Crash Bandicoot Beats Splatoon 2 in UK Charts – with a Catch

With the launch of the splatastic, inky shooter Splatoon 2, many thought that it would almost most defintely be at the top of the charts without a second thought. This, however, was not the case – at least for the UK charts. It appears that Crash Bandicoot, on the Playstation 4 family of systems, has denied the shooter a swim to the top spot. It comes as a slight shock, despite the difference in sales only equating to approximately 680 in terms of physical purchases. You must look at the reason why this may be the case, though, and why it was beaten to the top spot because it appears that there may be a slight catch.
Firstly, this is only the judgement based on physical sales, not digital. Considering the fact that the Switch E-shop crashed due to the overflowing activity on the night of release and the download size was only a minimally impacting three gigabytes suggests that digital sales may have been a huge contributor the overall sales. While we all know and love Crash and his fantastic games, it’s unlikely that digital sales would be quite as high as Splatoon 2 since it has been on the market for several weeks – therefore most people who wanted to purchase the game digitally have already done so. This would be a very interesting aspect of the sales to look at and compare to the UK charts, especially with the sales having quite the influence this time.

At the release of Splatoon 2, it appeared as though Sony predicted the large intake of inkling fans within the UK and tried to diffuse the situation through the injection of more physical stock. Those waiting for a physical copy could now get their hands on one, which would heavily impact upon the shooter’s overall sales. Not to mention just how large an iron fist Sony dominates the European market, so these sales were near inevitable. It was the perfect opportunity to release more stock, taking Nintendo’s biggest seller for the summer and repressing it in the charts.

Now, just take another look at the list. Yes, Grand Theft Auto 5 is in the top three spot. Have you noticed anything strange about the positions of the Nintendo Switch games? Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has sold approximately 60% more this week than in the previous week, and Breath of the Wild has moved back into the top ten at sixth place. This gives a strong indication that there have been more shipments of systems sold and most potential buyers have also attached an existing game to their order, rather than buying the sequel to a fresh IP. Don’t be surprised if Splatoon 2 tops the charts next week, as more players finally get the opportunity to purchase it.

All in all, it has been a great week for gaming. Crash Bandicoot has done remarkably well and shown that older, more nostalgic games really have a place in our hearts. If this isn’t a solid enough reason to reinnovate and make another installment in the Crash Bandicoot franchise, then there is little hope of finding one. This truly is a great achievement, although it neglects the brilliance and potential of the colourful shooter. Either way, both games are incredible and both deserve to be at the top spot.


Splatoon 2 Review – The Freshest, Most Addictive Shooter 

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:

Splatoon 2 – Top 10 Tips to be the Freshest Squid in Town!

With the release of Splatoon 2 on the inky horizon, here is a compiled list of the top ten tips to be the best in preparation for all this fantastic shooter has to offer. Without further ado:

Tip 1 – Find Your Weapon of Choice

This can be quite a difficult one in the early game because you’ll most likely be inking turf using a splattershot of some form, but will really help in the later stages of the online, competitive scene. Try to experiment with all the weapons available, whether that be a slosher, a roller or even a blaster. Always attempt to change something if it isn’t fitting your playstyle and don’t be afraid to try something completely different, but try to do this within the confines of turf war matches that don’t hinder your ranks. Within the new game mode Salmon Run, you will also be able to choose from a variety of weapon types so never be hesitant to try them out. If there’s a particular sub weapon (such as the splat bombs, toxic mist, point sensors) then find the weapon you like that also has them attached, as well as your special weapons. Try everything and find the weapon of your choice.

Tip 2 – Use Crusty Sean’s Meal Tickets

To those of you who aren’t familiar with the work of Crusty Sean in Splatoon 2, he is the lobster creature in the van from the original game. He essentially provides meal tickets to boost the experience points and currency earned in battle, which can prove to be especially helpful in the early stages of the game. This may require some work in the single player beforehand, but it’s more than worth the investment. 

Tip 3 – Consider Motion Controls

This is something that may not be appreciated by everyone, that’s completely understandable. However, Splatoon 2’s primary controller option is the use of motion controls to aim your reticle to ink the turf, which has been proven to be ever so slightly more responsive and accurate than the standard analog sticks. That’s not to say that you couldn’t play absolutely happily and perfectly with analog sticks – some of the best players still do – but it can put you at a slight disadvantage so always keep your mind open to motion controls. Give it a go, see of it is the playstyle you prefer and progress from there. Always, always, always keep an open mind.

Tip 4 – Don’t Rush Into Battle

A fairly self explanatory tip, but a crucial one nonetheless. Many players enter the world of Inkopolis Square with the aim of winning matches, believing that the only way of doing such is to play an offensive strategy. This, however, can be counter intuitive. While it can push your opposition back into their safety zone, it can most certainly leave you open to any incoming attacks if you’re disconnected from your team’s efforts in battle. Don’t rush into a decision, try to scan your terrain and analyse the situation before committing to anything. The last thing you want is for your team to be handicapped because of your premature decisions.

Tip 5 – Always Ink Your Surroundings

This applies to all game modes available, but seems most fitting for the ranked matches. Whereas in Turf War, inking is an absolute priority, this is not the case in ranked matches necessarily. It is all about completing the objective – from riding a tower to a destination or covering a particular zone in your colour. This does not mean, however, that inking is unnecessary and doesn’t need to be thought of. If you ink your surroundings, you’re pushing your enemies further away and also making it particularly easy to access larger parts of the map. Make sure to ink when you have the spare time available.

Tip 6 – Don’t Blame Your Teammates for Your Loss

As something that regularly happened within the original game, it comes as no surprise that this will most likely be a feature of people’s temperment coming into the sequel. If you lose a match, it is a collective effort, just as if you won a match. It could be argued that there are stronger players that will dominate in particular matches, but that does not mean that one person carried the team. This shows that one person helped to lead, while the others helped to pave the way for that success. Even if you’re particularly competitive, don’t be a sore loser and blame the rest of your team for the failures you made as a collective group. 

Tip 7 – Play Salmon Run Whenever Available

As a completely new mode, Salmon Run provides a horde mode experience similar to that of many other shooters. Where this differs is that you will get particular rewards, such as new items of exclusive clothing and Crusty Sean meal tickets, for playing and succeeding in this mode. This really gives a great incentive to join the Grizzco team and get splatting those Salmonid creatures. If you see it available to play, be sure to at least check it out.

Tip 8 – Predict Your Allies and Enemies

If you’re not playing alongside friends, voice chatting is not an option so being able to predict the movements and thoughts of your allies and enemies really is a professional skill in this game. Always be aware of the map (by pressing X), where the colour is changing and where your teammates are positioned on the map. It is absolutely crucial to understand the patterns of their playstyle in order to be able to implement your own style. As you progress further in the game and begin to invest time into the online scene, you will become more accustomed to this behaviour to a point that it will become somewhat second nature. If you can predict your enemies, you can always outsmart them in battle.

Tip 9 – Conserve Ink and Know When You’re Fighting a Losing Battle

This is possibly the most important. Try to keep your ink tank relatively high at all times and try to avoid it being completely used, otherwise you will be spending too much time waiting for a refill than actually doing your inking duties. If it helps your playstyle, equip clothing that has the ability of Ink Saver so that you can conserve your ink even more efficiently. In addition, always know when to retreat. You should know that some battles can’t be won and that no matter how much you try, it would only result in an equalising splat at best – a near pointless endeavour. Try to avoid these incidents unless you are confident that you have what it takes to initiate against your enemy. All this could culminate in a faster special weapon and even higher points.

Tip 10 – Have Fun!

I can’t stress this one enough. When playing this game, have fun! Don’t take it all too seriously. There are a plentitude of options to play casually – be that the single player campaign or the turf war online matches – so there should be very little time where you want to turn off the system or worse. Just relax, enjoy the experience and have fun with it.

Well, there are all ten top tips for those of you preparing for the release of Splatoon 2. Which one was your favourite? Until next time, I shall see you on the battlefields!

Nintendo Switch Online App – How Does it Work?

For those of you wondering, the Nintendo Switch Online app is now available to download on both the Google Play Store and Apple Store ahead of the release of Splatoon 2 on July 21st. It has remained an enigma as to how this app was ever going to function, until this point in time where we have finally gotten some concrete evidence.

This app will function in a way that enables Switch owners to voice chat with friends on particular games – though it will only be available on Splatoon 2 at launch – and invite them into game lobbies using a smart device. It will also allow for players to access their in game statistics, character attire and enable them to purchase clothing using their virtual currency to send to their Switch when they open up the game, all exclusively to the sub section of the app ‘Splatnet 2’. This is a really interesting and innovative idea, especially the ability to access Splatoon data when away from your system, but is it a practical solution or is it a convoluted mess that makes a simple feature feel tedious?

Well, it’s a bit of both. For some aspects, most notably the divergence of power and battery drainage away from the Switch, this really makes it a practical solution that feels both original and genuinely intriguing. However, the fact that your smart device has to be turned on at all times and cannot be multitasked with becomes quite a hard pill to swallow. This added onto the somewhat complicated requirements and extensive use of wires just to voice chat – not that many players actually use it – just has to make you wonder why you wouldn’t choose a better, more desirable version of a similar app like Discord or even Skype. When there are many better alternatives, it becomes all the more difficult to accept the whole package that this particular app provides, especially considering the momentum Nintendo has been developing with their fantastic marketing and sales of the Switch. 

One thing has to be considered, however. This app is not the final, conclusive version; there will be many updates and revisions before the paid service releases next year. This means that there is still a lot of time for improvement and development in this area. Similarly to how the Switch was rather barebones at launch, this app looks to provide a temporary solution for the online heavy Splatoon 2 release. They’ve even added a suggestions and feedback area in the app, so it shows that Nintendo are looking to hear from the players to help get this application to its fullest potential. 

Though, the fact still remains that this app is a rather complicated endeavour for the simplicity that should be voice chat and messaging with friends. Ever since they announced that voice chat would be accessed via an online application, it appeared as though they were trying to dismiss too much conversation or updates about it, showing that their confidence in this area may not be of equal standards as the Switch itself. Either way, only time will tell how well this app goes in near future and beyond. 
Thank you for reading this. Stay tuned for a Splatoon 2 review tomorrow, on launch day!