First announced at Summer Game Fest, Sand Land caught the attention of more than just anime fans simply because of its look akin to Dragon Ball Z. Akira Toriyama’s art is loved by many, and his work on this 23-year-old manga is finally getting the respect it deserves. Bandai Namco provided the first playable experience of the video game adaptation at San Diego Comic-Con, and this game definitely could be something to look out for.
The playable build on the SDCC exhibit floor was the PlayStation 5 version and the demo immediately threw us into the action as Beelzebub and Thief fleeing a chasing dinosaur down a desert canyon. Gameplay here was simple. It’s the typical move left and right using the cruiser to avoid the dinosaur as it stampedes toward the screen.
The game opened up considerably from that sequence, with the main mission being to get to a certain point on the map. With only 15 minutes to play, I chose not to stray too far from the main objective as I cruised around the area with the jeep. There were a bunch of enemies about, and you have the option of running them over or getting out of the vehicle and fighting them head on.
Combat in this action RPG seemed intuitive and not unlike what you’d find in a lot of dungeon crawlers. Most of the enemies were easy, but there was also a bigger dinosaur that I struggled against until Bandai Namco staff told me it’d be easier to handle him with a tank I didn’t realize I could steal at the beginning of the demo. Once I took control of the tank, enemies went down easy with both the machine gun and missiles.
Upon reaching the main objective, the Beel gets ambushed by a bunch of gangsters, and I quickly did away with them by pressing a button that pretty much unleashed super attack. The demo ended from there, but I was also told that there was also a nearby cave I could’ve gone into to take part in a more difficult fight.
Sand Land has had quite the presence at San Diego Comic Con, debuting the full film for SDCC attendees on July 21st. The game has no U.S. release date as of yet, but this is definitely a title we’ll be keeping an eye on.