I’m always a little excited whenever I hear that a manga series is being adapted into a video game. As someone who really wants to delve into manga but often feels intimidated by the wealth of options available, games can serve as an easy entry point for me. For example, I was recently introduced to the world of A piece for the first time thanks to One Piece Odyssey. This gave me the primer I always needed on the series, piqued my interest enough to want to know more.
SAND LAND game announcement trailer
Because of that experience, I immediately became interested Land of sand when it was announced during this year’s Summer Game Fest live stream. The upcoming action RPG is the first modern video game adaptation of Land of sanda short manga series by dragon ball creator Akira Toriyama. Set in the wake of a natural disaster that has left the world without water, the story follows a diverse group of heroes as they search for a new stash hidden in the desert world. The video game version will tell that story, allowing people like me to experience it for the first time.
I already got a taste of what’s to come at this year’s Summer Game Fest, where I played a short snippet of the game. While I don’t expect it to be a smashing success, it seems to be doing exactly what I want a project like this to accomplish: It’s getting me interested in the source material enough that I’m already thinking about picking up the manga.
Tour in the desert
Developed by ILCA, the studio behind Shining Pearl Pokémon AND Brilliant diamond, Land of sand it’s a pretty standard action RPG. It has players control Beelzebub and his crew as they traverse vast desert environments in search of water. The basic combat system feels like the norm, with some simple cuts and special abilities. That part doesn’t stand out too much from something like this Dragon Quest treasuresbut that’s not the real goal here.
Land of sandThe most intriguing hook of this film is its emphasis on vehicles, which intrigued me much more. Over the course of the adventure, Beelzebub can pilot a number of devices around the world, all with their own controls and functions. I’d immediately get a sense of how this changes the gameplay in an exciting opening sequence where I drive a jeep towards the screen while a giant sand creature chases me. It’s a practical, yet very fun way to introduce driving controls in an over-the-top way that I hope is everywhere.
After escaping that scratch, I was free to wander a little slice of open desert. It wasn’t long before I found a shiny new tank sitting in the dunes, so I hopped in the cockpit and gave it a spin. Naturally, this will control very differently than my jeep, but it would also give me access to a war machine that I could use to wreak havoc on the local raptor population. With a machine gun and bazooka that I could switch between (reloading one while using the other), I could roll into unsuspecting enemies and take them out much faster than I could on foot. Blowing up small enemies with huge tank shots might sound mean, but hey, it sure is fun.
Vehicles aren’t just for combat, though, and that creates another intriguing dynamic. Once I got into my tank, I remembered seeing a rock wall earlier that looked like it could be blown open. Sure enough, I could use my tank to open it and enter a hidden area full of resources and raptors. I’m not sure how deep this goes into the full game, but I like the idea of vehicles replacing items that can unlock parts of the world. It’s a bit of a puzzle system that could make for a good open desert exploration.
The demo I played only gave me a small taste of what to expect, so I’m still not sure what the real purpose of the game is. Its success will likely depend on how many vehicles it has in the final game, how it can maintain a diverse desert environment, and whether or not simple action RPG combat has more depth than I’ve seen. There’s a good chance this could be a modest project that’s more for the fans than anything else. As someone who has never read the manga, though, I’m already interested in making the rounds just to see Toriyama’s vibrant art style so well represented in a modern 3D game. Self Land of sand can turn me into a fan of the larger series, I would consider it a success.
Land of sand it doesn’t have a release date, but is currently in development for PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
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