After 24 hours with Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch I wanted to give a opinions on this wacky and fun game. Full disclosure, I never owned a Wii U and so never played the original Splatoon so this is my first foray into the world inhabited by squid kids and it is a blast.
Splatoon 2 Consists of a hub area filled with avatars of other players that have short messages if you walk up to them. This hub area branches off onto each of the activities that you can do in Splatoon 2. These activities include: A single player campaign, Multiplayer lobbies, local multiplayer (although requires more than one switch), Salmon run (the new coop mode) or shopping. Other than local multiplayer I have been able to give all of these modes a go as I will detail below.
I wanted to get the bad out of the way first as this game is really good. The hub area and some associated game design choices weren’t so good. The hub area of Splatoon 2 essentially serves as a menu screen that you can walk around. It is a nice idea but the frame rate in this area is horrendous. Fortunately the frame rate in every other part of the game is stable and good.
This area is also home to billboard screens that are zoomed into every few hours announcing a change in the maps used in the Multiplayer game modes. This could be made far smoother rather than being a 30 – 60 second video that plays exactly the same each time.
Fortunately this is the only part of the game I have found to be annoying and it isn’t really part of the game. You can avoid using any of the hub area by just pressing X on your controller and up pops a 2D menu that lets you go to any of the shops or activities.
This is a great place to get to know the games weapons and mechanics. The Single player consists of a series of platforming levels with enemies scattered through them. There is some story to do with you being recruited as Agent 4 and have to save some things that look like demented rubber ducks but I was having too much fun to pay much attention to that.
The single player was also my first experience of Splatoon 2 gameplay and boy is it fun. The mix of fast paced platforming that relies on you covering walls and floor in paint is incredibly satisfying. The game also looks amazing, I only use my switch in handheld mode but this game plays excellently on the 7inch 720p screen.
The single player lasts around 6 – 7 hours, has platforming levels, boss battles and lets you try out all the games weapons whilst getting use to the unique gameplay mechanics. I would highly recommend at least playing the single player for the first hour or two to get a grips with how the game works.
The shops in Splatoon 2 let you buy new weapons, hats, t-shirts and shoes. Each weapon has a series of attributes whilst also dictating your second ability (for example grenades) and special ability (for example homing missles or ink rain) in multiplayer. All the other clothes then give you an attribute bonus such as running or jump speed or even faster special ability charge time. When you use your clothes more you can unlock more, randomly chosen, attributes.
All the clothes in Splatoon 2 are bought with money gained from the multiplayer mode. Don’t worry though you get plenty of money to try lots of equipment out, but you won’t be able to afford everything. This makes it a good idea to try things out in single player.
This is where the game really shines. The competitive multiplayer is split into ‘Regular battle’, ‘Ranked Battle’, and ‘League battle’. I will start by saying that the multiplayer works flawlessly from my experience. Where games like mario kart 8 would disconnect or generally have connectivity issues Splatoon performed excellently, games were found quickly, players dropping out was a very rare occurrence and there were never any frame rate or lag issues of any kind.
To begin with you will need to get your level up doing regular battles. These are always turf war. A competitive game mode that puts two teams of 4 against one another to cover the map in as much ink as possible. The game lasts 3 minutes and the maps rotate every 2 hours (2 maps as a time).
Then Ranked and league battles allow access to more game modes such as rainmaker and tower control that are fun spins on capture the flag and control point game modes respectively.
The multiplayer is undoubtably where Splatoon 2 shines most. All the maps allow you to make great use of the movement, weapons and abilities.
Salmon run is a 4vsAI coop mode. This game mode can be described as wacky fun. Ugly looking salmon of different varieties invade the shores of a small island that you have to defend for three waves. During this time eight different boss Salmonids can invade the shores and the water level will rise and fall making each game different.
This gamemode was great fun to play as a break between multiplayer games however I do hope they release more maps and enemy types. Salmon run can be played with friends or randomers.
Splatoon 2 suffers from a couple of issues in my opinion. The hub, only two mutliplayer maps being available in each game mode at any one time and the lack of voice chat without a smartphone pull the game down somewhat. Fortunately the unique and smooth gameplay are more than enough to make up for those issues (two of which may be sorted in future updates).
I would highly recommend Splatoon 2 for those interested in weird and wacky fun. This is a third person shooter with platforming elements is the most fun I have had in an online shooter since the original modern warfare on PC.