Sand Land Hands-On Gameplay: A Preview of Toriyama’s Masterpiece in Video Game

Sand Land Hands-On Gameplay Preview
Sand Land Hands-On Gameplay Preview

Sand Land, the video game, can’t be discussed without mentioning the late Akira Toriyama, who sadly passed away in March.

Even though the game is inspired by Toriyama’s Sand Land manga series, his influence is felt throughout, from the storytelling to the stunning art.

Bandai Namco recently let us try out a portion of Sand Land, giving us a taste of what’s to come. The demo took us about halfway through the game, which promises an epic adventure for fans of the manga.

After spending some quality time with the game – almost a year since its initial reveal at Summer Game Fest – it’s clear that fans have plenty to look forward to.

During the demo, we got to experience three different parts of Sand Land: a mission where Beelzebub and his gang rescue Ann, a thrilling boss battle against a massive tank, and the chance to roam around the open world of Sand Land and Forest Land.

Overall, the preview showcased the diverse vehicular combat the game offers, along with giving us glimpses into the intriguing story that lies ahead.

Vehicle Combat Shines in Sand Land

In Sand Land, customizing your vehicles for combat is a major aspect of the gameplay, giving players the freedom to tailor their rides to their preferred style of play. The iconic tank is central to this, allowing modifications to its engine, structure, weapons, and more.

Some may opt for agility, peppering foes with rapid but weaker attacks, while others might favor brute force, decking out their tank with heavy armor and powerful weaponry. During the preview, every approach seemed viable, making it enjoyable to experiment and find the perfect fit.

Sand Land Hands-On Gameplay Preview

However, the tank isn’t the only option for players. Sand Land offers a variety of vehicles, from dirt buggies to battle armor, each customizable like the tank. For instance, the battle armor provides a slower but more powerful combat experience akin to Beelzebub’s third-person fighting style, utilizing strong punches and artillery.

Sand Land’s vehicle combat offers a true sandbox experience. Players can freely design their vehicles, switch between them with ease, and adjust their setups as they progress. Loot plays a significant role in exploration and quests, encouraging players to complete tasks for better vehicle upgrades.

Combat has its own rhythm, with most vehicles featuring two offensive weapons that require strategic swapping due to limited ammo.

This adds depth, as players must choose their attacks wisely based on the situation, saving powerful moves for tougher enemies or critical moments. It’s a well-executed system that adds strategic depth without overwhelming players, particularly enhancing boss battles.

Beelzebub’s Adventures Continue in Sand Land

While vehicle combat is a major focus in Sand Land, the game offers more than just that. Players can switch to controlling Beezlebub in the third person for some character action whenever they want.

It’s similar to what you’d expect from a Bandai Namco game, with Beelzebub using simple combos and dodging, along with special abilities powered by an energy meter for flashier attacks or teamwork with allies like Rao.

Sand Land Hands-On Gameplay Preview

The third-person combat feels solid and should be easy to grasp for fans of the genre. Using special abilities adds a layer of strategy without being overly complicated. However, when given the choice, using vehicles often feels like a more enjoyable option.

Sand Land isn’t all about fighting either; there’s a good amount of variety. The demo included sections focused on exploration and puzzles, like navigating water obstacles with Beelzebub’s hovercraft. There’s also stealth gameplay, where Beezlebub sneaks around, subduing enemies to rescue Ann from a facility.

Sand Land Sidequests We Played:

  • Vehicle Races
  • Battle Arenas
  • Item Collecting for NPCs
  • Defeating Enemies for NPCs

In summary, the preview of Sand Land indicates it will offer an expansive adventure filled with diverse gameplay and combat situations to keep players entertained. While previews often only scratch the surface of open-world exploration, Sand Land appears to have large areas to explore and plenty of side quests alongside the main story.

Sand Land Hands-On Gameplay Preview

As someone unfamiliar with Toriyama’s manga, I can’t comment on the depth of the storytelling, but what was shown in the preview was charming and humorous. There’s also the promise of significant revelations for fans of Toriyama’s manga series.

What sets Sand Land apart from other character action games is Toriyama’s distinctive art style and design, which have been faithfully translated into a 3D video game.

Even from the brief glimpse provided, the game showcases diverse environments, engaging character interactions, and impressive visual effects. If Sand Land truly offers a 60-hour experience, it seems poised to provide fans with a substantial and enjoyable journey.

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Alex Hoffman-Ellis is a nerd who love technology and computers. He has been building computers for over 5 years now, and have always loved the challenge of learning how to make them faster, better, and more efficient. He's here to share his insights on these as a journalist, a designer and a technologist with love for writing and tech stuff. Words from Alex Hoffman: “Technology is best when it brings people together.”