As I watched my girlfriend shoot up dozens of terrorists in 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, I longed to join in on the fun. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t feature local co-op, which is par for the course for this style of game. Instead, I picked up my own copy and we recently had the opportunity to play online co-op together. Without spoiling anything (as if anyone cares about the ‘amazing’ story contained in this game) we started playing at the point just before you fight a helicopter, and ended our session just after we shot down the third helicopter. Yes, that plays out as ridiculous as it sounds.
I came into it hoping that the co-op experience would be as seamless as the single player game. In co-op, the game is still a lot of fun and the levels keep getting increasingly better and ridiculous. I was glad to know that the B-movie quality fun was still here.
We didn’t have headsets, which made coordinating difficult. Text chatting over PSN with a controller is cumbersome, and text chat through IM wasn’t working out so great for us either. None of this is the fault of the game itself. Once we got Skype going, this worked a lot better. Maybe I should look into buying a headset in the future.
Unfortunately, a few technical issues bogged down the overall experience. If you’ve played any online shooters before, then the issues that arose for us shouldn’t be alien to you, but they do hamper the experience. For one, getting into a game was a bit weird. As a guest, I couldn’t find her friends only lobby, even though I have her on my list. However, I was able to find her no problem when the room was open. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wade through scores of different names to find her; there was only one other person on PSN playing the game online.
The other issue that popped up was that the game had difficulty keeping us in sync, which lead to some weird gameplay hitches. At times, enemies and my girlfriend seemed to stutter around the screen. This was especially noticeable when we were fighting helicopters, as they would jitter across the sky at times rather than glide. This was mostly a visual complaint, and I don’t think had too much effect on gameplay. However, the game’s net-code really hurt hit-detection. It wasn’t unusual to unload three full pistol clips into one enemy before they died, even though you were aiming directly at them. When you’re playing the game in single player, enemies drop a lot quicker. I don’t think it had anything to do with the game’s difficulty settings, as the game was set to easy. However, I suspect a lot of our bullets got lost in the net-code, which sucks.
I wish the net-code was tighter in 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, but it’s still very much playable. For my girlfriend and I, who don’t take this game too seriously, it works. However, the game does struggle to keep two players in sync, which makes it run noticeably worse than the single player experience.