets.

It’s actually a pretty good shooter

Mechanically, the game is sounder than a lot of other third-person shooters out there. The usual roster of pistols, shotguns and assault rifles all feel meaty and suitably weighted. Enemies cartwheel with dramatic aplomb and the melee takedowns are violently satisfying (but with a single button required, can they really be classed as QTE?). It never tries to be anything more than a fun, pantomime-esque fantasy. Even the terrible voice-overs from Fiddy and co only serve to make the game more enjoyable.

50 cent blood on the sand
I want my diamond-encrusted skull, bitch!

Killing enemies scores you points, which total-up towards a final score for each level of the game. And these competitive scores, added to the amount of collectables you find in the game, add to the central mantra of Blood on the Sand: having a laugh.

Running around blowing up helicopters with a rocket launcher is pretty old hat for gaming, but with ol’ Fiddy screaming “Yeah, bitches!” while ‘In Da Club’ plays in the background, it feels charming and a little bit camp at the same time. It terms of creative kills, it’s no Bulletstorm, but the sheer amount of weapons and ammo available makes it a constant soundtrack of bullets and explosions.

Bang for your buck

Developer Swordfish Studios (now known as Codemasters Birmingham) managed to turn their hands to a new genre with Blood on the Sand (they previously made rugby and cricket games mainly) and created something that’s over-the-top and stupidly fun. It’s kind of like the anti-Spec Ops: The Line, a game with a similar setting that tried (and partly failed) to make a statement about the gun-heavy culture of games.

50 cent blood on the sand
Driving sections, bitch!

The mini-challenges throughout each level (kill two snipers before the clock runs out, collect a ton of cash in the allotted time, etc) just serve to add another splash of madness to the mix. Yes, this is technically a cover-based shooter, but unless you’re playing on hard, the game wants you to rush out and blow some suckers away with a bit of slo-mo Gangster (definitely not lifted straight from Max Payne) Time.

And, whichever part of the world you’re in, you’ll be able to pick up Blood on the Sand for next to nothing. Despite some pretty decent review scores and some respectable sales, Blood on the Sand is one of the those titles that’s been relegated to the bargain bin purely due to the over-saturation of titles available on home consoles. So for a few bucks/pounds/cursed-Mayan gold coins, you’re getting a satisfying third-person shooter that packs a competitive score system, a co-op facility and enough in-game challenges and collectables to shake a diamond-encrusted skull at.

Looking for more Late to the Party fun-times? Check out our recent one-night stands with BioShock and GTA IV.

WWE 2K14 gets an October 2013 release date

The new instalment in the annual wrestling franchise, WWE 2K14, will be released on October 29.

WWE 2K14Publisher Take-Two, who acquired the wrestling licence earlier this year, released the information as part of its recent Q4 2013 fiscal results.

Long-time dev Yukes will be developing the game once again, with Take-Two set to release WWE-branded titles for the next five years.

WWE 2K14 will also be the first game to be released following the implosion of previous licence-holder THQ. WWE 2K14 will also be the fifteenth official release in the franchise that began with WWF SmackDown! in 2000 on the PlayStation (countless spin-offs notwithstanding).

Humble THQ Bundle Enlists Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War as sales top $4.5

With only a day left to go the latest all-THQ Humble Bundle has added some new content including Relic’s stunning 2006 RTS Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War.

The latest PC game collection, which allows buyers to ‘donate’ as much $1 to unlock its Steam codes, showcases some of the varied gems from the extensive THQ back catalogue. A minimum contribution will net you a copy of Darksiders, Red Faction: Armageddon, Metro 2033 and Company of Heroes (including its two expansions Tales of Valor & Opposing Fronts). You’ll even get the soundtracks to most of the above – DRM-free- thrown into the bag for good measure.

humble thq bundle
Just some of the titles you can plunder for as little as $1…

For those that choose to pay the average price of the collection – which currently stands at $5.70 – will also receive Steam codes for Saints Row: The Third, the Path to War DLC for Red Faction: Armageddon, action RPG Titan Quest & the newly added Wahammer 40K: Dawn of War.

You can even choose how your donation is split. You can choose how much is donated to charity (Child’s Play & the American Red Cross), how much is sent direct to THQ itself & how much is kicked back to Humble Bundle as a ‘tip’.

Due to end tomorrow at midnight the latest Humble Bundle made $2 million dollars in its opening night and has proved to be one of the most successful collections in the series to date.

Warhammer 40K Space Marine | The Forgotten Triumph of 2011

THIS WEEK Content Editor Dom takes a look back at one of last year’s most underrated games, Relic’s Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine. Why was this fun & unashamedly brutal game pushed to the back of the crowded class of 2011? infinite robots prepares to drench itself in ork blood all over again in search of answers…

Two thousand & eleven was a big year for the hallowed video game. This was the year that Rocksteady managed the impossible by releasing a Batman game that was better than Arkham Asylum. This was the year that Nathan Drake gave PlayStation 3 owners an exclusive title to be proud of with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Fortune. This was the year of Skyrim. Skyrim for Pete’s sake!

This was also the year that the richly dark universe of Warhammer 40,000 was finally realised on current gen consoles. For years the hugely enjoyable RTS series Dawn of War had PC gamers revelling in the brutality of 40k warfare, so console users were long overdue a similar opportunity. And whilst a Dawn of War port was ruled out, Relic & THQ instead gave us a game much more suited to the tastes of a modern PS3 or 360 gamer. They gave us Space Marine.

The Ultramarines are a perfect fit for the bleak campaign

A Space Marine Knows No Fear

The universe & canon of Warhammer 40k is deep & multi-layered it’s practically custom made for a video game audience. Set against the backdrop of a distant future where man has taken to the stars in search of wonder & found only the stench of war, it tells the history of universe in perpetual conflict with the genetically enhanced super-soldiers of the Imperium battling the hell-like taint of Chaos or the bloodthirsty piracy of the Orks

So it’s so violent its almost poetic (check), it’s already got a history spanning tens of thousands of years (check) and it’s got freaking Space Marines in it (triple check!) so why did 2011’s Space Marine sell & score so badly? Firstly, Space Marine is not a bad game. It’s actually a great game that had a flaw inherent flaws that coincided with a very crowded few months of releases & a certain equally sci-fi shooter that stomped its way into disk drives the world over. That game was Gears of War 3.

Chainsaws? Buckets of blood? Where did you get those ideas Gears?

…Only in Death Does Duty End

Despite Gears of War 3 launching two weeks after Space Marine the game still managed to give an experience all its own. The single-player campaign (focused around a small from the squad of poster-boy legion the Ultramarines) is pretty shallow considering the canon available but the action is relentless. Space Marines are genetically designed for battle so the game removes cover-based combat entirely. It throws hundreds of enemies at you and gives you vicious chainswords & thunderhammers to deal death among them. Health doesn’t regenerate; instead you have to perform well-timed executions on enemies to regain precious life. The shooting mechanics are sound, but at times it feels like even a trans-human Space Marine could do with a little cover protection. Relic purposely tried to create a third-person shooter that was all about flying face first into the mayhem rather than hanging back behind the safety of cover.

Online, Space Marine gives a totally unique experience. It’s not without its flaws but it’s a world away from Gears of War’s death matches. By mixing three distinct classes together each match has a fast-paced feel that’s constantly shifting. You can suit up with a jet-pack & a shock-wave inducing power sword but you’ll have little armour to protect you if you get caught unawares, whilst the heavy-gunner class is armoured to the teeth and sports a rail gun but you’re slow a susceptible to melee attacks. It’s a deceptively fast experience that has spikes of intense action across some beautifully textured maps. It does have some issues with lag, but for a first try at an online experience its fun & dutifully loyal to its source material.

The multiplayer has a few bugs but it has tons of replay value

For The Emperor

So is Space Marine worth your time and money? Yes & yes. For a starts it’s a new IP that feels like a long-standing series. It’s faithful to the 40k universe and serves as a great way for prospective fans to get a taste for the universe. Considering you’ll find the game for a few pounds both on retail shelves & online it would be practically be a crime against God not to get this game. And with the prospect of the cancelled Dark Millennium MMO being repurposed into a sequel to Space Marine, the dark future of this series could be set for further blood-drenched adventures.

Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine is out now for Xbox 360, PC & PlayStation 3.Have you tried Space Marine yet? Are you a convert to the endless war of the 40k universe or have you a Space Marine newb? Get commenting minions!

THQ reveal Darksiders 2 exclusive items for players of the first game

With its global release only a few weeks away, publisher THQ has announced two in-game items that will unlock exclusively for players of the original 2010 installment.

Once again hailing from developer Vigil Games, Darksiders 2 will base the unlocks off of a players list of achievements/trophies for the same platform. The ‘Pauldron of the Horsemen’ a Level 5 armour item will unlock if you’ve played the first game, whilst the ‘Chaos Fang’ is a Level 1 scythe for players who’ve beaten the first game on any difficulty. Continue reading THQ reveal Darksiders 2 exclusive items for players of the first game