Splatoon 2 is a Modern Video Game Sequel

first_img If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule.Splatoon 2 is arguably the biggest Nintendo Switch Game That Isn’t Zelda so far, at least from Nintendo. It’s not a port like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but it’s also not an unproven property like Arms. In fact, similar to how Breath of the Wild put a Nintendo-quality spin on contemporary AAA open-world game design, Splatoon 2 feels like Nintendo’s take on the modern AAA shooter sequel. It’s the kind of game you make two years after the first one, not a whole console generation later. Considering that the Splatoon team is largely made up of younger Nintendo developers, that modernity is to be expected. But whether or not that’s a good thing is up for debate.I want to say Splatoon 2 is worth it just to experience more of its anime SpongeBob lore and listen to its banging music (now even better thanks to the new rhythm minigame), but there’s a whole rest of a game here that’s probably worth discussing, too. Not since Super Mario Galaxy 2 has Nintendo made a franchise game this big that focuses this much more on refinement than radical reinvention. However, also like Super Mario Galaxy 2, the gameplay being refined is still so unlike anything else that the experience remains fresh.AdChoices广告Splatoon 2 is a team-based shooter where teams compete to cover as much turf as possible in their own squid ink and turn the map into a Nickelodeon commercial. Ink also lets you harm your opponents and provides lanes for you to travel faster or swim up walls while passively reloading. It’s such an elegant idea that ties together shooter mechanics that otherwise seem disparate. Beyond the standard Turf Wars, more competitive players can compete in modes where they deliver payloads, capture the flag, or fight to control specific territories. Splatoon 2 moves the franchise even more in the eSports direction with ranked and league battles.Outside of matches players can focus on character progression. The emphasis on gear reflects the game’s culture of being stylish. New outfits provide new buffs as they level up. Food truck meals help you improve faster. Players gain access to weapons like standard guns, speedy dual pistols, and massive paint rollers with curling stone bombs. Each weapon also comes with its own new special ability, like the power to summon an ink rain cloud or shoot homing missiles. I never got super into competitive Splatoon, but the consensus seems to be the specials are more balanced this time around.With its collection of new and returning weapons and maps, Splatoon 2 already feels like a more complete game than the infamously thin Splatoon did at launch. However, Nintendo is still sticking with that game’s model of steadily releasing new content over time. You can already look forward to new maps like a cruise ship-themed level and new weapons like the shotgun-and-shield combo Splat Brella.While free DLC is great, I wish Nintendo would abandon this model and just put more content in the game upfront. Regardless of how true it is, this strategy makes the game feel purposefully unfinished at launch. This was more acceptable with the unproven first game. It even kind of made the world feel more alive. But what excuse does Splatoon 2 have for this appearance of being rushed?It’s an arbitrary restriction in a game unfortunately full of them, from maps that still rotate on a schedule to an entire awesome co-op Salmon Run horde mode inexplicably limited to certain hours of the week for online play. It’s like they are afraid not enough people will play unless they are funneled in specific directions. Splatoon 2’s fundamentals are so fun I enjoy playing whatever it allows me to play, but I can’t help but slightly resent it for limiting me in the first place.Speaking of limitations, Splatoon 2 is also the first game to use Nintendo’s voice chat app. The app is bad, but thankfully unnecessary. You can play with friends within the game itself, and from there just hop on Discord or something. Besides, one of the brilliant things about Splatoon’s design is that everything about the flow of battle can be communicated through vibrant visuals. You can see where you should paint or jump to an ally in a heated battle. Even if you’re just painting by yourself, you’re still contributing. You don’t need to talk.Another area in which Splatoon 2 feels like Super Mario Galaxy 2 (and Titanfall 2 for that matter) is in its single-player campaign. It’s not too different from before. You still hop between bite-sized levels blasting octopus goons and solving Nintendo-style puzzles with your ink abilities. But it’s a ton of fun. Seeing what the addition of a gun does to Nintendo’s well-worn 3D platform design is fascinating. The single-player also shows off just how much sharper and better Splatoon 2 looks compared to its predecessor. The ink now has bits of shiny reflective material along with noticeably wetter textures that are gloopy and gross in such a great way.Levels this time around are also primarily built for certain weapons, so expect to overwhelm shielded enemies with a Gatling gun, drive-by blast with dual pistols while grinding on ink rails, or snipe a boss’s support chains out of the air while steadying your aim with the vital motion controls. Replaying old levels with new weapons also provides a fun challenge. But even still the campaign won’t last you very long. They should’ve just thrown in the similarly short campaign from the first game, too. It would have provided some context for the light storyline featuring revolving around the family drama of the previously established Squid Sisters.Splatoon 2 is a lot of like Splatoon 1. It even found a way to bring back Miiverse. But that’s okay, and not just because this is how every other gaming franchise works these days. It’s just great to have Splatoon on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a fantastic portable game. Local wireless play makes multiplayer even easier. And the console has some momentum behind it, not the looming specter of death. The first Splatoon found an impressively large audience even as the Wii U was basically over, so the franchise’s appeal now has more potential than ever. Splatoon 2 is a Switch Game That Isn’t Zelda. It’s a kid now; it’s a squid now, it’s its own Nintendo franchise nowWant to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch.Buy it now!The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WindNintendo SwitchProtect Your Nintendo Switch With These Awesome CasesView as: One Page Slides1/51. Splatoon 2 is the kind of sequel you release two years after the first game.2. The game’s sense of style and character remains on point.3. The new co-op horde mode Salmon Run is great, but inexplicably limited to certain times of day online.4. New weapons and maps will be released for free over time, but I wish more of them were in the game from the start.5. Don’t bother with Nintendo’s cumbersome voice chat solution. Just join up with friends in the game and chat on Discord.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target Controller Patent Teases SNES Games on SwitchPlay These Nintendo Switch Games Before ‘Pokemon Sword and Shield&… last_img read more