Revisiting SAND LAND: Why the Full Game Deserves a Chance Beyond the Demo

Revisiting SAND LAND: Why the Full Game Deserves a Chance Beyond the Demo

Bandai Namco's latest action RPG, SAND LAND, initially caught my eye purely because of its stunning, manga-inspired art style, and expansive desert landscapes perfectly showcased on my Odyssey Neo G9 Super Ultrawide monitor. Despite my hesitations stemming from a lack of familiarity with the manga by Akira Toriyama, the visual allure was too tempting to resist, leading me to try out the demo.

The demo, unfortunately, left much to be desired. It thrust players into the middle of nowhere, providing only basic tutorials on vehicle controls, combat, and graphics without offering a real taste of the game’s potential depth or narrative. This brief introduction was not enough to convince me to invest £49.99 in the full game, fearing a lack of engagement.

However, the vivid landscapes and engaging combat mechanics continued to linger in my mind, compelling me to eventually give the full game a chance—and I'm glad I did. The full experience of SAND LAND is drastically more fulfilling than the demo suggests. It’s brimming with humor, a beautifully crafted world, and an array of activities that the demo barely hinted at.

What the Demo Didn't Show

SAND LAND’s demo unfortunately highlights some of the game's lesser aspects and fails to showcase its true charm and depth:
- Character Repetition: While initially grating, the characters’ repeated dialogue becomes less intrusive as you grow attached to the quirky cast and expansive setting.
- Simplified Combat: The combat may seem overly simplistic at first, but it becomes more enjoyable as players adapt and engage with the variety of vehicles and tactics available.
- Hidden Depth: The demo does not do justice to the comedic elements, the intricate world, or the range of activities available in the full game.

A World Worth Exploring

Beyond the initial flaws, SAND LAND offers an engaging narrative set in a world where humans and demons grapple with a severe water shortage. Players follow the adventures of Beelzebub, Thief, and Sheriff Rao as they search for a legendary spring in a narrative filled with challenges and unexpected turns.

Unlock Your Imagination with Vehicles

One of the game’s standout features is the ability to unlock and customize vehicles. From battle tanks to motorbikes and jump-bots, players can traverse the desert landscapes in style, modifying their rides with various mechanical parts to enhance their capabilities.

Build and Grow Your Basecamp

The game also allows players to develop their basecamp in the city of Spino, fostering relationships and accommodating the needs of exiled desert inhabitants. This aspect adds a layer of strategy and personalization, enriching the player's involvement in the game world.

Final Verdict

While the demo might give off an underwhelming first impression, the full version of SAND LAND is a treasure trove of humor, adventure, and creativity. It’s a testament to the idea that sometimes, games deserve a second chance beyond their initial showcase. For those who passed on SAND LAND after the demo, consider diving back into its vast, beautifully rendered world—you might find it more rewarding than you initially thought.

SAND LAND is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PC via Steam, and has received mixed to positive reviews, reflecting its unique position in today’s RPG landscape.


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