Splatoon 2 Review
Not many games entice me to be online often like Splatoon 2 when it comes to Nintendo products. Even with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, I generally spend way more time offline with friends locally, than online with strangers! I suck at first person shooters and I play adventure titles almost exclusively. But there is something unique about Splatoon that makes me come back again and again, and I’m not sure I can put my finger on one reason why. Whether it’s the online modes, Salmon Run, or the single player campaign, there is always something to do in Splatoon 2!
Although we do feel fairly confident in our 9.0 score, treat it as tentative while we await more online interactions after the game is live, including the phone application for chatting!
Single Player Experience
The single player experience in Splatoon 2 is much better than the original title, in my opinion. With 5 areas to explore, and 32 levels to complete, the story mode will take you a number of hours to complete, and even longer if you attempt to get all the collectibles!
The story is interesting enough for a game that is primarily focused on multiplayer, and the great writing throughout is enough to push you through until the end. The writers behind Splatoon 2 deserve a lot of credit for the amazing one liners the various characters are sure to spout off. While some may think the gameplay mechanics are most important, in this instance, I feel writing is equally as important.
All of the regular multiplayer Splatoon mechanics are on display here though, with a number of unique experiences solely in the single player portion of the game. You will often use your gun to splat ink in specific locations to complete puzzles, such a inking a rolled up walkway to unravel it. I won’t talk about other puzzles as it is much more fun figuring them out for yourself!
There are a variety of enemies to take down as well although outside of the boss fights – which are fairly unique – the enemies aren’t extremely difficult. In fact, they are more of a annoyance when attempting to get faster level completion times. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this mode, and although I’m not sure I’ll return to play it again, it was a worthwhile experience.
It should be note that Splatoon 2 has no local multiplayer option, which is a bit of of a downer for those who can’t, or would prefer not, play online. I’m not that type of person, so it doesn’t bother me much, but it is worth noting.
The Multiplayer modes are where Splatoon 2 shines. I was expressing to friend of the site, Abdallah, that I found myself stuck in the one-more-game syndrome, which is the mark of a quality title. Although finding people to play with was difficult at times since it was limited to media with the game, when there were enough players the modes worked flawlessly. To keep things fresh, the game automatically generates two new map options every six hours or so. This keeps the match making focused on a few maps at a time. I thought I wouldn’t like this approach – since I always believe more content is better – but after a while the format grew on me.
There are both casual online games were you can worry about gaining experience and earning coins, as well as ranked mode for those looking to play in a highly competitive arena. I’ll stick to casual matches myself, but I’m glad to see options for hardcore players.
The only multiplayer mode I’m unenthused about is Salmon Run, and it has nothing to do with the mode itself, but rather the availability. The mode is fun, especially if you get the opportunity to link up with friends online. Taking on increasingly difficult waves of enemies is a lot of fun, and trying to get one step further is always exciting!
Unfortunately, Salmon Run online is only available at specific times, like Splatfest events. The only other way to play Salmon Run is locally, and even then you would need multiple Nintendo Switch units and multiple copies of Splatoon 2. For a mode that is as amazing as Salmon Run – and as a new experience for Splatoon 2 – I wish you could at least hook up with Nintendo Switch friends online to experience the mode whenever you choose.
Whichever mode you decide to play, controlling your inklings is incredibly easy. Unlike other shooter titles with complicated control schemes, Nintendo has done well to make sure Splatoon is as simple, as possible. Check out the image below for all the details on controlling your character in Splatoon 2! We highly recommend the Nintendo Pro Controller for this experience!
Gear and Weapons
Earning experience and money in online modes is essential to making your character bigger and better. Experience is required to unlock better weapons and better gear, while the money will be important for purchasing those weapons and gear. Thankfully, there are tons of weapons to choose from in Splatoon 2 that cover a gambit of essential uses. There are weapons for sniping, and ones with high rates of fire. There are tools that cover lots of area in ink, and weapons that can hit far distances. There’s even a bucket! How you want to play will decide which weapon you choose.
Each weapon, as well as each price of gear, is upgradeable as you earn weapon specific experience. Each weapon and gear item can have a number to upgrades added to it, which will be random when unlocked. This includes being able to have more ink at your disposal, increasing your firing rate, or in the case of gear, allowing you to swim faster or jump higher. There are tons of different options, and having the correct weapons and gear is as important as having the correct enhancements attached to each weapon.
Part of deciding your load-out will also depend on secondary weapons and your special weapon. Secondary weapons are tied to specific guns, so sometimes you might like the secondary weapon, but not the primary. These secondary and special weapons can be long and short range bombs, homing missile shots, and much more. Seeing what is available, and what might be best for your play style, can take time to figure out. Although you can test weapons out ahead of a real match, you won’t fully know what you like until experimenting against real enemies.
Other Fun Experiences
The fun in Splatoon 2 isn’t just linked to matches online or playing through the single player campaign. Nintendo has packed a few other – minor – experiences in that will enhance you experience even more, including a rhythm based music mini game that will allow you to not only listen, but match beats with all the musical tracks in Splatoon 2. There is also some great amiibo support. Once you find the amiibo stand in the plaza, you can scan in an amiibo that will perform a number of important functions for you. First, the amiibo will act like a USB drive, allowing you to save your character – gear and load outs included – to the amiibo to revivce within other people’s Splatoon 2 games. If you are getting into the competitive scene at your local gaming store, this will be an important feature.
Each Splatoon amiibo – whether from the original title on Wii U, or any of the new Splatoon amiibo released for Splatoon 2- will also net you three pieces of unique – and sometimes rare – clothing items. Not every item will be available the second you load you amiibo into the game, so make sure to check back once your level is higher! Besides these two great features, players can also pose with their amiibo for pictures around the plaza itself, and can upload those pictures as they desire. Like in Breath of the Wild, these pictures are stored on your Nintendo Switch system for you to view at any time.
There is tons to like about Splatoon 2, and when I think of this game in terms of the pure fun factor, it’s easily top of the list for me, across all platforms. No other game this year – including the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – has brought me back so many times to engage with friends online. It took only a few months for me to ditch Breath of the Wild for other, newer games. With Splatoon 2, however, I think I might be playing this one for years.
Many thought Splatoon 2 was just a carbon copy of the original, but on a new system. I can vouch now that this is not the case. There is enough new and exciting content in Splatoon 2 to justify having it’s own release, and Nintendo has promised lots of free DLC in the future. If you own a Nintendo Switch and want a competitive but fun game you can take online, you don’t need to look much further than this release. We highly recommend it!