Being Nintendo’s Summer seller, Splatoon 2 has a lot to prove and a lot show to the many people who never experienced the original. In this ink-redibly fun and addictive sequel to the shooter, features from the original are taken and improved almost in every aspect. Whether you’re looking for a solid single player experience with some challenging bosses, or whether you’re looking to play competitively online, this game has all eventualities accomodated for. It truly is the freshest, most addictive shooter on the market currently.
Where this game truly shines and should be greatly appreciated is its fantastic game mechanics and overall fun factor. There is a plentitude of rewards to be unlocked and achieved – from gaining new weapons after level two to playing the latest mode Salmon Run to earn special gear – and this makes the whole gaming experience all the more enjoying and gives a great incentive to playing all the various game modes. When you begin to level up, you will be able to equip all new clothing and use completely different weapons that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to previously – a staple of any good game in the genre. Matches are particularly short (a turf war match concludes in three minutes) so it makes for perfect pick up and play action without detracting from the overall gameplay and enjoyment factor. It all works in harmony and soon enough you will get absorbed into the immersive world that is this game.
While the game doesn’t have a huge amount of content in regards to stages and game modes, there is still more than enough to keep you entertained because of the nature of the game. Whereas many other shooters solely rely on you targeting your opposition, Splatoon 2 tries to focus more on gaining turf and being able to move freely which provides completely different situations and experiences with every match played. It accomodates for all different audiences and players; for those who want an entertaining, collectable based single player campaign, there is Octo Canyon. For those looking for a more online based game, there are various different options to try and experiment with. Sure, the game heavily focuses on its robust online infrastructure, but that doesn’t mean that the single player campaign is any less worth the investment of time.
One issue to be stated is the lack of ‘couch co-op’ game modes, something that was also present within the original. It’s not too significant as you’ll be particularly immersed in all the other modes, but it would have been nice to see some split screen action instead of having to buy two systems just so a member of your family or your friend could join you. The opportunity was most possible within the Salmon Run game mode as you work as a team to fend of the Salmonid creatures. Omce again, it’s nothing particularly major, but this could have provided an even greater appeal and targetted an even larger audience. If Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Arms can both provide split screen co-op play, why can’t Splatoon 2?
The single player, as stated previously, provides a good length campaign that essentially teaches you the basic game mechanics and gives you a strong insight into the primary weapon classes (such as the splattershot, roller and charger) so that you can be prepared for the online game. It also rewards you with Crusty Sean meal tickets, which can greatly improve your efficiency with levelling up and gaining currency. The overall campaign is particularly original, innovative and just shows how creative the development team can be with their ideas. Each boss has character and some form of depth in humour, making them just as funny as they are entertaining to battle. Every mission has two collectables: a sardine and a sea scroll. This adds a ton of replay value to the campaign and makes you want to spend the extra few minutes per mission to find them. All in all, the single player mode is one of the most entertaining, fun, addictive, immersive and original campaigns I’ve ever played.
The online infrastructure of the game – featuring voice chat, inviting friends and all the connections with the Nintendo Switch Online App and Splatnet 2 – is still in the early stages of development and feels like it needs more time to be fully fleshed out. It all feels rather convoluted and complicated to get it all to function correctly. While voice chat isn’t a necessity by any means, it’s a bit of a shame that the calling messages are rather limited to ‘this way’ and ‘booyah’. It becomes a little annoying when you can’t just signal your ally to a particular area and have to predict their movements. It will be very interesting to see this feature of the online later in the game’s life cycle, so this aspect won’t be affecting the overall grade as it could be changed and developed at a later date.
As for the performance, Splatoon 2 runs at a perfectly smooth and fluent 60 frames per second, with a dynamic resolution of 720p in handheld mode and 1080p in home console mode. It’s beautifully smooth to play and never drops a single frame, or at least from what I have experienced. While it does drop resolution in areas of particular action, it is very hardly noticeable and emphasises the importance of having the stable framrate instead. Furthermore, the game has some use of HD rumble, which is a nice and appreciated addition that mildly improves the game’s immersive quality.
In conclusion, Splatoon 2 is an original, innovative and particularly refreshing sequel that improvs upon the foundations of the original. From the single player campaign to the variously different online game modes, this shooter tailors to every player’s desires. It looks gorgeous on the handheld and performs beautifully in every match. Whilst the online voice chat and features may still be in the early stages and the lack of game modes for split screen play is apparent, the replay value and addictive nature provides a game that realy doesn’t feel like it needs anything else added to it. With regular updates and Splatfests incoming, this is sure to be a huge seller for months (maybe even years) to come. Splatoon 2 is the best, freshest and most creative shooter currently available and it really sets a precedent for the Switch’s quality lineup.
Splatoon 2 scores: