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“Splatoon 2” Review

Get to inking!

It’s been a few months since we got our hands on Splatoon 2 during their Global Testfire and it’s finally time to get answers to the questions that were brought up then.

How will Nintendo’s online service operate? Have they not changed enough from the original? What is the first Splatfest going to be? Where are Callie and Marie?

All of these questions are answered as we dive into what Splatoon 2 has to offer.

What Is It?

Splatoon 2 is a third-person shooter unlike any other. Gone are all the weapons of destruction only to be replaced by various paintball paraphernalia that only Nintendo can get you excited for.

Players are encouraged to grab their weapon of choice and paint everything in sight. Single player picks up right where the last one ended and is much of the same, providing a story that isn’t too enticing but gameplay that is challenging and rewarding.

Multiplayer gives us a glimpse of what Nintendo can bring to the online generation of shooters. Splatoon 2 is easy to pick up and challenging to master. Every game feels like a new experience and the rotation of maps and modes should keep the players coming back for more as they rise through the ranks all while trying to keep your Inklings as fresh as can be.

Why Should I Care?

If you spent any time on the original Splatoon, this sequel takes place only nine months afterward and is very easy to pick up. Everything you loved from the first is back with some new additions.

If this is your first go around with the Inklings, don’t let the bright colors and oddities of Inkolopis scare you. It’s really a beautiful place where memes exist and no one really knows what they’re doing until you reach the Ranked or League Battles. Grab your paintbrush, bucket, or paintball gun and just color everything.

Because of the multitude of ways to play the Switch, players are given plenty of options and should have no problem finding one that suits them best. Movement is designated to the left stick with menu inputs on the left D-Pad and buttons. On the right, menu options can be accessed through the buttons, and directional aim is done through the right stick. Fans of the original will be happy to know that motion controls are back and refined for precision aiming, but can be switched off for those less fond of motion gaming. The controller scheme remains mostly untouched which is a great thing considering how easy the Wii U game was to pick up and go. The only thing that really has changed is the use of the map which is now relegated to the X button.

All of the weapons from the original are back alongside a few new ones. Each gun seems to have its advantages and definitely worth trying in the shooting range. Like to get in your opponents’ faces? Perhaps the brushes or buckets will suit you. Prefer to fight from a distance? The Splat Charger or splatterscope should work for you. Being well versed in multiple weapons will help you climb the ranks as teams that have a varied selection of weapons can turn the tide of battle.

One of the biggest problems with the original Splatoon still remains in that players cannot switch loadouts in between matches. Why this wasn’t fixed is beyond me as the community definitely made their voices heard when it came to this issue. Matchmaking online also seems to be hit or miss as communications errors are a common site and prevented me from player multiple times. On the topic of issues, an internet connection is required at all times when playing, which is kind of disappointing seeing as how portability is one of the Switch’s main selling points.

With Nintendo deciding to bring their premium gaming service online soon, Splatoon 2 has the honor of being the first to be available through their app. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was fairly easy to join friends and chat with them through a headset connected to my phone. However, requiring the phone to be on while chatting and the limited abilities made it more of a hassle and an already established chat service was used instead. I would only turn to the app to access the SplatNet Gear Shop; that offers more options to get your Inkling fresh than the in-game stores.

Despite these shortcomings, there are plenty of things that Splatoon 2 gets right. Single player is true to the original and although some of the bosses are less memorable, it provides a great platforming puzzle experience that shouldn’t be overlooked. Plenty of hours were spent trying to figure out how to best approach this boss and locate the secrets of each map.

Multiplayer comes in a variety of ways. Turf Wars is the bread and butter of the Splatoon franchise and it’s easy to see why once you play it. When players reach level 10, they are able to take on the challenge that Ranked Matches bring. Ranked play brings three different game modes that are rotated every few hours: Rainmaker, Splat Zones, and Tower Control. Once players are comfortable in Ranked Battles, League Battles provide teams of two or for to play a bit more competitively.

One of the fan favorites from the original is back in SplatFests where each player is given two options, such as Mayo vs. Ketchup, and you pick which one you would like to represent. During the time, you’re given a shirt to represent your team as you climb the ranks from Fanboy or Fangirl to King or Queen. It’s a great way to team up with like-minded people and brings another competitive aspect as the overall winner of the SplatFest is given extra goodies.

THIS. IS. AMAZING.

Splatoon 2 introduces Salmon Run, this horde mode that sends you and three “co-workers” to a map to collect Golden Eggs from the evil, or so we’re led to believe, Salmonids. They attack in three waves where you’re required to meet a quota of Golden Eggs that Salmonid Bosses drop and survive a time limit. Three rounds felt very short at first, but the variety of maps and waves made this mode very fun to play. Again, despite it being an awesome version of their horde, Nintendo goes and locks it, only allowing players to enjoy it during certain times.

If all these Salmonids are alive, chances are you aren’t.

What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?

When the original Splatoon came out, it was a hard sell at a game that didn’t seem to warrant a day one, full price purchase. After having my go, it was easier to understand why Nintendo decided to back this title.

Splatoon 2 retains everything that made the first one amazing. Gameplay mechanics have only been improved. The weapon and clothing choices are aplenty and worth checking everyday if there happens to be some shoes with a particular skill you want. Teaming up with friends and taking on League Battles is so satisfying. The Switch serves as a great platform for this game and eight-player local play is a whole new experience.

Despite all of these great things that have been carried over, there are still some negatives that were carried over as well. Not being able to swap weapons and coordinate with your team is frustrating. Trying to enjoy games with friends take longer than it should in 2017. Nintendo’s online service is abysmal for a game that would thrive if given a better online option. So many little nuisances that seem like they could be solved with easy fixes make this game fall short of perfection. This is where the game sometimes feels like it could’ve had the “deluxe” treatment done better.

That being said, Splatoon 2 is, without a doubt, a must-have for any Nintendo Switch owner. The Inklings and the world of Inkolopis are easy to fall in love with and I have yet to miss a visit since launch. The gameplay is simple enough that casual gamers can pick it up but at higher ranks it can be very competitive. Nintendo needs to make adjustments and patch those small issues, but Splatoon 2 is still the game to be playing this summer.

 
 
 
 
 
Title: Splatoon 2
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Release Date: July 21, 2017
ESRB Rating: E
Developer's Twitter: @NintendoAmerica
Editor's Note: The game was purchased by the reviewer.
OpenCritic

It’s been a few months since we got our hands on Splatoon 2 during their Global Testfire and it’s finally time to get answers to the questions that were brought up then. How will Nintendo’s online service operate? Have they not changed enough from the original? What is the first Splatfest going to be? Where are Callie and Marie? All of these questions are answered as we dive into what Splatoon 2 has to offer. What Is It? Splatoon 2 is a third-person shooter unlike […]

Get to inking!

It’s been a few months since we got our hands on Splatoon 2 during their Global Testfire and it’s finally time to get answers to the questions that were brought up then.

How will Nintendo’s online service operate? Have they not changed enough from the original? What is the first Splatfest going to be? Where are Callie and Marie?

All of these questions are answered as we dive into what Splatoon 2 has to offer.

What Is It?

Splatoon 2 is a third-person shooter unlike any other. Gone are all the weapons of destruction only to be replaced by various paintball paraphernalia that only Nintendo can get you excited for.

Players are encouraged to grab their weapon of choice and paint everything in sight. Single player picks up right where the last one ended and is much of the same, providing a story that isn’t too enticing but gameplay that is challenging and rewarding.

Multiplayer gives us a glimpse of what Nintendo can bring to the online generation of shooters. Splatoon 2 is easy to pick up and challenging to master. Every game feels like a new experience and the rotation of maps and modes should keep the players coming back for more as they rise through the ranks all while trying to keep your Inklings as fresh as can be.

Why Should I Care?

If you spent any time on the original Splatoon, this sequel takes place only nine months afterward and is very easy to pick up. Everything you loved from the first is back with some new additions.

If this is your first go around with the Inklings, don’t let the bright colors and oddities of Inkolopis scare you. It’s really a beautiful place where memes exist and no one really knows what they’re doing until you reach the Ranked or League Battles. Grab your paintbrush, bucket, or paintball gun and just color everything.

Because of the multitude of ways to play the Switch, players are given plenty of options and should have no problem finding one that suits them best. Movement is designated to the left stick with menu inputs on the left D-Pad and buttons. On the right, menu options can be accessed through the buttons, and directional aim is done through the right stick. Fans of the original will be happy to know that motion controls are back and refined for precision aiming, but can be switched off for those less fond of motion gaming. The controller scheme remains mostly untouched which is a great thing considering how easy the Wii U game was to pick up and go. The only thing that really has changed is the use of the map which is now relegated to the X button.

All of the weapons from the original are back alongside a few new ones. Each gun seems to have its advantages and definitely worth trying in the shooting range. Like to get in your opponents’ faces? Perhaps the brushes or buckets will suit you. Prefer to fight from a distance? The Splat Charger or splatterscope should work for you. Being well versed in multiple weapons will help you climb the ranks as teams that have a varied selection of weapons can turn the tide of battle.

One of the biggest problems with the original Splatoon still remains in that players cannot switch loadouts in between matches. Why this wasn’t fixed is beyond me as the community definitely made their voices heard when it came to this issue. Matchmaking online also seems to be hit or miss as communications errors are a common site and prevented me from player multiple times. On the topic of issues, an internet connection is required at all times when playing, which is kind of disappointing seeing as how portability is one of the Switch’s main selling points.

With Nintendo deciding to bring their premium gaming service online soon, Splatoon 2 has the honor of being the first to be available through their app. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was fairly easy to join friends and chat with them through a headset connected to my phone. However, requiring the phone to be on while chatting and the limited abilities made it more of a hassle and an already established chat service was used instead. I would only turn to the app to access the SplatNet Gear Shop; that offers more options to get your Inkling fresh than the in-game stores.

Despite these shortcomings, there are plenty of things that Splatoon 2 gets right. Single player is true to the original and although some of the bosses are less memorable, it provides a great platforming puzzle experience that shouldn’t be overlooked. Plenty of hours were spent trying to figure out how to best approach this boss and locate the secrets of each map.

Multiplayer comes in a variety of ways. Turf Wars is the bread and butter of the Splatoon franchise and it’s easy to see why once you play it. When players reach level 10, they are able to take on the challenge that Ranked Matches bring. Ranked play brings three different game modes that are rotated every few hours: Rainmaker, Splat Zones, and Tower Control. Once players are comfortable in Ranked Battles, League Battles provide teams of two or for to play a bit more competitively.

One of the fan favorites from the original is back in SplatFests where each player is given two options, such as Mayo vs. Ketchup, and you pick which one you would like to represent. During the time, you’re given a shirt to represent your team as you climb the ranks from Fanboy or Fangirl to King or Queen. It’s a great way to team up with like-minded people and brings another competitive aspect as the overall winner of the SplatFest is given extra goodies.

THIS. IS. AMAZING.

Splatoon 2 introduces Salmon Run, this horde mode that sends you and three “co-workers” to a map to collect Golden Eggs from the evil, or so we’re led to believe, Salmonids. They attack in three waves where you’re required to meet a quota of Golden Eggs that Salmonid Bosses drop and survive a time limit. Three rounds felt very short at first, but the variety of maps and waves made this mode very fun to play. Again, despite it being an awesome version of their horde, Nintendo goes and locks it, only allowing players to enjoy it during certain times.

If all these Salmonids are alive, chances are you aren’t.

What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?

When the original Splatoon came out, it was a hard sell at a game that didn’t seem to warrant a day one, full price purchase. After having my go, it was easier to understand why Nintendo decided to back this title.

Splatoon 2 retains everything that made the first one amazing. Gameplay mechanics have only been improved. The weapon and clothing choices are aplenty and worth checking everyday if there happens to be some shoes with a particular skill you want. Teaming up with friends and taking on League Battles is so satisfying. The Switch serves as a great platform for this game and eight-player local play is a whole new experience.

Despite all of these great things that have been carried over, there are still some negatives that were carried over as well. Not being able to swap weapons and coordinate with your team is frustrating. Trying to enjoy games with friends take longer than it should in 2017. Nintendo’s online service is abysmal for a game that would thrive if given a better online option. So many little nuisances that seem like they could be solved with easy fixes make this game fall short of perfection. This is where the game sometimes feels like it could’ve had the “deluxe” treatment done better.

That being said, Splatoon 2 is, without a doubt, a must-have for any Nintendo Switch owner. The Inklings and the world of Inkolopis are easy to fall in love with and I have yet to miss a visit since launch. The gameplay is simple enough that casual gamers can pick it up but at higher ranks it can be very competitive. Nintendo needs to make adjustments and patch those small issues, but Splatoon 2 is still the game to be playing this summer.

Date published: 08/10/2017
4 / 5 stars

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