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Splatoon 2 (Switch) Review

August 9, 2017 | Posted by Adam Larck
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Splatoon 2 (Switch) Review  

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since the launch of Nintendo’s unique Wii U shooter, Splatoon.

The squid painter offered some fun, but some balancing issues and relatively thin content made the game more of a short novelty than something to invest a lot of time in.

Nintendo has taken that time to learn about what didn’t work with the first game and improve it for Splatoon 2. Now, the Switch title has become one of the early must-have titles for the system, one where the enjoyment really outbalances the small issues still around.

As far as content goes, one new mode has been added, but everything else is still the same. There’s a single-player campaign to run through where you’re still battling the Octoids, The multiplayer returns with unranked and ranked online modes, similar to the original game, including Turf War again. However, a horde mode called Salmon Run, which I’ll talk about later, is the newcomer.

There’s not too much to say on the single-player mode. It has you going through 24  levels to find glow fish, taking out the Octoids in the way, as well as the occasional boss. It’s a great way to get used to new weaponry, and also see some of the original game characters like the Squid Sisters, but it won’t keep you busy more than a handful of hours.

On the multiplayer side, Turf War gives teams three minutes to paint as much of the arena as possible, taking out opponents on the way. Teammates can swim through the paint to regain paint ammo and to move around the area quicker, and specials can help cover much more area as well as take out a few nearby enemies.

Players of the last game will notice that the eight rotating levels for the modes are more vertical now, letting players paint and climb up walls, or fall through grates to get the jump on enemies below. Plus, some levels have gimmicks, such as a Zamboni that will move around a level or zip-lines that can help you zoom around quicker. More levels are planned in the future, which is great to help the title’s longevity.

Another multiplayer mode, Tower Control, has teams trying to paint a tower and swim to the top of it to move along a path on the map. However, if the other team takes it over with paint, it’ll start moving in the opposite direction. The team that has it moved the farthest by round end wins.

The other modes, Rainmaker and Splat Zones, are also enjoyable when you unlock them. Rainmaker has players trying to control a weapon that shoots paint clouds and taking it to the enemy base, while Splat Zones is akin to King of the Hill, with paint.

Unfortunately, there’s still no way to switch weapons mid-match. So, if you get paired up with a full team of splat dualies or rollers, you may have some issues compared to a team balanced with Chargers, rollers and regular guns.

So far, hopping into games has been quick and easy. There’s been plenty of players on the servers, so wait times have normally been only a minute or so for me. Plus, I’ve had very few drops from matches, normally just caused because I’ve wandered too far out of range of my Wi-Fi.

Finally, we have the new horde mode, Salmon Run. There’s no base to protect. Instead, you’re just trying to take out all enemies wave after wave. Once you get downed, you can be brought back by your teammates shooting you with ink, but enemies will quickly swarm toward members trying to bring others back. It’s also worth noting that weapons are randomly assigned, meaning you may get your primary weapon, or a dinky pea shooter that makes you a sitting duck.

Thankfully, weapons have received a complete overhaul from the last title. The Charger gets a longer range, which was desperately needed to allow for some distance. An umbrella is added that acts like a shield when charged up and ran with, dripping paint along the way. Another new addition, the octobrush, acts like the splat-roller, but moves a bit quicker and needs refilled more often. Splat dualies are also introduced, firing like uzi guns to get a lot of paint in small areas quickly.

Other guns that are back from the last game have been rebalanced to be better used in games, as well as having special attacks revamped. New specials include launching curling bombs around the area to paint the ground and explode or launching rockets into the sky to rain paint (and pain) down on enemies in an area.

Additionally, new weapons and gear can be purchased with points earned from multiplayer matches. Gear has abilities that level up over time that won’t break a match, but can give little boosts that may be the slight advantage you need between an extra paint bullet and death.

What may be the best feature for Splatoon 2 on the Switch is the portability of the game. Being able to take it on the go and hop in for some Salmon Run matches or multiplayer matches is great. Matches are already short, so as long as you have some Wi-Fi and a bit of free time, you can work on leveling or getting enough coins for that next great piece of gear.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Overall, Splatoon 2 is definitely an upgrade from the Wii U title. Nintendo showed that it learned from early issues and wanted to make a better overall experience. While there still may be a few small details that need taken care of still, such as the weapon switching in matches, the improvements make this a great title for Switch owners to pick up.

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Splatoon 2, Adam Larck