It’s now been over two years since the Nintendo released the original Splatoon on the Wii U. Now it’s back with a brand new sequel now on the Nintendo Switch. As someone who wasn’t the biggest fan of the original, this new sequel has changed this naysayer into someone who has now become surprisingly addicted to this new game. In Splatoon 2 you play as an Inkling, a human kid/squid hybrid who walks around in kid form but can turn into a squid and swim through ink. You use weapons such as a machine gun like water guns, paint rollers and even literal buckets full of ink to combat enemies and cover ground. You then turn into a squad to swim through ink and reload your weapons.
Splatoon 2 is broken up into two main sections, A single player campaign and it’s Multiplayer which is the game’s main draw. The single player campaign is about the same as the original. A series of challenges the have you navigate towards the end of its stage while combating enemies. The single player campaign is broken up into a series of areas each having its own unique layout and ends with some very fun and creative boss battles. The single player’s greatest strength lies in how well it utilizes Splatoon’s unique approach to shooters ensuring that every stage you tackle is not a repeat of the last. The biggest difference this new entry makes is the addition of all the games weapons that you’ll be using in the multiplayer. This now allows not only much-needed diversity to the six-hour long single player campaign, but thanks to the smart design choices the stages, each stage helps you better understand each weapon’s strength and weaknesses. This knowledge is very helpful to you when you are ready to start playing the multiplayer. As you play through the campaign you are rewarded with Meal Tickets. These Meal Tickets can be used at the food truck in Inkopolis (the games world hub) in which you can receive bonuses for playing multiplayer such as a boost in money and/or experience earned for a select number of rounds.
Speaking of Multiplayer, this is the main draw of Splatoon 2. You’ll be spending most of your time playing the games Turf Battle. A three-minute battle where two teams of four players battle to claim the most area by shooting while eliminating or splatting as it’s called in-game the opposing team to take over the areas they have claimed. Thanks to Splatoon’s unique style of gameplay and it’s great stages that rotate every few hours. This mode is always fun to play since every match is never the same. As you play matches you gain experience and level up. Once you reach level four, you are now able to purchase new clothes and new weapons at the shops over at Inkopolis. Style plays an important part of the Splatoon universe and what you wear matters. Not only does this allow you to create your own custom inkling, but each clothing items also come with abilities. Choosing the right equipment becomes very addicting as finding a clothing item that has the right ability to give you that edge in combat is much needed to stay competitive.
Turf War isn’t’ the only game mode you’ll play in multiplayer. Once you’ve reached a high enough level, you’ll be able to compete in competitive battles. This mode has three different game types, Tower Control, Splat Zone and Rain Maker. These game types rotate every few hours along with the stages. In Tower Control you and your team must take control of a tower that’s in the center of the stage. Once you claim control you must ride the tower to the enemies base. But you must be sure that you fight off the opposing team and stop them from taking the tower from you. Splat Zone is more or less capture the flag, where the two teams must fight over a small section of the stage by covering it with their ink and holding that point until the end of the match. And in Rainmaker, you and your team must take a weapon called the Rainmaker and take it deep into enemy territory.
Each game type in the Ranked battles has there owned ranking tied to each of them. You start at Ranked C- and must reach Rank A+ to be the best. Having each mode have its own rank helps you know where you are best at and which mode you need to improve on. And finally, the newest addition to Splatoon 2 is Salmon Run. By far my favorite mode in this game, in Salmon Run is a new online game mode that had you and three other players are sent to a small Island where you must fight Salmon in waves. Amongst these Salmon are bosses that each has their own unique strategy to beat. Once you’ve defeated a boss they drop large golden eggs that your team must collect in order to a select number of in each round before the time limit. Salmon Run is also the most challenging of all the game modes in the game. It starts off very difficult and quickly gets harder with each passing round. There are three rounds total and coordinating with your team is crucial to beating all three rounds. Salmon Run also has its own unique leveling system that allows you to own rewards such as meal tickets and even rare and unique new equipment. The biggest draw back to Salmon Run is the fact that it’s only available at certain times. This is an incredibly weird choice since this is one of the best new features of the game and you can’t play it whenever you want.
However, despite all of these great aspects of the game, Nintendo has made some strange choices that continue to showcase their total lack of understanding of online multiplayer games. First off you are not able to switch weapons in between matches online, thus you must leave after a match in order to change your loadout, which not only interrupts the flow of the game at times but you must leave the group you’re playing with especially if you’re doing well. You also can’t leave if you change your mind on a game mode when it’s searching for a team match up. And while you can play online matches with your friends, it doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to play on the same team.
Like the first game, there is still a complete lack of voice chat built into the game. If you want to use any form of voice chat with your friends, then you must use the new Nintendo Switch Online app four your phone. While this allows you finally have voice chat, you can only use it playing with and only your friends in a private mode. This is just a strange design choice since it would still be easier to implement voice chat into the game even when playing in the switch in a portable state. There is hope that Nintendo does listen to players and fix this in the near future, but right now it’s just a vague hope.
But at the end of it all, these issues don’t take away just how much fun Splatoon 2 is. While this sequel is more like an enhanced version of the original. All the small new changes and the new game mode make this one for anyone that has a switch or missed playing the first one definitely worth picking up. If it can make someone who didn’t really enjoy the first one change his mind, then I say it’s worth playing.