Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.
Where I watch and review a movie a day.
Today’s review is a video game and not a movie. Don’t question it. I do want I want.
Two years ago, Nintendo threw their hat into the competitive shooter ring with the highly acclaimed Splatoon. A shooter without bullets and who’s goal was not to kill your opponent but to cover the battlefield in more ink (essentially paint) then they do. It was one of the stand out titles for the Wii-U and now it’s back.
Did Nintendo use those two years to create another game changer? No but it did polish the shit out of the original. The graphics are much more detailed, there’s more customizable options and clothes to unlock. They’ve also improved the controls and the weapons are more balanced. The sniper rifle now makes a path of ink that your team mates can use or eliminates the opponents ink. That wasn’t in the first game. It’s a minor change but makes the weapon more useful. It has more functions than just shooting your opponent.
It’s little tweaks like this that you didn’t think of when you played the first one but now you can’t imagine the game without them. Splatoon 2 is definitely more Super Mario Galaxy 2 than Super Mario 3. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but just refines what already works.
And speaking of Mario, the campaign feels very Mario Sunshine-y to me. Instead of cleaning everything with water, you’re inking everything up. But the mechanics feel very similar. Every level is based around the ink mechanic. On top of the enemies that are trying to kill you with their ink, sometimes there’s pounce pads you can’t ink, or car wash-esque cleaning things that are constantly cleaning up your ink, so you have to constantly strategize. The levels have a platforming or shooting gimmick and they’re always fast paced. No level is more than 10 minutes. In and out and leave a bunch of ink.
But besides the fun action, the greatest accomplishment of the campaign is the sound design. Every shot, every splash and sploosh is incredibly satisfying. The art of sound design is never something I think about but i was constantly thinking about what the hell they did to create these delightful squishes. Seriously, the ink sounds have infected my mind. I can’t stop thinking about them.
The campaign has five worlds each containing a hub world that kinda works like it’s own little level. You can play the levels out of order and you actually have to find them to play them. Accessing them is like solving a mini puzzle of platforming and offers a fun alternative to just clicking on a level and playing it. Unless you’re a completionist who needs to unlock every secret a level has to offer, the main campaign shouldn’t take you more than six hours to complete. It’s not terribly long but it’s par for the course when it comes to multiplayer campaigns.
But length is irrelevant because no matter how good the campaign is, the real draw is multiplayer and Splatoon 2 delivers the goods.
When it works.
Nintendo might be at the forefront of pushing technology in new and interesting directions when it comes to their systems but it’s still years behind when it comes to having those systems play online. I know they love their couch co-op or party experiences but that was the Wii. That shit was acceptable ten years ago but embarrassing now.
Game companies figured out online multiplayer years ago, so there’s literally no excuse why you can’t play with your friends on the same team, or why you need to download an app to to even communicate with your teammates or why modes are limited to two maps at a time or why the 4 player co-op horde mode called Salmon Rush is only available online during specific hours.
I don’t understand. Overwatch is a much bigger online game and it doesn’t have these problems.
Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy the multiplayer but Nintendo definitely needs to consult an outside party to help them figure out online because they’re literally years behind every one else.
With the stellar campaign and great but slightly problematic multiplayer, Splatoon 2 gets a B+