Splatoon 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega
Product provided for this review by Nintendo.
Two years ago, Nintendo released Splatoon for the Wii U gaining high praise across the board. At first, it didn’t have much content but as time went on, Nintendo added features and modes while refining the game and making it a satisfying experience. From then on, it became a game that anyone who owned a Wii U should play. When Nintendo announced a sequel for the Nintendo Switch, expectations were high. Now that the game is released, does it meet up to all the hype that fans were expecting?
For starters, Splatoon 2 is a huge step up compared to the first. The presentation is spot on, capturing the feel of the first game but on a much broader scale. Having it on the Nintendo Switch helped considerably. The soundtrack is great with tunes that are fun to listen to. As far as its plot goes, it takes place 2 years after the first game. Its single-player campaign has you taking the role of an Inkling, which you can create, by the way, encountering Marie one day in Inkopolis. Marie asks for the Inkling’s aid in finding her cousin Callie. It’s a simple plot but with Splatoon, it has a sense of humor and it’s done well. I only wish that there would be a bit more backstory in regards to the two Squid Sisters and what happened to the two in the two years between the two games.
Like many other games Nintendo has made, it follows an adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you played the first Splatoon, you will feel right at home in this one although to a degree. Yes, there are motion controls in the game but it’s more used towards aiming your weapons. You use the left analog to move, ZL to turn to a squid so you can traverse faster, ZR to shoot, R to use secondary weapons and B to jump. Clicking the right analog lets you use your special attack. It’s just as good as it was in the previous game and with the improvements, it makes the experience better. But for anyone that feel motion controls aren’t for them, the game gives you the option to use analog control just like in traditional shooters. A welcome feature since the first game didn’t give you the option to turn off motion controls. It shows that Nintendo is listening to feedback and that’s a good thing. In addition, you have access to over 20 different weapons with some being brand new like the Splat Dualies, Herobrush, Hero Gatling and many others. There are also new secondary and special attacks that add a lot to the game.
Splatoon 2’s single player campaign has you going through six areas each with up to 6 stages. In each stage, you go from start to finish taking out enemies, solving puzzles and finding secrets such as Sardinium and pamphlets. In some levels, you are given a weapon to use and you need to beat the level with said weapon in order to unlock it. There are 8 weapons in all and using Sardinium and small fish eggs, you can be able to upgrade them so they can be stronger. The best part is that you can replay any of the levels, including the bosses with any weapons that you unlock. This adds a lot of replay value to the campaign, for those that want to beat every level with every weapon. There are bosses here and some can be a challenge but if you know what you’re doing, you will manage. Checkpoints are there, including boss fights, making the trek a bit of a reprieve for players.
Now let’s get to the meat and potatoes of Splatoon 2, the multiplayer. Splatoon 2 online is just as good as the first. It’s split between three modes: Random, Ranked and League. Each of the three modes put you in one of two maps that change every two hours. You play with 7 other players and are split between 2 teams of 4 players each. Random (or Player) battles have you and other players compete to see who can cover the map with the most ink in 3 minutes. It can be really addicting but also it requires you to be alert since your opponents will spare no expense in ensuring you go down. Ranked and League Battles take things up a notch with various goal-based types such as Splat Zone, Tower Control, and Rainmaker. Splat Zone is straightforward, Tower Control focuses on teams battling over a moving mobile tower and Rainmaker is like capture the flag except you have access to a powerful weapon that can turn the tide. What makes this better is that all three have their own ranking system and they change every few hours making things fresh and exciting.
For those that want to team up with friends, you have Salmon Run. You and three friends (local or online) team up to get golden eggs from enemy Salmonids in a set time limit in each wave. Teamwork is key but what makes it fun is that in each wave, you start with a different weapon and you need to adapt not only to what you have but with your teammates as well. It can get crazy and really fun plus playing with friends is always a blast. Plus you get paid whether you succeed or not and you can use the bonus from it to unlock new gear that you can use to customize your Inkling. My only complaint is the fact that Salmon Run is only available at certain times of the week. Upsetting I know but I wish in the future Nintendo could allow this as a permanent mode.
Customization is aplenty in Splatoon 2. There are shops where you can buy weapons and gear. Using currency that you earn by playing online, you can use it to unlock new weapons for online matches and gear that gives your Inkling various bonuses. Not only that but if you feel that the bonuses aren’t to your liking, you can speak to Murch to gear scrub your gear and put new abilities on it. It’s incredible. Also with the Nintendo Switch app, you can be able to buy gear that you can transfer into the game. That’s cool. Splatoon 2 has Amiibo support just like in the first game and using them allow you to save data for your weapon, hairstyle, and gear. They can be used to set up, even on another console. Plus they unlock new gear and exclusive weapons for your Inkling. Like the first game, there will also be Splatfests where players choose a side and they work to see who will win. Additional content is coming down the line adding more to an otherwise intense game.
If I had any negatives, I feel that in regards to the online maps, they’re chosen at random. It doesn’t hurt the game as much as I thought originally but I wish they would allow it at least for private battles with friends. Also like in the first game, there’s no voice chat but in truth, there is but you need the Nintendo Switch App and a Splatoon 2 headset to actually do it. I find it to be cumbersome, unnecessary & a step backward. Yes, I know that Nintendo values safety but I wish they would get with the times and try incorporating voice chat in the game without the need for anything ludicrous.
Overall, Splatoon 2 is a big step up from the original. Huge amount of customization, a good single player campaign and addicting online multiplayer provide so much for your money’s worth. Negatives aside, the game offers so much. With the Nintendo Switch already being a big success for the company, if there is any game that is worth a full purchase price, it’s this one. Becoming a squid kid has never been so much fun and I couldn’t have it any other way.
I give Splatoon 2 a 9 out of 10. This is a must-buy game and I highly recommend it. It also earns my personal seal of approval.