Sands of Destruction

Game review by
Alex Porter, Common Sense Media
Sands of Destruction Game Poster Image
Japanese anime role-playing epic with fantasy violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The story puts the main character in a bind between one faction out to "destroy the world" in order to save it and another that is an oppressive race of beast-men. The ultimate aim is positive, but the means - as in many games - involves violence. Ultimately, there's too much destruction and pain in this game to carry a positive message, no matter the ultimate goal. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

For players of target age and older, the moral complexities will be comprehensible. But younger gamers will have trouble understanding the main character's alliance with  an organization called the "World Annihilation Front" who rely on destruction to serve their mission.

Ease of Play

For players familiar with role playing games, this should be no problem. For novices to the genre, players can expect a few hours to understand the complexities of the battle system.

Violence

In battles, characters hit, shoot, and whip one another and the damage is represented by flashes of light. At one point a bad guy declares, "I'll show you pain you never knew possible." Further, cutscenes depict characters being tortured.

Sex
Language

The words "hell" and "damn" are heard in several places. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sands of Destruction is a Japanese role-playing adventure game full of fantasy violence in which players battle creatures, humans, and other races of beings. The main character, a human, joins forces with an anarchist group out to destroy the planet and eliminate a race of oppressive beast-like humanoids, the Ferals. Though no bloodshed is depicted in the 2D action, characters deliever lines such as, "I'll show you pain you never knew possible," and attack each other with swords, knives, chains, and guns. Some of the cutscenes depict torture, and characters also use moderately strong language such as "damn" and "hell."

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What's it about?

SANDS OF DESTRUCTION follows the story of a humble, country boy, Kyrie, who has an innate \"gift\" of destruction he's unable to harness. He's called upon by the World Annihilation Front, a faction of anarachists who are at odds with the beast-like Ferals that have enslaved humanity. You and your team will take on a series of creatures, bosses, and enemies in caves, prisons, dungeons, and swamps. Random encouters are spinkled heavily throughout. During battles, players select actions from a menu screen (e.g., \"attack,\" \"defend,\" and \"run\") to defeat enemies, which earns them money, items, and experience points. They can then customize and upgrade their characters in nearly infinite combinations.

Is it any good?

For fans of Japanese RPG games, this is a solid entry. Sands of Destruction offers standard, turn-based battling, a linear, well-told story, and lots of data and attributes around each character that can be endlessly tweaked. The story and somewhat fiddly style of play go hand-in-hand, so players need to have an appetite - and patience - for both. For newcomers to the genre, the experience can be at first daunting and then immersive, as narrative, character, and music are all really well presented. Overall, this is a solid if not especially original game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the story and how the world is divided into rival races, one who has enslaved the other. Are there parallels in our world?

  • The story here has a group determined to blow up the world in order to save it. Do you think terrorists in our world have the a similar view?

  • This game is familiar to many Japanese RPGs and yet has some unique features. Families can talk about how the game differs from others of the genre and whether these differences are assets or liabilities.

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $35.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Sega of America
  • Release date: January 20, 2009
  • Genre: Role Playing
  • ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language

For kids who love going on adventures

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