So, I looked up a stat for my opening line here that was going to talk about how I never really played the original Splatoon since it was on the Wii U – god help it – and I thought I’d have no one to play with. Do you know how much that game sold though? Almost 5 million copies! That’s a shade behind Super Smash Bros on the same console. That’s seriously impressive.
My redirected excuse is that I’m not a fan of multiplayer-focused titles in general. That comes from a very simple reason: time. Anytime a game is online-only or may as well be, the clock is ticking on its life cycle with varying, respective minutes and seconds depending upon the install base. I don’t prescribe to the idea that I’ll never play a game I own again after a certain point. I’ll still pick up Wrestlemania XIX for the Gamecube on occasion, as a weird and wonderful example. When I own a game, I don’t want it to be contingent upon the world at large, or a single company’s numbers, as to when I’ll never have the same access to that game again.
Splatoon 2 hit early in the Switch cycle so I figured there’d be plenty of legs to carry it for a time. Especially so with this game and with Nintendo who live in their own galaxy of moral codes and business practices as compared to Sony and Microsoft. The continuous infusion of new material, updated weapons, raised level caps, more fashionable cap caps, and so much more amounts to sunk money that’s gained plenty of goodwill, mine included. The Big N seems to understand that this kind of dripping of content can cultivate a longer, larger following that can eventually lead them to a huge arena of people watching an E-league like in their original Switch sizzle trailer.
The game itself has a handful of main modes but only Turf War and Salmon Hunt seem to translate well to any extended play time with other people. Luckily, the simplicity and varied nature of turf War carries the hell out of the competitive space. There’s something naturally gratifying about plastering your color across every surface, then refilling to do it all over again. The roller is my close-range paint machine of choice that has many variations, like all the weapons, and can be made into a more speedy tool if you sacrifice some power. “Death” splatters your color across the immediate area, potentially creating new pathways for an ally to avenge your squid-kid corpse. Turf War’s entire experience feels pure and executed sublimely, plain and simple.
Salmon Run is fine and dandy as well, but the haphazard schedule that Nintendo has on its availability is baffling. Are you shutting down the servers between to save some quarters, Nintendo? The gimmick of loaned weapons is an interesting randomizer element to add to the fray, even if there seems to be a tendency for some to quit and rejoin in order to gain a different loaner.
The single-player portion is most of what I played in the first game and Splatoon 2 hasn’t changed my negative opinion on it all that much. I, strangely, enjoy it more in this entry thanks to a shift in the color pallet but I’m never going to be too enthralled in what is essentially the old Call of Duty time trial hallway in a paintball course.
Getting into Splatoon as late as I am, I can see the flower fully bloomed and now know how so many can be sucked in so quickly. The sense of community, positive and negative, is a wonder to behold from afar with a lot of credit going to Nintendo too for how it’s integrated into the experience directly. I wish there was a bit more to the other modes and at least a more dedicated Salmon Run schedule. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about using my phone – my PHONE – as a talking device online. Alexander Graham Bell beat you to that, Nintendo. You’ve been around a lonnnnggg time, but even you don’t beat that invention.
Splatoon 2 Score: