Throughout my middle school days up until today, I have always been a big fan of multiplayer shooters. I’ve put plenty of hours into all the major franchises, from Halo to Battlefield and Call of Duty. Here’s the problem with playing these games for the past 10 years or so: they’re all different games, but they all have very obvious similarities. From identical game modes to similar movement abilities, to carbon copies of guns from one game to another, everything starts to feel a bit samey after a while.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been waiting for a new shooter to grab my attention and bring a breath of fresh air into the multiplayer shooter realm, and Splatoon 2 has been the answer to my prayers.
Having never owned a Wii U, I never got the opportunity to play the original Splatoon. In fact, with the advertising and all the bright colours, and ‘kid-ish’ looking characters I assumed that Nintendo was just making a multiplayer shooter for the young crowd. So, I immediately wrote the game off and never really thought about it again.
That lasted up until the Switch’s announcement press conference, where I was immediately sold on the console. I’m not going to lie though, I was worried about the lack of titles that were announced.
Even after owning my Switch for months, I was still very sceptical of Splatoon 2. To be honest with you, I was not planning on buying it at all. That was up until one of the Splatfest demos for Splatoon 2. I said “why not”, and gave it a download. After a few matches of figuring out the game’s mechanics, I was hooked. I believe that Splatfest was live for about three hours, and I played it for almost the whole allotted time. No joke, right after the Splatfest ended, I immediately put in my pre-order.
You’re probably asking: what is it about Splatoon that separates it from other shooters, Trevor? Well, I’ve been thinking about that myself, and the answer is that Splatoon is such a unique experience that almost everything it does is different from any other mainstream shooter. Let’s first start off with the fact that everything you do in a match helps your team.
Let’s use my girlfriend as an example, she averages only about 1-3 splats (kills) a game, and she is almost always at the top or near the top of the team. How is that possible? It’s because in Splatoon getting splats (kills) is nowhere near as important as marking your territory by spreading your ink (paint) all over the map. In the most popular game mode “Turf War” that is the objective, not getting as many splats as you can, but covering the map as much as possible in your coloured ink.
In fact, Splatoon doesn’t even have a “team deathmatch” game mode, it’s all objective based. As long as you’re spraying your ink everywhere, you’re helping your team in one way or another. Basically, you’re doing something productive all the time, and that’s saying a lot in comparison to other shooters out there.
Secondly, the replay value is unreal. In Splatoon the map rotation changes every two hours of real time for each mode. This means you can be playing the same couple of maps for two hours straight and then the rotation changes, which makes the game feel like a fresh new experience all over again. The next thing you know it’s 4 hours later; your whole day is gone. Trust me I’ve done it.
In addition to this, the game has multiple different ranking systems. It has its standard 1-50 levelling system that all other shooters have, where you rank up over time through gaining experience points. It also has a competitive mode, which has its own ranking system altogether. This system is very reminiscent of the classic Halo 2 ranking system that got people hooked back in the original Xbox days. In Splatoon, the rankings start at C- and can go all the way up to the highest of S+. You go up in rank by winning and can go down in rank by losing.
Thirdly, is the customization. Your inkling “character” is unique and you can customize how they look and what they wear. In fact, I have yet to see an inkling that is identical to mine. This adds a level of personality to the game that most other shooters don’t have because in those games you’re either generic soldier A or B. In Splatoon’s main hub world there are many shops that hold new clothes/weapons for your character. Each piece of clothing is different, because each one has its own stat boosters attached to it.
So, you can spend hours trying to find the best outfit to fit your play style. Just like the maps, the clothing items update every couple of hours, so you’re always on the hunt for that new piece of gear. Then comes the weapons – in Splatoon every weapon feels different from the other. From the guns, to paint brushes and paint rollers, every weapon has its own play style and pro and cons. It’s up to you to find out what you like best, and what works with your play style. Personally, for me, I’m all about the Slosher, the unstoppable paint bucket, and the Splat Dualies, which are essentially akimbo submachine guns.
Last but not least are the game’s mechanics: how it feels. Running at a smooth 60fps, going around inking your territory, sliding in and out of squid-form and blasting your way through your enemies just feels amazing and responsive. This is one of the fastest-paced and smoothest feeling shooters out there, in my opinion. If you have a Switch, you should probably go out and get the game. It’s one of those special Nintendo experiences that won’t ever get the same amount of attention that Mario, Zelda, Pokémon or a Smash Bros. game does. Most importantly of all, it feels fresh, unique, and pretty courageous too. For me, those qualities are what I look for nowadays.
What do you guys think of Splatoon 2 so far? Have you picked it up yet?