Splatoon 2: Very Early Impressions

I work weekends. I also work nights. I say this because it’s very rare (5 times a year rare) that I get a Saturday night off. Given that these evenings are few and far between, you’d think I went out and did something epic. Maybe I went into town with ‘the lads?’. Maybe we took a weekend away to see friends in a countryside retreat?. Maybe we went and saw a west-end show?

Nope. We ordered Pizza, drank alcohol and participated in the great Cake versus Ice Cream Splatfest of 2017. Let’s jump into some very early thoughts on Splatoon 2.


 

META: First things first. I should start by saying that despite owning a Wii U. I’ve never actually played Splatoon before. So with that in mind….

I went into Splatoon 2 with some very lofty expectations. I was ready for something new; something different. And whilst Splatoon 2 certainly delivers that, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a touch disappointed with what I saw.

What I Didn’t Like

I’ll start with what was initially my biggest issue with the game. Motion Controls. I’d been told by numerous people that it was the way to play the game. That Motion Controls were not only the more enjoyable way to play the game, but that they would likely improve your chances of success on the battlefield. Nah bruv.

After an hour of struggling to hit anything, enough was enough. I turned them off and you know what? My experience was all the better for it. Perhaps it makes the game less unique, but if it’s a choice between enjoying a good game and disliking a unique one, I know which one I’ll take.

Right. This one is kind of important, but first let’s talk about Turf War. Now for those who aren’t ‘in the know’ Turf War is a game mode wherein two team of four battle it out to try to paint as much of the map in their teams respective colour. The team with more painted turf at the end of the game wins. Got it?

My problem with Turf War as a game mode is that it all felt a little…lacking in tactic depth. For the most part we’re all just running around, hoping not to get killed by someone who randomly appears out of nowhere, whilst trying to paint as much of the ground as possible. To some that may be enjoyable, but to me it felt very…random.

I’ll grant that there’s likely more going on than I could perceive given that I’d only been playing for 2 hours, but it all felt a little too random to be skill based. Obviously there were a few people who did pick up Splatoon on Wii U and thus dominated, but I get the impression the rest of us were just running around painting shit without really knowing what we were doing. And if that’s what you want then great, but I need something a little more. And whilst I did begin to see a little more tactical nuance towards the end of my time with the game, I’ll need an awful lot more of that sort of thing if I’m going to get hooked like so many have before.

I only played 2 hours of the games only available game mode. And thankfully from what I hear, there are other, more tactically defined modes coming in the full game. Maybe those will give me the ability to scratch the tactical itch that’s been annoying me since last night? I really hope so because there’s an awful lot to love about Splatoon 2.

 

What I Liked

I really did have a good time with Splatoon 2; honest. And whilst I was a little underwhelmed by the lack of tactical depth, it was sure fun to run around and paint shit.

What I loved about Splatoon 2 is how equal everything was. Aside from a few games where we got stomped, the playing field was level. And what’s more, I felt like I was contributing to the success of my team, even if in reality, I was a bit of a damp squib. And that’s where Splatoon 2 is going to succeed. Like Overwatch before it, if you can make a bad player feel like a contributing member of the team, I’ll hang around long after I would normally.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t spend a few sentences talking about the games style. Splatoon is bright, colourful, electric and utterly oozes charm and style from every one of its pores. The game sounds awesome and it looks even better. In a world where every online shooter is stylised to appeal to a 14-year-old boy with anger issues, it’s a breath of fresh air and something that we should embrace moving forward.

In Conclusion

I feel like I’ve spent the last 850 words bad-mouthing Splatoon 2. In truth, I did enjoy the two hours I spent with it. Did it entirely win me over? No, but I’m really intrigued as to what this game is.

Whilst Splatoon 2 didn’t (couldn’t?) live up to what I had expected of it going in, It’s given me a reason to look further at it, and so unlike ARMS before it, I will be grabbing a copy of Splatoon 2 with both hands. I hope I find what I’m looking for in terms of tactical nuance, but if I don’t, well then maybe the game just isn’t designed for me. And that’s okay too.

 

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6 thoughts on “Splatoon 2: Very Early Impressions

  1. Yeah, I played the original recently and my one real issue with it was exactly that lack of tactical depth. Given the bouts are so short anyway, it’s basically everyone finding their own wee corner and lobbing as much paint around as possible, and it’s rare you actually have to think about strategy and whatnot.

    You can kinda experiment on your own – with weapons, etc, maybe decide you’re going to proactively hunt out the opposition – but Overwatch it ain’t. That said though, in the first game there is a competitive/ranked option for MP, so I suspect that’s where you’d find more of that kind of shiznizz.

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    1. See that sounds like the exact thing I’m not interested in. I get that they want the game to be open to all, but there are other ways to handle that than by removing any and all skill.

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      1. I should’ve explained better, I think. The “ranked” stuff is kind of like capture the flag, but given the whole moving through your own ink/but not opposition ink thing, it means you have to focus on territory, the flag, *and* the opposition, so it’s definitely a much more involved and tactical round, I think (it also lasts a lot longer). The leap in skill is pretty huge, and you’ll certainly need to think about your weapons more – both individually and as a team – so whilst it’s still not as deep and complex as other Shooters, it’s a half decent approximation of them.

        I mean, it’s still Splatoon-ey, but in the short time I spent playing it, it certainly seemed like it was where the more hardcore, skilled players were doing their ink-squirting and whatnot!

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  2. This was a good read! Similarly to yourself, I always struggled to come to terms with the motion controls. Maybe it’s because more other shooters use typical analog controls, but motion controls weren’t for me. However, if you find them difficult, I would either recommend turning down the sensitivity (that helped for me) or switching motion controls off.

    As for the turf wars, I completely agree. They do lack tactical depth and strategy. From what I remember of the original game, it begins to get really interesting when you reach level 10 and can play in ranked matches. That’s when tactics really start to play an integral role.

    Good to hear you enjoyed the splatfest!

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    1. I’ve been playing the game since release and I *think* I’m getting more comfortable with the motion controls. Although, I’m willing to admit that even now I still find them a little infuriating to use at best.

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      1. That’s good to hear. From experience, I can say that playing with motion controls every once in a while is actually quite good for slowly getting to grips with it. Yeah, the thing that really infuriates me is the fact that you have to keep recalibrating the reticle using the Y button. But, the option is there for those who love motion controls and prefer it to the traditional controls. Good luck with the motion controls!

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