The discourse in the build-up to the highly anticipated launch of Splatoon 2 was that “it’s just more Splatoon”. This may be a good or bad thing, dependant on how much you adored the original or how bored you were by it. But if, like me and seemingly the rest of the world, you weren’t a Wii-U owner, you probably hadn’t got to experience the joy that Splatoon has to offer. Alas, “it’s just more Splatoon” sounds pretty intriguing to me. It’s a hand that Nintendo will look to play more in the future following the success of the port of Mario Kart 8, seeing as the amount of people that have not experienced the great lineup of games the Wii-U had to offer. Expect to see a raft of ports and Switch versions in the years to come.
Anyway, back to Splatoon. Splatoon 2 made me wish I had a Wii-U so I could have buried myself in the original the way I have into this Switch sequel. It’s a game that thrives in the feel, and what I mean by that is that every moment and every action the game allows you to do feels so great. Whether it’s painting the landscape to capture valuable territory for your team or splatting your enemies to oblivion with dual wielding ink pistols, it all just feels sublime. I didn’t think I’d get drawn into this game as much as I did, but the way the gameplay feels is the main reason. In addition, the game oozes as much style as these cool squids ooze colourful ink. The emphasis on style, clothing and being ‘fresh’ is one that tracks with the overall style and aesthetic of the game and the character design; inimitably Nintendo but with a stark, modern twist.
As with all Nintendo products and releases, there’s going to be a few complications when it comes to online functionality and ease of use. This is my only criticism of Splatoon 2, and I don’t think it’s even as much to do with this particular game as it is to do with Nintendo’s philosophy in regards to online functionality. It seems as if they’re multiple steps behind the standard at which their competitors have set, and basic functions have been handed off to a substandard phone app which is equal to the online eco-system native to consoles at the start of the last generation. This attitude to online also works it’s way into the game design too, with the main complaint arising from the fact that each strand of game mode – be it the horde-mode-esque Salmon Run, run of the mill online play, local play and the actually really neat Story Mode – have their own levelling systems and gear upgrades, fracturing the progression in a way that seems counterproductive and reminiscent of the multitude of faction currencies from vanilla Destiny. Hopefully as the Switch picks up steam and the issues have been ironed out of the online app, these functionality issues can be relegated to the past, as it’s much more fun to focus on the terrific, compelling gameplay and the vivid, unique art than badly designed online decisions.
Besides that, it all adds up to create a package that feels perfect for the Nintendo Switch and with a surprising amount of content and modes for you to try your hand at. Not having sampled the original, the charm, style and sheer glee of playing Splatoon 2 hit me hard. I think I’m going to be splatting fools for a good long while.