UPDATE – This review has now been updated detailing our full opinion on the Salmon Run mode.
It’s been just over two years since Nintendo graced us with the inkredible Splatoon. The title gave a fresh new experience for the third person shooter genre. Though it was initially scampi on content, frequent updates kept the game fresh. Nintendo are now ready to release the next entry into the franchise, onto the Nintendo Switch, with Splatoon 2.
Is Splatoon 2 completely off the hook, or are you batter off skipping it entirely? Find out in our review after the break… along with even more terrible puns!
Developed by Nintendo EPD
Published by Nintendo
Released: 21st July 2017 (Worldwide)
Review copy provided by Nintendo
Splatoon 2 (seriously why didn’t they call it Spla-Two-on) at first glance, may look like a carbon copy of the original Splatoon, and that is true regarding the foundation of the game. The gameplay of inking your turf and swimming in your ink as a squid is still very much the same, and the same can be said for the controls. There’s nothing wrong with that however.
For those who never played the original, Splatoon 2 is a 4 vs 4 online shooter where the main aim of the game is to ink the most turf in your colour ink than the opposing team in Turf Wars, rather than having to kill the other players. There is also a King of the Hill type mode called Splat Zones, which is exclusive Ranked and League battles (as well as Private Battles) for the more serious competitor. In this mode, you are tasked with splatting designated zones with the most ink to capture the zone. Once the zone has been capture for a certain amount of time, that team wins the battle.
The two modes that were introduced through free updates also make a return. In Tower Control, you play a modified version of Capture the Flag cross between an inverted tug-o-war. Hop onto the tower to gain control where it will slowly move towards the enemy base. In Rain Maker, you need to capture the Rainmaker, a modified Inkzooka, and bring it back to your base.
Just about all the old weapon types return in Splatoon 2, and there also two brand new types. The Splat Dualies are dual pistols which delivers two streams of ink. You can also use bursts of ink to dodge incoming attacks. The Splat Brella is a parasol which acts a lot like a shotgun. Hold down the fire button and the parasol will open up, offering you a shield of sorts. Keep it open long enough, the top of the parasol will launch forward, leaving behind a wide stream of ink. This particular weapon, though unlock able in Hero Mode, it won’t become available for multiplayer until a post-release update. Both weapons are a lot of fun to use and offer brand new strategies.
Splatoon 2 comes packed with seven stages (compared to five), a couple of them are carried over from the original and the rest are brand new. Best of all, the previous game would rotate stages and modes every four hours, but Splatoon 2 now rotates every two hours. Splatoon 2 already comes with tons of variety in multiplayer from the get go, with even more content coming through frequent free updates. Talking about rotations, remember the Squid Sisters News Show that would appear after every rotation? Well, you’ll be happy to hear that Splatoon 2’s equivalent (Off the Hook), only appears once per session, and that’s when you launch the game. Now whenever there is a rotation, your session just refreshes with very little intermission.
During the preview phase, online matches seemed to be pretty stable. Obviously, this could change when the inklings come flooding in. Unfortunately it seems as if Nintendo have not fixed a couple issues that were fairly annoying in the original. You are unable to change your weapon load out and gear when waiting for your game to fill out, and it is required that all eight spots are to be filled. Luckily both of these are exempt when making private battles.
Splatoon 2 is the first title to use the Nintendo Switch Online Lounge app. The app allows for supposed easy matchmaking with your friends as well as voice chat (which can only be done through a compatible smart device). Though it is annoying that there is extra faff to be able to use voice chat, the basics of the service has potential. It’s very easy to create a room from the game, and the players in the room appear on the app. You can then invite Nintendo Switch friends, or send invites via social media platforms. Oh, there are also two spots for spectators in-game. For the love of all things tentacly though, please bring and option for voice chat in-console!
Splatoon 2 come with a brand new mode for co-operative play, Salmon Run. You can play online with strangers, friends, or in an Online Lounge, you can also play it local network play. In this mode, you are hired by a rather mysterious Mr. Grizz, who is very much obsessed with Golden Eggs. Your job is to blast out to sea and collect them in exchange for Power Eggs and exclusive gear. When you arrive to your destination, with up to three other players, you’ll be hit by three waves of Salmonids, vicious salmon like creatures that drop Power Eggs.
To collect Golden Eggs, you’ll need to defeat Boss Salmonids. These are much tougher than the Lesser Salmonid variety, therefore each of the seven requires different strategies. For example, the Steelhead is protected by armour, the only way to destroy it is to shoot it’s bomb as it charges for attack. Each wave requires a different quota of Golden Eggs to collect within the time limit, don’t fill the quota and you’ll fail the job.
Additionally, each job will have a specific weapon set available. Instead of being able to choose your weapon, you are assigned one at the beginning of each wave. I actually find this to be a tentacool idea. This forces you to vary your strategies between waves, meaning that each wave will vary. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favourite main! Your special meter is removed in Salmon Run, though you are given two special abilities that you can use at only point. Use them wisely however, as each one is only good for one use.
That’s not all, certain jobs will have different type of hazards. These can range from fog and alternating tides, to Salmonid Rushes. During a Salmonid Rush, a barrage of Salmonids will advance on you at killer speed for the entire wave. These are all great features which really keep you on your toes!
It really is a fun new mode which adds yet another fresh new experience in this already varied title. If you need a break from competitive play, or are getting lonely playing in Hero Mode, just pop on down to Grizzco, and you’ll be matched with someone to play cooperatively in no time!
Salmon Run won’t alway be available to play, which made me fairly disappointed in my initial review. Now that I’ve had the chance to play around with it however, I can say that I feel a lot better about how it’s being handled, so I apologise for my previous comments. At the moment the schedule looks like there will be Salmon Run job available just about every other day for the entire day, so don’t expect having to wait weeks to be able to play it. You can also play it whenever through local network play, assuming your mates also have their own Nintendo Switch and copies of Splatoon 2!
Unfortunately the preview run for Salmon Run was over this past weekend, when I was on my work placement… in the middle of nowhere. It’s a fairly odd decision to give the mode limited availability, maybe it’s to avoid dry spells, either way it’s a bit disappointing. You can, however, play the mode at any time through local network play. So if your mates have their own Switch consoles and their own copy of Splatoon, you’re in business.
Hero mode also makes a return in Splatoon 2 for those who want some single player action. This time both The Great Zapfish and Carrie are squidnapped by the Octarians, and it is up to you to find them. This mode, like the original, combines the shooter gameplay from the main game and splatformer action. Splatoon 2’s Hero Mode is just as good as the original, and maybe even better! There’s extra dazzle, brand new splatforming elements (such as grind rails), the choice of nine different weapons, and a decent difficulty scale. There’s also some brand new lore you can read up on if you explore the 30 or so levels thoroughly. Even though it can get a bit manic with the camera when you are ambushed by Octarians, it’s still a lot of fun.
The bosses in Hero Mode are also inkredibly creative, and fairly difficult too. There’s one boss which is essentially a giant bread oven which you have to climb, and the more you hit it, the more armoured it becomes. There’s also a giant ninja Octarian with a giant roller who uses it as a unicycle. There’s also one or two returning bosses which have some creative twists to their tentacles, but I’ll let to experience them for yourself.
Splatoon 2 also looks absolutely gorgeous on the Switch. The ink has never looked better (please note that the screenshots are automatically compressed when capture from the Nintendo Switch). The game also performs brilliantly, both docked and undocked.
Splatoon 2 simply builds on an already great game and makes it more of a kraken game. Sure, there are a couple minor inconveniences when joining a game, but that shouldn’t damper the fun there is to be had. There’s already a lot of variety when it comes to stages, weapons, and modes, and that can only increase with the future free updates planned. Plus, the brand new Salmon Run mode is inkredibly fun to play, and is sure to keep you occupied when you want a break from Turf Wars and Hero Mode.
Simply put, if you own a Nintendo Switch and are looking for a good competitive online game with a fun single player experience, then Splatoon 2 is a must have for you, and we fully recommend it!
Final Rating – 4 out of 5
Splatoon is out now for Nintendo Switch! Purchasing the game from one of the links below makes NintyBuzz eligible to receive a small commission from your purchase, and helps us to stay online.