Two years after the original Splatoon made its splash on the Wii U do we see the sequel to Nintendo’s answer to the shooter genre. Sadly, Splatoon launched on the Wii U, a system that died before it could even get started, leaving those without the system miss out.
What came as a surprise to many gamers, myself included, was Nintendo was developing a sequel to Splatoon and it would arrive not long after launch of Nintendo’s latest console; I expected a port in line with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but instead, we got a proper sequel. Nintendo is one of the few companies who have been able to successfully take a genre and weave it into something original.
After a brief tutorial that brings you up to speed on the controls, you’re brought to Inkopolis, the central hub of Splatoon 2. A lot has changed in the two years since the original game, fan favourites Callie and Marie, who are in-game idols are gone and are now replaced by Pearl and Marina. The hub has shops to buy clothing, guns, and the area has been updated to reflect the sequel.
Controls are tight and responsive my biggest gripe is the motion controls – using them didn’t sit right, and luckily you can turn them off.
The solo campaign has been given an upgrade featuring a robust single player campaign that allows you to control an inkling, a half human, half squid character who can shift between forms at will, switch to a squid to absorb more ink for your weapons and move faster, attack in your human form. With Octo Canyon, the game’s campaign has you joining up with one half of the Sister Squad to look for the other, and you, as Agent 4 must find her location while battling Octolings as well as searching for the Zapfish.
The original Splatoon featured a weak campaign that limited weapon variety and rehashing levels. Nintendo paid close attention to responses, as with Splatoon 2 you’re getting a heartier serving of levels mixed in with better weapon variety. Some levels are locked to certain weapons, and others force you to try out weapons you would possible skip out on. Boss fights are fun and chaotic, and will test your skill. It’s within the campaign I became acclimated to the mechanics of Splatoon 2 and I’m better off in multiplayer.
Speaking of multiplayer, this is where the Splatoon 2 is at its best. I don’t think this series would work anywhere else but a Nintendo console. Turf Wars is where you’ll find yourself, with two teams of four trying to cover the map in their respective color in ink. You’ll be less inclined to attack others and instead, focus on map possession, something I find to be missing from many other titles.
To unlock the best of the best weapons and gear, you will need to build your rank up, as many items are tied to your rank. The more you play online, you will soon find yourself able to join Ranked and League battles. In Ranked, Turf Wars, Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Rainmaker are available to play. With League, expect to play two hour matches of Ranked games amongst the most dedicated players. Each mode offers a reprieve of the campaign and offers a fully competitive area to flourish.
Being a sequel, Nintendo did well by adding more weapons, including Splat Dualies, Flingza Roller, Goo Tuber, Dapple Dualies, Clash Blaster, and Splat Brella. As I mentioned above, to access these new weapons you need to play the game. I found myself sticking to the Splat Dualies, mixed in with a rocket launcher as my sub weapon. The inclusion of each new weapons gives me hope of seeing even wackier weapons to come in the coming months.
What better way to test said new weapons than the popular mode Salmon Run! Salmon Run is an entirely new horde-based mode that has been advertised heavily in the months leading to release. In this mode, teams of up to four will go against wave after wave of Salmonids. Defeating a Salmonid will drop a Golden Egg, which need to be returned to a center basket on the map. The end goal is to survive each wave whilst filling up your basket with Golden Eggs.
I’m not sure what Nintendo was thinking when they decided to forego voice chat through the Switch, instead you’re forced to download two apps, the Nintendo Switch Online app, and SplatNet2. To get voice, or arrange a private match, you need to get the Online app and sync it up to your system. It’s a terrible idea, and so far, at the time of this review, the entire system is a mess. I can’t begin to understand the archaic decisions Nintendo makes on their products, but, it’s hurting them, and is a big enough reason for me that I will never primarily game on their systems; don’t add additional steps to a process that doesn’t need it, especially as both Xbox and PlayStation offer native voice chat.
Two core experience in Splatoon 2 has kept me invested in its future, with a heavy serving of ink and humor, Splatoon 2 will be on the minds of many for the foreseeable future. If Nintendo follows the right path, the series will flourish far better than it did on the Wii U. Bringing a new franchise to a new console isn’t without its gambles but with addictive gameplay and enough weapons and gear to unlock, Splatoon 2 has a positive year in its road map. If you played the original and found it wasn’t for you, this won’t be either as it’s more of the same formula. As a sequel, it is everything you would want with Nintendo addressing many of the faults found two years ago, and more.