Splatoon was a surprising success on the Wii U, selling millions despite being a new IP on the worst selling Nintendo home console to date. It was a fresh take on shooters giving some much-needed color and creative new gameplay elements that weren’t previously focused on in the previous shooter. With this third person shooter/platforming hybrid focusing more on a king of the hill type turf war instead of who can rack up the most kills, it took its place as a top-selling Nintendo IP and competitive shooter. With great success, a sequel would be inevitable. How does the newly released Splatoon 2 stack up to its predecessor?
Keep it Fresh
If you haven’t played Splatoon before, the core idea is pretty basic. It has a Single-Player mode however the biggest focus is on the multiplayer. You , with 3 other players (4v4), shoot ink in a third person perspective to cover as much territory as possible. Kills do not amount for squat. Nothing. Nadda. Zip. You have two ways of control. As a kid or as a squid. In kid form you are very slow but its the only way to actually use your weapons. As a Squid, you can swim in your ink colors, giving you a lot of movement options and speed. Splatoon is a shooter/platforming hybrid. With enemies also inking their own colors on the map, you must master platforming in squid form. Your own ink basically acts as a platform and with the battlefield changing every second, you must adapt to every territorial change possible to survive. This is what my main draw in Splatoon is all about. It’s not just another shooter, it’s a different concept all together. Anytime you shoot in a direction, you are drawing out a battle plan while at the same time covering turf, and setting yourself up for best agility options to counter attacks or defense.
Splatoon 2 still has it down when it comes to gameplay. I’d say it’s as fun as ever with older weapon being tweaked and new weapons to keep the game feeling new. Splat Chargers (Snipers) now keep their full ink charges for a small amount of time when you go into squid form, and Rollers now have a vertical ink toss to make it easier to make a path up a wall and have some range against other players. One of the newer weapons to the game are the Splat Dualies. These are two small pistol like guns that shoots ink in two separate directions with two different crosshairs. When you are shooting and press the jump button, you can dash-evade and temporarily merge the two crosshairs together for double damage. That’s not the only new stuff as all the old Special Weapons have been replaced with new ones. Say good-bye to the Inkstrike, Inkzooka, and Killer Wail and say hello to the Tenta Missiles, Sting Ray, Inkjet, and MANY more. The Tenta Missiles are pretty much the new Inkstrikes, however you now have two big-ass rocket launchers that lock onto enemy players. The Sting Ray shoots pressurized ink that cuts through enemy players. The catch is that it can shoot through anything on the map. The new Killer Wail if you want to sum it up. The Inkjet is just a jetpack mode with a bazooka attachment. If its comparable to anything, you can say its the Kraken from the first Splatoon.
I KID! I SQUID! I KID AGAIN!
Now that we have explained how the game works and some of the new weapons, lets talk about how the multiplayer holds up. We don’t technically have any new multiplayer modes. You have the basic Turf War, Ranked, and League Battle. In Turf War, you have to ink the ground as much as possible before the time is up. The team with the most coverage wins. The basic but very fun as hell mode of the game. Ranked is a mix of different more complex game modes with players graded on the performance.
These modes include:
- Splat Zones
- Tower Control
-Splatzones is the same concept of Turf Wars, however to win this games you have to splat certain sections of the map. Think of it as Splatoon’s version of King of the Hill.
-Tower Control is a mode where you have to move a tower into the opponents base. The only way to get the tower to move is to sit on top of it. The tower moves on a set path so, as you may guess, it gets really hectic. New to Splatoon 2 are checkpoints to the tower’s path. Before a team to get to the tower early and rush it inside the enemy’s base before they could even have time to think. Now the tower will halt for a few seconds on the checkpoint before moving forward.
–Rainmaker is a game where a special weapon spawns in the center of the map. Similar to Tower Control, the goal is to move it to a point inside the enemy’s base. However, what makes this different is that you can use the weapon to shoot bazooka-like explosions to carve your own path to the base. No set path to get in your way! You could see this as Splatoon 2’s One Flag CTF.
Now, lets talk about League Battle. League Battle is the “Technically” part I said before. It’s just Squad Battles from Splatoon 1 but now you have to “git gud” in order to play it. You have to rank as B- to access it. That’s a big feat to get to. Trust me, I know. Squad Battles before were just ranked matches with friends. Now it’s entirely its own thing. Team up with your friends to battle other groups to gain as many points as possible. After a two-hour period, results of the previous matches will show in a rank fashion. Personally I prefer Squad Battles. Nothing was better than to play ranked with friends. Now it seems to be its own thing. I can only hope Squad Battles return in a future update. Overall its very disappointing we didn’t get a new game mode. Its pretty obvious well will get one in a later update, but I feel a new game mode would have really done this game justice.
Connection-wise, Splatoon 2 has been a solid experience. I’ve had the occasional player drop out of a match but I am unsure if it was because he quit or it was his connection. I’ve never dropped out of a match myself so I have to say its been a lag free experience. Splatoon 1 was full of delayed attacks, turf disappearing/reappearing, and disconnections. None of these have plagued my experiences with Splatoon 2. The only thing to do now is to see how the servers hold up against Splatfest. Speaking of which, might as well talk about that too. Splatfest is a monthly event in Splatoon where players are given two choices to vote on. Ketchup vs Mustard, Patrick vs Sponge-Bob, etc. Players, after voting, are given a team shirt and then play matches against players who choice the opposite. Play online to get bonuses, and to help your team win. The winner is determined by popularity and matches won. The only game mode played is Turf War unfortunately.
It Came from the Sea…
Did I say no new game modes before? Whoops, I mean no new “competitive” game modes. Share your greetings towards Salmon Run. This is the big new mode to get you to buy the game right here. Four players team up online against the stinkiest chum of the sea, salmon. This is the game’s Nazi Zombies or any typical horde mode. Players are spawned together to hold off hordes of varying types of salmon to get Power Eggs, and Golden Eggs in a certain amount of time. Power Eggs are used for high scores by killing enemies. Golden Eggs are dropped from one of eight different types of boss salmon. This is the key to the mode. Kill the bosses and return a certain amount of Golden Eggs within a certain amount of time to fulfill your “Contract” given by a strange, mysterious person known as Mr. Griz.
It starts out easy, but as time goes on, more enemies are spawn. That’s including bosses. While you may have 20 smaller or bigger types of salmon trying to get in your way, boss salmon will destroy you with ease and yes, multiple bosses can be on the map with grunt salmon at the same time. Sometimes, even spawning twice. It starts out as a fun mode but it slaps you in the face quickly with your first promotion in the mode. This isn’t mommy’s recommended mode. This is for men. You could even say its the Dark Souls of Splatoon :). There is one MAJOR flaw however. You can only play during certain times of the day. Yep, if you get on, chances are you might not be able to play at all. You could use local play with friends but other than that, there is no way to play the game any time you want. Huge disappointment with this new mode. It’s a game seller held down by time constraints. Are you kidding me? For what purpose? Nintendo is at it again with faulty, weird, stupid, incomprehensible decisions with what is otherwise, a great game. It almost makes me want to choke a squid and go to jail. At least the mode kicks overwhelming amounts of ass. Salmon cover the ground in green ink, making it very hard to maneuver. Tasks must be completed within a small amount of time. The mode is quick, easy to play but easy to die. A great challenge and super fun with friends. I really wanted coop in Splatoon and I’m glad I finally have something like it.
There is nothing I loved more than the first Splatoon’s single-player. The platforming was great, the levels neat, and bosses that get the adrenaline pumping. (The last boss was just sublime) Splatoon 2’s singe-player is great but feels tacked on this time around. This is not to say that less thought was put into it. It’s just that I already played the first game’s single-player. Splatoon 2 just brings more of the same unfortunately. It does a lot of cool gimmicks like speed pads, and Jet Set Radio styled grind rails, but that’s about it. It’s just Splatoon 1’s single-player but its back again with some new stuff. I can’t even say much on this really. If you haven’t played the single-player for Splatoon before, this will be a wildly fun ride, However for everyone that’s already played Splatoon 1, its more of the same. Expect unique bosses, tight platforming, and waves of enemies to destroy. You can get some fun out of it if you already played. I just wish it was something more. Maybe we will get a new formula in Splatoon 3.
Splatoon 2 hits the spot in a lot areas however falls short in some. The multiplayer is the reason to buy this game, as expected. But with Salmon Run being locked away by a timely schedule, no new competitive modes, and same-y single-player, I feel the game fails to be a true sequel. It’s a good sequel but not an amazing sequel it could have been. It’s a crying shame too. Schedule’s holding back maps and the new mode. Voice chat is still none-existent in-game on a modern game console. Just why is that still an issue Nintendo? Communication is key with games like this. The Switch companion-app is a laughing-stock and a topic for another day. This may sound pretty negative, but Splatoon 2 is easily the most fun I had with any game on the Nintendo Switch. It’s one of those things I come back to and play for hours upon hours. A multiplayer equal to Zelda Breath of the Wild. It has shortcomings, but it still manages to be a fun experience despite them. If that’s not a good game, I don’t know what is.