Getting shot was the best thing to ever happen to 50 Cent.
Forgive me, but I’m growing sicker and sicker with each hackneyed marketing campaign 50 churns out about getting shot. He somehow manages to miraculously turn a profit on this basic premise time and time again, thanks to the legions of impressionable fans that hound his every move. He’s what we in the biz might call a triple threat – He can produce good music, decent movies, and positively mediocre games, all in one neat little package that appeals to “ghetto” Midwest suburbia.
This game is terrible. It’s a failure on many levels. Not just that Ed Wood ‘I do it for the passion’ kind of failure, but a failure bred from contempt for the consumer and unbridled greed.
The bulk of the game is running and shooting. And not even the good Unreal-style running and shooting – you’re in control of your own little Fiddy that runs and, well, shoots. Whatever weapons you may have don’t matter worth crap. The game boils down to following the bread trail and mashing one or two buttons to keep a lock on nearby enemies for some good ol’ fashioned circle strafing and pounding the living hell outta them with copious amounts of lead, but this time, you’re doing it from a spiffy top-down perspective, which, admittedly, is far more tolerable than 50 Cent’s console escapade. If you get up close to an enemy, you can execute a takedown move (which you can upgrade) to disarm them and slam them into the pavement. Occasionally, you’ll fight a boss, which is really just another baddie with a newly-colored name.
Of course, you can also collect gaudy chains and cash from the enemies you fell, which can be used to purchase 50 Cent media and upgrades, with a healthy set of endorsements along the way (formula 50 vitamin water? He doesn’t even make that. Come on.). Now, if you’re a 50 Cent fan, you’re probably going to appreciate the stuff on this disk – videos, songs, etc. It’s actually pretty high quality. Of course, for the price of the game, you could probably pick up a one-gig memory stick and plunk down 50’s entire discography with room to spare – but as a media device, it succeeds for 50 fans. Think of the game as a compilation with a crappy game tacked on.
There is something to be said for the high quality cutscenes and voice acting, but if that was all it took to make a good game, everything would be ship-shape. The truth is that behind the Hollywood veneer, the game cannot stand up. It’s not actively bad, per se, but it’s the same two or three seconds of gameplay looped over and over with obnoxious gameplay features and about as much depth as a kiddy pool. It tries to play in the vein of Untold Legends, but offers nothing in the way of what UL presents in originality and replayability.
Controls are executed pretty decently for a shooter – the analog moves the titular hero around, the shoulder button is used to lock and circle strafe, and then, you pretty much just get a trained monkey to tap the fire button until you win. What is truly unforgivable, though, is the god-awful camera system that forces you to jump through hoops in order to change the angle, let alone help you navigate through the winding, repetitive areas you go through in the game. The real shame is that it could have been a whole lot better, if only there had been just a smidgeon more imagination in the cards.
Graphically, again, the game isn’t too hot. The pre-rendered cinematics look fine, but in game, the characters are faceless, polygonal messes, awkwardly animated and scripted. The venues that you go through aren’t terribly hot, either. Any given place is generally identified by only a handful of colors, and there isn’t even a solid progression from stage to stage – You could be in one place one minute, then 50 says he needs to go somewhere, and you’re just there. Not that there’s even a marked difference – the bulk of the game is shoot, gather, and move on.
50 fans are going to pleased with the soundtrack – there are a whole lot of his songs on tap. But for anyone else, the lack of variety becomes mighty frustrating. Tinny loops and repetitive tracks are going to only pour salt in the wound that monotony cut, but then again, if you don’t like rap or 50 Cent, you shouldn’t even be playing this. Sound quality is decent, streaming from the UMD, but that doesn’t help with the similar tracks that litter the playlist. One of the songs actually won an award at the 2005 Spike TV videogame awards – but, if you’ve ever watched that train wreck of a show, you’ll realize that it’s far from an honor.
Yes, the game has ad-hoc multiplayer. If you can convince three other people, trendy consumers, to pick the game up, you can delight in a broken game of shoot-em-up as the other members of the G-Unit, whose names I won’t bother remembering right now. But again, to be honest, it’s nothing more than letting others share in your misery. If you want a multiplayer experience, pick up some copies of Untold Legends – 4 used copies should run you a little more than the cost of this game – and you’ll have a much, much better time than just four morons running around with glocks.
50 Cent wants you to buy this game. He actually had the cajones to call it an educational game about street life and tried to get children to play it – very classy, Mr. Jackson. All in all, it’s better than the console versions of the game, but that’s really like saying it’s the last one on the short bus. It doesn’t make a difference. This game is trash. This is STRICTLY for only the most devoted 50 fans. All others, stay the hell away from this game. I wish I could go out on a snappy line, but I can’t really muster anything up after slamming the game like this. Have fun!
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Not the worst. Not the best. But the environments need major work.
Good for 50 fans, with quality to boot. Bad for everyone else.
Do you find watching a leaky faucet to be fun? Good! You’re ready fro the mind-numbing monotony which is 50 Cent: Bulletproof
fSeriously, how did this franchise sell over 2 million copies? The world today, I tells ya…