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Underwhelmed by SAND LAND’s Demo? Here’s Why You Should Give It a Second Chance

Underwhelmed by SAND LAND’s Demo? Here’s Why You Should Give It a Second Chance

Recently, I was completely charmed by Bandai Namco's latest title, SAND LAND, because of a very superficial reason: its visuals. I was on the brink of buying the game when I found out it was based on a manga by Akira Toriyama; due to my complete ineptitude when it comes to most things anime/manga-related, I decided to pass on the game... until I found out it had a demo. I just had to play it at least a little bit so I could see it up close and personal. 

The manga-inspired art style, with its vast, gorgeous desert landscapes, nearly sent fireworks over my head when I laid my eyes upon it! I am a proud owner of an Odyssey Neo G9 Super Ultrawide monitor, so I was over the moon by the fact that it worked without the need for tinkering. 

Naturally, I was very excited to try the demo out and see if maybe I didn't have to go through a whole manga to enjoy it... but, unfortunately, those who played it too know that it wasn't more than a test run of the vehicles, combat, and the graphics. It starts you off in the middle of nowhere, with a few tutorials to help you figure out what to do and how, but there's no taste for what the game really has in store for you.

SL 11 Cropped

This only further pushed me to not buy the game; at a minimum of £49.99 price tag, I couldn't afford getting something I wouldn't be absolutely sure I'd love (or at least like). Despite that, the breathtaking graphics and the smooth combat with machines stayed in the back of my mind for many days — I wanted to go back, even if it was to kill more random desert creatures!

Eventually, I took the plunge, and I couldn't be happier that I did. SAND LAND's demo does paint some truth to what the gameplay is like: the characters repeat quotes every two seconds, the world is spectacular, and the combat isn't overly complex, but it fails to display all the charm that the full gameplay offers. What little I allowed myself to enjoy fighting in the vehicles felt cumbersome in comparison to the fun I've had now that I've had time to adapt to them. This goes for the dialogue, too — while 12 hours in, I could almost repeat word-by-word what the characters will say at any given point; this issue is easy to ignore once you've been charmed by the cast and setting. 

SL 12 Cropped

Personally, I'm very sad that many people might've written off SAND LAND after trying out the demo; it feels like all it does is display some of the flaws that the game has (especially for those who might not enjoy the simple combat), and it showed nothing of all its greatness. The game is brimming with comedy, the different areas available look magnificent, and there are enough activities to keep you coming back for more, even if you do have to sit through one more, "Hey, Old Man…"

Link Sano

Link Sano

Staff Writer

Has a passion for simulators

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