When I originally judged Nintendo for its lackluster of titles upon the launch of the Nintendo Switch I think I felt justified in saying so. Sure we got a Zelda and a Mario Kart within a few months (Mario Kart being just a rerelease). The important thing to note here however is that one game that was announced in the launch year was one that I really couldn’t wait to play. Yes, Splatoon 2. I like many other Wii U owners were really desperate for games towards the end of its lifecycle so once Splatoon released, it was a breath of fresh air. It was a fun and original 3rd person shooter with more character in one map than there was in the entirety of Call of Duty. Does Splatoon 2 hold up to the standards set by the original? Is it squid enough to make this kid happy? Let’s find out!
(I’M WALKING ON PAINT!!!!! WOOOOAAAAHHHH!)
Much like any typical 3rd person online multiplayer shooter, story is pretty much the last thing that gets any focus. In the same vein Splatoon 2 feels extremely similar. The original Splatoon had a kind of tutorial mode that happened to have a story, and Splatoon 2 is just about the same. You are again going to be recruited to save the great zapfish. You are going to do this in a wide variety of levels with a good setup for how to play the game. The thing of it is though is there isn’t a whole lot of content here. One of the major quips and qualms people had with the original was a lack of content overall. A nice big single player would have really brought this to life.
The single player mode will most likely only take you a few hours at most, but it’s short manner really does it no favors. There are a lot of interesting ideas in the game that just feel like they too short-lived. Some missions are a blast to play and really show how innovative this entire concept is. I love that the multiplayer is about whoever paints the most, but I love how the single player takes that idea and flips it. Yes the campaign is all about eliminating the bad guys, it’s just too short-lived and still feels like an after thought. For a console that is supposed to be able to be taken on the go, not having a constant mode to play outside of an online world is a huge bummer.
(Honestly well designed levels, it’s just too short of an experience)
One thing Splatoon 2 does have in spades though is some really addictive gameplay. If you have played the first game then you relatively know what you are in for here. Questionably named guns and brushes that spray paint everywhere. Splatoon is one part shooter and one part paint simulator. It’s not about killing the other team, but rather about keeping control of areas by utilizing paint. The main mode you will be playing is Turf War, which is by far the best mode. In Turf War a group of 8 players (teams of 4) go up against one another in a single arena. Your goal is to pain the entire arena your color. Enemy kid squids can paint over your color so it’s your job to be the best….THE BEST THAT EVER WAS!!!!! TO PAINT IT ALL IS MY QUEST!!!!! TO PAINT IS MY CAUSEEEE!!!!! SPLATOOON!!!!!
(GOTTA PAINT IT ALLL!!!! SPLATOON!)
Needless to say this is the entire point of Splatoon 2. You paint the level while eliminating the enemy to ensure that your color reigns supreme. So now we get into the nitty-gritty. You have supers just like before which you get for painting a certain amount of points. These supers allow you to grow a jetpack and rocket launcher, maybe even paint armor and even the ability to send out mini-roombas who explode paint. The amount of variety here is great and it’s a total blast, but if you played the original and put a lot of time into it, be warned, this is going to feel oddly familiar.
One reason I say this is because of how limiting the game feels in the beginning. You have to actually reach level 10 in the online multiplayer before anything matters. You can’t play the other ranked modes or even get decent clothing until that point. This means that the first few hours in the game are going to be a tad bit grindy, and by a tad bit, I mean a lot-a-bit. Reaching level 10 is going to take you several hours, it took me about 5-6 hours, but a lot of it is due to the restrictions Splatoon 2 puts on you. This is where the gameplay get’s a tad bit irritating.
(Not you though Gurl, you good)
First off there is no way for you to switch gear between matches. This limitation means that if you are on a winning team but your current weapon isn’t a good fit for that map, you have to leave that team. For some boggling reason you cannot switch weapons in-between matches, you actually have to go back to matchmaking to change-up your gear. This oversight is weird and just feels like something that should have been in there from the beginning. That and also the fact that the game limits the content you see from the very beginning. One of my least favorite aspects from the original Splatoon was that you only played on 2 maps for around 2 hours.
This is of course back in sequel. So I hope you learn to like a certain map for a while, because that will be the only 2 maps you have for a while. I understand that they are trying to make it feel like there is a ton of content and levels, but I would really like to have access to everything level wise. Making certain levels locked behind rank mode or even certain game types would be fine to. I just don’t like the fact that in the beginning while you are grinding your rank up that it feels like a grind. It’s not fun and its bad design. The multitude of problems the original game had are still here in its sequel and it feels like a bad joke.
(Well okay this problem is definitely worse…..)
I loved the original game, but when it comes time to release a sequel I would think that our complaints and problems with the original would have been heard. A better party system, ability to change weapons in-between matches, multiple map selections, more than just one game mode for the first 7 hours of the game. It’s simple things like this that just make you go what. Sure the game is a blast, but the grind really does get to you faster than need be. Just know that if you played the original don’t expect anything quite that new out of the gameplay. There are new guns and clothing options, but this is much more of a re-release than a proper sequel.
(All around me are familiar faces….worn out places…worn out faces….)
Splatoon 2 is an absolutely gorgeous game. It’s cool to watch, it’s fun to play and most importantly it’s not a gore filled murder mayhem simulator. It’s one game that I know if my daughter is watching I don’t have to worry too much about. I just ran over a kid with a roller brush, he just bursts into paint. It’s all in good, not so clean, fun. In fact my wife even sat and watched me play for a little while. It’s fun just to see you cover the entire area with paint. The characters are what really bring it to life for me though.
Much like the original the cast of characters here are extremely fun and inviting. You get to customize your own Squid Kid and it allows for you to impart some kind of character onto them. Sure this isn’t character customization like in Mass Effect, but it’s a blast nonetheless. In fact getting new gear and new load-outs is just one way that you feel unique in this world. Seeing your characters winning smile while you brush away the enemies paint is just a great feeling.
(Let me paint you a picture)
This is a game that will look good for years to come, my only real complaint here comes in the way of weapons. I wish the weapons all looked a little bit more different. Most of them are the same colors and I wish that certain weapon combinations looked different. For example there is the paint roller and the carbon roller. The carbon roller lets out less paint when you attack, but it makes you faster. The problem is that as a player I can’t tell if the enemy has that roller or not, meaning it affects the gameplay. If I don’t know how to approach an enemy it really does create a problem.
With a carbon roller I know I can be more direct whereas with a paint roller I know to take my time and plan accordingly. Either some color differences or even a striped pole on one of them would make a huge difference. This is also present in dual wielded guns or even the main machine guns in the game. That’s not to say they don’t look good in the first place, but rather there needs to be more unique aspects to the weapons so that I can tell on the fly what they are using and how to answer that weapon. Needless to say the game is beautiful and is an absolute blast to look at.
(OH LORD!!! THE INKLINGS!!!! THE INKLINGS!!!!!!!!!!)
The Final Verdict-
The last thing I have to say about Splatoon 2 is that I absolutely love the game. I’m glad that it is getting a 2nd breath, but as a fan of the original, I’m not a huge fan. I feel like more needed to be done for this title. I didn’t feel like I was playing a sequel, I just felt like this was the first one all over again. Sure there are new characters on the screen and I still love when I’m battling for team mayo while fighting against someone who thinks ketchup is better. It’s just missing content and some fixes that really need to elevate this game to where it needs to be. Nintendo has gaming gold on their hand, they just need to take some time and get those fixes in there.
For most people though this is going to be their first exposure to the series and for those people this game is absolute gaming gold. If you’re someone like me who spent over 100 hours on the original, the problems from the original and limitations are still there. So today I give Splatoon 2 the score down below, but it would be higher if you were someone new to this game. It is an absolute blast and is Nintendo at its best.