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Familiar yet Fresh

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    Splatoon 2

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding

    Familiar yet Fresh

    Back in May 2015, a game named Splatoon launched itself onto the Wii U. There had been cries from some people longing for a new IP from Nintendo. Some questioned whether or not they would be able to bring a new, successful mascot into the fray. Maybe they didn’t have it in them anymore? Along came the Inklings and they were a resounding success.

    When you start Splatoon 2 you are immediately greeted by Pearl and Marina (this games version or Marie and Callie.) Its a nice feature to have in the game as they let you know the modes and maps that are currently in play as they are swapped out randomly every 2 hours. They tell jokes and try to one up each other; especially during a Splat-fest. After that you get thrown into the Hub world of Inkopolis! It’s a bit disappointing that it’s stayed mainly the same as the first game, yet there are new additions around and if you look you will find them.

    There is a a new mini game called Squid beats 2, where in it your little Inkling has to dance to the beat of the popular music played throughout Splatoons menus. You have to press the right buttons at the right times to try and rack up the best scores possible. Its a fun new addition and I only wish they had kept in Squid jump! Another feature is Crusty Sean, who has a vendor which is very useful for multiplayer. During single player or in Salmon run you can acquire food tickets which, when given to Sean, you are awarded upgrades which include such rewards as double EXP or Coins for the next 20 games.

    The usual shops are back selling clothes, shoes and weapons and yes, Sheldon is back too. It would have been nice to have had some extra hair styles and leg-wear to accessorise with but it’s not too big a deal. There are some really exciting and cool new weapons available to use. Among the weapons are the Slosher and Tri-Slosher; which are essentially buckets that are used to lob ink at a rapid pace over a large area of space, good for pretty much any mode. The Squelcher is a gun that looks a lot like a power drill, it has very good range but it’s not the strongest tool in the box. Mini and heavy Splatling guns which, like the name suggests, are ink Gatling guns and while powerful need a few seconds to fully charge up before you unleash your fury! One of my personal favourites from the new set are the Dualies which are like two mini sub-machine guns.They aren’t by any means the most powerful but they do have a high fire rate and a new nifty dodge roll move which is extremely handy, especially when you launch over to a team mate from spawn. A new great variety of guns is my point with more coming in future updates and that can only be seen as a good thing.

    The main draw of splatoon 2 has to be the multiplayer. From the hub (or the menu), you can access the lobby and can choose between regular battle, ranked battle or league battle. Regular battle consists of just the one game mode which is turf wars. You need to simply try and cover as much of the map as you can in your teams coloured ink. It’s a good idea to use this mode as a way of testing out different weapon classes for when you reach rank 10, you unlock ranked play which is when the game really starts hitting it’s stride. That being said turf wars is a very fun mode in it’s own right. I find it odd how you can only play the one game mode in regular battles but it shouldn’t take you too long to get to level 10. The only way to play with friends in regular mode is have them choose the ‘friends’ option on the menu and it will put you into their game; you can not join a friend in a ranked game however.

    Ranked games are where the multiplayer truly shines. There are 3 different modes: rainmaker, splat zones and tower control. Rainmaker is pretty much like capture the flag, You battle it out, capture the rainmaker and try to deliver it to the enemy spawn. Once a member of your team pick up the rainmaker, you should try to stick with them as you can’t use your weapons. It does act as its own weapon though which slings a large area surrounding explosion, yet you will still need your inkling buddies all the same.

    Splat zones is simple. Two teams rush to the middle of the map to ink the squared zone, once inked, you will be notified that you are in control. Your job is to defend them while the countdown of 100 reaches zero; However, if you manage to get your counter down by any amount and the other team take over, the more seconds you knocked off of your timer, you will get most added back on so that the next time you reclaim it, you are gonna have to make that time up as well.

    In tower control, much like the other 2 modes, you will have to rush to the middle of the map and try to gain control of the tower which is a moving platform; and at least one person needs to be standing aboard the platform for it to move. Your teams job is to get the tower, again, all the way into the enemy teams spawn point to win the game.

    League play is, in a nutshell, ranked play with friends. You can set up a lobby to invite friends and go into a game that is either 2v2 or 4v4. After a 2 hour period you will be given a score that shows how good you did, then the process repeats itself so you can try to do even better next time.

    The most exciting new feature of Splatoon 2 is the Salmon run mode. It can be easy to assume that on the surface this is just a simple horde mode, but you’d be wrong to think that; as it goes way deeper. When available (as it’s only open on certain days), you will be put into a team of 4 and each round be given a random weapon of the 4 available at the time. The weapons and map structure change every time the mode re-opens and means no match is ever the same. There are a very good amount of unique bosses on offer, each with their own method to beat them; some of which you can just shoot until they explode in an inky blaze of glory.

    Did I tell you? This mode can get very hard, very quickly. Don’t do what I did and assume it was easy after having a few good games; as this game will make you cry with frustration given the chance. The aim is simple, Kill the bosses, take their golden eggs, deliver them to your pod. There are 3 waves with every one having a time limit of 100 seconds and a quota that must be met before the times up or you will fail. Completing all 3 rounds will give you a certain amount of points based on how many eggs you delivered and of course, the more eggs the better. Keep racking up the eggs and you will be given rewards to redeem; which can be anything from clothing items, to food tickets as I mentioned previously. There are randomised daily bonuses that can be awarded as well as monthly items. This mode is highly addictive and easily lives up to being the best new addition in this game.

    As I stated earlier in the review, every 2 hours the game modes will switch as well as give you 2 new maps; This is a good idea to keep things fresh, but sometimes you just want to play a certain mode that won’t be there for up to 4 hours as it’s time has just ended. Salmon run has been playable every other day as of this point and I will find myself going on the game sometimes with the idea to play, only to realise it won’t be available until the next day. In the menu the game will tell you the times and date of every mode coming up next, which is good as it allows you to plan ahead if need be.

    A completely new story has arrived in Splatoon 2 and When in the hub wandering around, you will eventually stumble across an inkling with their face covered, wielding a fashionable umbrella, very mysterious, right? As you approach, said inkling will morph into squid form and disappear into a panel in the floor; You follow promptly and get thrown into a completely new area. The mystery person is standing in front of you; and as they begin to talk to you, they reveal some plot details.They throw some more story details at you and then you are free to explore until your hearts content.

    There are 5 sectors, each with an average of 7 levels or so in them; apart from the first sector which is more showing you the ropes then anything. You explore them to find these transparent vents as you can blast them with ink and open up the levels. The sectors however, are not just designed for you to find your way into a level; as they have mini activities to discover as well. An example being, you may see a balloon, so go ahead and pop it with some ink; meanwhile another might appear somewhere else and while you repeat this cycle, you will be rewarded with food tickets or collectibles. The story is nothing exciting when it comes to it’s plot, but that’s not the idea the developers had in mind and that’s completely okay. It’s definitely a good way of preparing yourself for the multiplayer and it is (more importantly) a great source of fun! There are some great new mechanics to use to your advantage, my favourite being the grinding skate-pipe like sections. The single player has some great boss fights to boot which puts the icing on this inky cake.

    Returning is the great soundtrack as well as some new songs. While in the lobby waiting for a game to start, you can actually use the D-Pad to mess around with the music and add sounds to it as well as change the tempo; it’s a small but welcome addition. The game isn’t groundbreaking in terms of graphics, but again it doesn’t make a shred of difference, With that said, when you are in a game and the varied, brilliant colours of ink splash together, it’s extremely satisfying to witness. Watching the ink as it drips down the walls and off the trees is enough to get you killed while you absorb the detail and beauty of it.

    I have accumulated 40 hours of game play so far and show no signs of stopping whatsoever. Between the single player campaign, multiplayer and Salmon run, there is a really good amount of time to be had playing Splatoon, and with a years support of content that’s been confirmed and a Splat-fest just around the corner, I’m gonna be in it for the long haul!

    I would highly recommend this game for anyone that has a Switch. It is one of best games out for said console and on the gaming market in general at this time and deserves the tremendous praise it’s receiving.

    Verdict: Overall, Splatoon 2 is an amazing game and one of the best games to come out this year. Despite some minor annoyances like scheduled game modes, whether you played the first or missed it, you pick this game up and you won’t regret it.

    Rating:   4.5 – Outstanding

    Product Release: Splatoon 2 (EU, 07/21/17)

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