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August 11, 2017 / Jett

Splatoon 2 Review


The original Splatoon was a bold new step for shooters. Nintendo found an innovative way to make a compelling shooter where precision accuracy wasn’t a requirement. As such, it was a fresh experience that a wide variety of players could enjoy.

By virtue of Splatoon 2 being a direct sequel, it was never going to shock the world in the same way its predecessor did. On top of that, Nintendo hasn’t done too much to shake up the core formula. What it may lack in surprise it compensates for with refinement.

Just like the original, Splatoon 2 is a team-based shooter starring anthropomorphic squids wielding ink-filled weapons. The goal of the game isn’t to shoot your opponents down, though it does have an indirect benefit to your cause. Instead, each team is aiming to cover more of the ground in their colour of ink. Being a sharpshooter is an asset, but wins and losses are ultimately determined by the team that can paint in volume while maintaining control over key parts of each map.

Filling the world with ink was an innovative take on the shooter in 2015, but there’s nothing as groundbreaking here. Instead, Nintendo has opted to improve on a solid foundation. New primary, secondary, and special weapons have been added to the mix. I’m a big fan of the Splat Dualies in particular, as this double-pistol weapon allows you to perform a tactical roll, serving as an effective maneuver on defense or offense. Older weapons were tweaked as well. For instance, the iconic Roller has been given the ability to create narrow and far-reaching paint splatters while jumping, so that you’re not completely screwed when you come across an opponent at a distance. I can’t speak to how all of these weapons fit within the context of competitive balance, but they’re all fun to see and use.

Helping to keep things fresh is the additional maps and modes that are packed into the game. The original Splatoon came with only five maps. This time, you get eight, two of which are remakes from the original While it still drives me nuts that only two maps are available at any given time, the turnaround is shorter and the maps themselves are great. If you want to get serious, there are three unique Ranked modes to test your mettle.

The biggest new addition to the online portion of the game is Salmon Run. This time, players work together to harvest salmon eggs, but the Salmon aren’t going to make it easy. They’ll rush at you in large groups, along with sending in a number of giant bosses your way. It’s a great change of pace from the norm, but it’s inexplicably gated save for set time periods. This really should have been a mode that was available at all times.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t play much of the single player campaign in the original, but I played it to completion here. Unlike the multiplayer modes, your primary goal is to move from point A to point B while splatting enemies along the way. At first, the campaign seems to be a bit too straightforward, but once you get to the first boss, the game picks up considerably. In particular, I really enjoy how much puzzle-solving is involved in each level, as it adds a unique spin to the gameplay. By the end, the game actually provides quite the challenge that was really satisfying to complete.

Splatoon 2 is more of what you come to expect from the franchise, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Almost everything you would want from a Splatoon game is here, with a few pleasant surprises and unfortunate disappointments. All in all, this game is a net positive and one every Switch owner should grab.

 

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