Splatoon 2 shows off Nintendo's lack of cohesive online structure while rising above it to still be a enjoyable game
As a sequel to a Nintendo game this is one of the few that feel like it has minimal upgrades. Running around painting everything is still the main mechanic and all the modes they added to the first game are still in this one. Even the mcguffin in the single player campaign is the same since once again the Octarians have stolen the great zap fish and it is up to a special inkling agent to save the day one more time. Which could be a huge issue if it just wasn’t so fun to run around painting everything.
The huge focus on painting the world with a secondary focus on taking down the enemy leads to a easy learning curve that doesn’t punish new players. Along with the short 3 minute time limit it is easy to get in a few matches in every day. I should clarify that I am talking about the Turf War rule set which is the backbone of this game. A 4v4 mode that focuses on covering the map with your own ink till the timer runs out. At the end the team with the most ink wins. All this sounds basic but the strategies you can implement are varied. Depending on all the different factors like weapon type the tactics you'll need to employ will be different. For example the bucket is all about hiding around cover to take out other inklings that don’t even know you're there while the charger relies on accuracy to lock down any opponents from a vantage point. A good mix of weapons can lead to some easy wins and some hopeless loses yet it didn’t lose it’s charm within the 30 hours I’ve played so far.
From that base the modes start to get more competitive once you make it to level 10 the ranked playlist opens up. Splat Zones is my favorite mode of the bunch which focuses both teams on one area that they must fight over for the entire match. Making every match a constant back and forth till someone wins. Like the previous mode Tower Control relies on one area that a team must control except the tower must move ever closer to the enemies spawn point to win.. With the last mode being Rainmaker that puts the focus on capturing the rainmaker and slam dunking it in the enemy's goal. So far all of this has just recapped what they started in the first game.
The one new mode is called Salmon Run which has a crew of 4 go wipe out 3 waves of mutated salmon for profit. At first it is a simplistic horde mode that has a few unique aspects that keep it fresh. Constantly changing up the scope of the battlefield via the rising tide changes how you’ll have to deal with all the salmonids. Especially on the higher difficulty that can really pump out a crazy amount of bosses requiring a huge focus on taking them all down quickly. Each round also changes the usable weapon. Along with a special power that is vital to use in certain situations to keep the endless waves of salmon from overrunning your team. Especially the annoying flying type that can only be dealt with bombs. This mode is fun and is a good way to fit in between normal VS matches but this is also where the biggest flaw in this game shows up.
Limited time to play Salmon Run along with a horribly planned out set of options for online matches makes me sad. Making the one new mode limited seems weird but since it only has two maps I guess they didn’t want players to get tired of it quickly. Not having options to switch out gear in between matches without backing out is also odd along with making it tough to play together with a friend without unlocking League Mode is also a bummer. Even joining up in the standard regular match might cause you to end up on opposing sides. To top it all off I need a smartphone app to talk to other players and it doesn’t even work well is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. Most of these issues don’t come up that often for me since I play solo but they are still annoying factors can lessen the fun you can have online.
All the issues I just listed off are missteps but they don’t take away the fun I had playing this game. Switching between a level or two in the single player (Oh yeah I didn’t mention it at all huh? It’s a great tutorial for the multiplayer and the later levels/bosses are cool looking and test your Splatoon skills.) and a mix of all the other modes I had plenty of content to keep my attention every time I booted up my Switch. Anyone that may not play competitive modes often may end up enjoying this more than a standard third person shooter. Making this a game I suggest anyone check out if they have a Switch unless you think the online issues sound like they'll hamper your enjoyment of the game.