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Splatoon 2 Review – A Look Back

Does this sequel make a bigger splash than its original counterpart?

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History of Splatoon.

Splatoon initially came out on Nintendo Wii U in 2015. Following its E3 2014 showing, fans clamored over a new IP from Nintendo – a rare sight that had not been seen in many years. Despite the success of titles, like Pikmin, Rhythm Heaven, and several others, people wanted a new IP of the then-current generation. Offering a multiplayer shooter experience, Splatoon set itself apart from others of its genre. Its vibrant colors, fluid animation, and classic Nintendo charm had already won fans over. What separated it, though, was its unique mechanics. Keep in mind, our Splatoon 2 review will largely cover campaign and multiplayer modes together.

Splatoon 2

In addition to the shooting mechanics, players took control of an Inkling. These beings can transform into squids. What makes this special is your ability to shoot colored ink from your weapons and swim through it. For instance, modes, like Turf War, involved ending the round with the most colored ink favoring your own. Your ability to swim through ink involved a stealth and mobility mechanic not seen in other shooters. Plus, your weapons could include melee weapons, like the Roller and Inkbrush, for close-up action.

What is Splatoon 2 about?

The original Splatoon featured the action of inklings duking it out in arena matches, as well as a campaign mode. In Splatoon 2, however, much of that same action carries over. Featuring new modes for local multiplayer, the Switch’s portability allows players to group up together on their own consoles and set up their own battles. They could battle each other together or even take their group online. Moreover, the Switch’s Pro Controller now allows motion controls, an option not featured in the Wii U Pro Controller. I’ll get back to this part later.

Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2’s campaign story takes place several years after the original game. Featuring your new Inkling, you find Marie (Splatoon 1) hovering at a sewer. By pursuing her, she tells you about finding the missing Zapfish, lest Inkopolis be doomed. Christening you as Agent 4, you must go out into the world, a single-player mission. Involving platforming-based stages broken up into segments, you’ll be granted a variety of weapons to use in your missions. Much of the action involves platforming which includes combat against various Octarian enemies. The game will send you into five worlds, each with a boss battle at the end.

Splatoon 2

In addition to fighting and traversing platforming elements, you can also find special items, such as lore notes in each stage. They will uncover more of the backstory of the Splatoon realm. You can also use the funds you get to upgrade your weapons and buy new ones. Keep in mind the game limits this element to the single-player campaign. You’ll be able to buy plenty of weapons from Sheldon’s shop. That said, the story’s purpose is to acquaint players with the controls, tell the story, offer some creative levels, fight big bosses, and unlock lore involving the game.

What’s new from the first game?

As a sequel, not much looks changed at first. It runs on the same engine and looks largely the same. However, one of the notable changes is that the Switch Pro Controller now features motion control. It was until recently that I learned the importance of motion controls, something I took time to learn in the game’s campaign. The difference in aiming speed becomes noticeable after playing with them for a while. I cannot stress enough how important they are. Please use the campaign to test out motion controls for at least a few levels. Check out this video to learn more.

As the game’s sequel, the storyline is continued from the first. As mentioned earlier, Marie is pre-occupied. This means your new hosts are Off the Hook, Pearl and Marina! They now take over the opening updates, Splatfests, and the like. Meanwhile, your Inkling is now named Agent 4 and you discover Marie, of the Squid Sisters, asking you for help. In addition to finding the Zapfish, she also wants you to find her cousin, Callie.

Splatoon 2

What to expect from single and multiplayer experiences.

The story involves missions involving fighting Ocatarian soldiers, going from start to finish of a level, and so forth. Sheldon, the weapons owner from the first game, also wants you to test out his weapons. These will require you to learn new weapons. Fortunately, the stages are easy enough at first to give you time to learn them. I recommend upgrading the Hero Shot to max since you use it in the final battle. In addition, you’ll uncover various platforming elements not seen in multiplayer, such as rail grinding and rollers that expand outwards as you shoot them.

Splatoon 2

Lastly, the game continues to be updated. On a platform dedicated to portability and multiplayer experience, it’s easy to form a local group of players. Offline modes are now easily available for play. In addition, as mentioned earlier, this includes taking your party online. New weapons, hairstyles, outfits, characters, and modes await you, to include Salmon Run. You can look up the current list of updates in Splatoon 2 here!

What makes Splatoon 2 special?

Splatoon 2, and its first game, feature heavily on its unique style. Your characters are Inklings, who are squid people essentially. They speak in an indecipherable language and much of their writing resembles real-world letters. But it’s also largely in indecipherable Inkling language. Moreover, you can collect pieces of lore from various parts of the campaign mode to understand the story behind the characters and the history of the game’s world. Up-front, it’s just another brightly colored Nintendo game. But the lore of Splatoon is rich and it becomes interesting to piece the story together.

Splatoon 2

Another thing to consider is its music. While Splatoon is another Nintendo series with noteworthy music, its style is unlike any other. Featuring some hip-hop, electronica, and dance music, many of these are accompanied by the aforementioned inkling vocals.  While they don’t speak words, their vocals accompany the music quite well. Music is important in the world of Splatoon. Callie and Marie, as well as their Splatoon 2 counterparts, Pearl and Marina, are all dancers and singers. The latter pair, however, are even an MC and DJ duo. The final boss, DJ Octavio, also plays his own music. But the battle maps have some of the catchiest tunes you’ll ever hear, while the single player mode features some smooth beats to go with it.

Gameplay

Splatoon 2 offers a variety of modes. In addition to the story mode, you’re also introduced to a number of multiplayer modes. One such is called Salmon Run. This is basically fighting enemy wave after wave to collect Salmon Eggs from enemies. Your rewards vary from stat-boosting meal tickets to money, which you can collect to buy clothes and weapons with.

Splatoon 2

The bulk of your gameplay is centered around multiplayer modes. Turf War is your basic mode. 4v4 action, your color the stage with your ink and have the most ink over the turf by the end of the mode. Ranked Battle modes allow you to participate in Tower Control, Rainmaker, Clam Blitz and Splat Zones. Tower Control features you riding a tower to the enemy base, while Rainmaker is similar to capture-the-flag. The team that gets the Rainmaker to the enemy goal wins. Clam Blitz has you collecting clams and delivering them to the opponent’s base, while Splat Zones may be best described as similar to Territories in Halo. Establish dominance on enemy’s territory by holding the ground for the longest.

Splatoon 2

All modes allow you use any weapon you want. You have your standard guns, like Rifles and Dualies, the latter which let you roll in battle. Short-ranged attacks, like Slosher, function as your shotgun. Inkbrush and Roller are great close-range weapons that mark territory quickly.  You also have a sniper rifle, a gatling gun, and can use sub-weapons, like grenades and remote bombs. All weapons come with a variation at Sheldon’s shop. You can check the stats on each weapon and compare it to the other, which may have a different Ultimate attack, such as Tenta Missiles or Killer Wail.

Pros and Cons

Splatoon offers a wide variety of modes for players. While much of its core experience comes from online multiplayer, single player and local-multiplayer play a role in the enjoyability as well. Learning about the story is fun, while exploring levels and missions is more fun that you might initially think. Despite its fairly simple and mundane platforming mechanics, the stages themselves tend to evolve in ways that will challenge your approach. In a way, think Super Mario Galaxy. The game divides each level into multiple checkpoints that you fly to. In addition, each one comes with a different challenge, just like in Super Mario Galaxy.

Splatoon 2

It’s hard to find any true flaws in this game. If you have even an inkling of interest in this game, Splatoon 2 is the perfect addition to your Switch. Nintendo keeps the game frequently updated. Some of the older flaws, such as not being able to change equipment in the multiplayer lobby, were rectified. While you don’t have access to traditional voice chat, via mic, Nintendo has an app that allows added players to communicate with one-another. While it would be nice to have a headset and just communicate with everyone, perhaps this is a work in progress. As for playing with friends, it’s a simple measure featuring the Nintendo app on your smartphone.

Conclusion

Splatoon started off as a new Nintendo IP with a multiplayer shooter focus. Replacing bullets with ink, the method of travel became a creative way to take on shooters and work it into a Nintendo title. The unique characters, lore, music, and story all come together in a game that’s excellent for parties, gatherings, or even online battles. In fact, Splatoon 2 was big enough for Nintendo to host a world championship at E3 2018!

Splatoon 2

While I feel they could still add more to the online experience, such as easy voice chat off the console, it does everything right as a game for what it is. The multiple modes with rotating stages, the updates, the sense of humor, and balance updates keep Splatoon 2 looking fresh! The ability to take it with you also adds a layer of convenience that could not be replicated in the past title. The campaign stages are fairly easy for the most part, while the last world should give you a bit of a challenge.

If you’re new to the series, Splatoon 2 is the best place to hop on. Nintendo no longer updates the first title, and Splatoon 2 won’t leave players hanging on story too much. The game is simple, fun, and easy to get into, offering a layer of depth for players trying out their weapons, mobility, stealth tactics, and so forth. While I’m generally not a fan of shooters, Splatoon 2 managed to win me over. That said, I recommend it heavily. It’s an excellent game to play with friends and will likely continue to get improvements and tweaks as the game evolves more and more.

Splatoon 2

Thank you for reading our Splatoon 2 review! What did you love most in the game? Let us know in the comments below!

8.5
Great
Splatoon 2 Review – A Look Back
Splatting it up!
Splatoon 2 offers the same great action on the Wii U hit. Featuring new modes, new control styles, and its portability factor, it's bigger and better in every way. It's beginner-friendly and great for all ages. It's more than a unique shooter, thanks to its soundtrack, lore, and the weapons you use in the game. Any Nintendo fan will love Splatoon 2 and I strongly recommend getting it for your Switch!
Pros
Fun, varied multiplayer action.
Solid amount of weapons and gameplay styles.
Tons of lore.
Great music.
Cons
Could use headset support and in-game voice chat.
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