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Can You Play SAND LAND Without Knowing the Manga?

Can You Play SAND LAND Without Knowing the Manga?

Anime is very alluring to me — the plots are interesting, the animations are gorgeous, the combat is eye-catching, and they stand out among the usual TV shows. Unfortunately, despite my relentless efforts to get into the scene, I don't have the attention span to sit through, at times, over 600 episodes! Due to this, I don't really know much outside of NarutoNaruto Shippuden, Inuyasha, and Dragon Ball... I.e. I've only watched the mainstream franchises that every anime noob knows. When I heard about SAND LAND, I was intrigued by its graphics, but the fact that it was based on a manga by Akira Toriyama really stopped me in my tracks: I didn't want to pay £49.99 — or £12.99 more for the Deluxe Edition — if I wasn't going to click with the game due to my lack of manga-reading. 

When I saw there was a demo, I was sure that'd be the way to know if I could play it as a noob, but unfortunately, it was a very superficial dip into what the gameplay actually has to offer, as it just lets you try out fighting with the multiple vehicles. The dialogue also didn't help my confidence in buying it, as I had no idea who the characters were at all.

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Of course, I wouldn't be writing this article if I didn't cave and get the game, anyway... so you know what happened next. I have a little over 12 hours in the game at the moment, and while I'm not very deep into it (I'm still in the first area!), I can very confidently say that I needed no prior knowledge about it. There are some situations where I feel like there's some obvious context for fans of the manga, such as when we get to meet some of the characters (like Slime!), and it feels like there's more history there than what's offered in the game's narrative, but it isn't a downside. There aren’t any references to things, people, or places that I can’t understand by just using a few brain cells, and the overall gameplay and narrative don’t feel like they’re punishing anyone who didn’t bother learning about the franchise first.

If anything, throughout my hours of enjoying the game, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth it brought to the world and characters, as I knew enough information to comfortably play and understand every situation, but it felt like the world has existed for much longer than what I've known it, and that is great.

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If you're considering picking up SAND LAND, I couldn't suggest it more, especially if you're someone who already reads manga! This might just be the way to get intrigued by the next adventure you could jump into, as I wish I was interested in manga so I could enjoy more of Beelzebub and his crew.

Christian Schmidt

Christian Schmidt

Staff Writer

Playing videogames, listening to nightcore

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