Playing Splatoon 3 is like shattering back in 2015. When I’m in the middle of a turf war battle surrounded by squid kids and watching the field look like a starburst, all of a sudden the world doesn’t fire, TikTok isn’t a thing yet, and I’m 25 years old and in shambles. I am not looking down the barrel. [Editor’s Note: Yes, we hate him too]
Splatoon’s ability to take me back to a much simpler time is unlike anything else in gaming, but it’s a double-edged sword. I appreciate this not wanting to cry over the state of the world all of a sudden, but going back so far it’s clear that Splatoon 3 doesn’t do much new. For a veteran of the series like me, I’m just more than happy to play Splatoon, but I also wish it had done more to feel worthy of the big three next to its name — it didn’t do anything. It has shaken the feeling that Splatoon is better suited for the live-service format, even if Nintendo denies it.
TheGAMER today’s video
RELATED: Indie Developers Are Keeping Classic Nintendo Games Alive
Although multiplayer has always been Splatoon’s main focus, its single-player campaigns are still a big part of the experience, and the same holds true for the latest game, which is easily the biggest ever in the series. It’s structured similarly to the previous two games with individual fast-paced levels that test your platforming and inking skills, but this time with a lot more unique side-missions and collectibles to find outside of the main quest, if you’re a fan of the game. Got an inkling to find out.
As these levels let players experience Splatoon in a different way than covering a map with ink, it could do more. Aside from Smallfry, a new companion character that helps you get rid of fuzz around the map, and the occasional use of a few new special moves, I’m having a hard time thinking of anything that will play out in Splatoon 3’s campaign. It does what seems unique to it and not something we’ve seen in the last two games.
I wasn’t expecting something as challenging and unique as Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion, but it looks like what we’ve been seeing since 2015. More Splatoon is never a bad thing, but it’s a shame that it doesn’t live up to Octo Expansion and feels more in line with previous campaigns.
Thankfully, single-player is a little bit of Splatoon, and the real meat of the experience is multiplayer, and always has been. Although, unfortunately we didn’t have unlimited access to all modes before launch (probably a good thing for my social life), I did manage about five hours in sessions with other journalists, enough to know that Splatoon The multiplayer of . still absolutely slaps .
Turf War, Splatoon’s bread and butter in which you and another team are trying to cover as much of the stage as possible for as long as you remember it. While the lack of change is a bit disappointing for the rest of Splatoon 3, it works here because it was already practically perfect. Even seven years after the first game’s release, there’s nothing quite like playing Turf War. Whether you’re the Aerospray MG-wielding hero who saves the match, the diligent Duelize user focused on moving quickly around the terrain, or the splatoon equivalent of a housekeeper who inks the parts of the stage that everyone is ahead of. In rises and drops, every single match is a blast and the best thing Nintendo has ever done in the online space.
The biggest change to Turf War is the addition of new specials, something that was a weak point in previous games. However, they are a total game-changer, as are the fantastic ReefSlider that lets you slide in enemies like Mobile Bombs or the Beef Crab Tank that lets you briefly climb a mech. There are also more support-style specials like the Tacticalr giving buffs that make things feel more balanced by letting players focus less on combat.
Sadly, I wasn’t a big fan of either of the two new weapons that were added. The Splatana is good for combat, but feels like a big step down from other melee weapons in terms of inking the area, and the bow and arrow-esque tri-stringer is a bit slow and cumbersome. While Splatoon 2 only introduced two major new weapons, the Brella and Dualies, both of them feel far more unique and still feel more useful than the ones introduced here.
Besides Turf War, Salmon Run is Splatoon’s other big multiplayer mode, and is essentially a combat-heavy mob offering. Overall, it looks like any of the game modes have seen minimal changes, apart from some new Superbosses and the ability to throw eggs into the basket from afar. Even with that, it’s still Splatoon’s Marmite mode and the fun you’ll have with it will depend entirely on who you team up with. Still, at least now you can play it whenever you want, which makes it feel like it’s less of a bonus mode and a core part of Splatoon.
While there isn’t much that’s different about Splatoon 3, it’s the little quality of life that will be most appreciated by fans. Newscasts can now be listened to while you’re on the go, instead of taking a good five minutes of your time, Salmon Run is no longer a timed mode, future maps can be viewed in the options menu, and there are a few other minor changes. Make everything smooth. By themselves, none of these changes are major, but when combined they make a huge difference and save a lot of time, making Splatoon 3 the least intrusive game to play in the series so far. .
Even with that badge on, there are still some Splatoon-isms that feel outdated in 2022. We can now see the next few sets of stages in the pause menu, but having only two every couple of hours feels like an extreme Nintendo misunderstanding of the online system and gets old pretty fast, especially with two-minute matches that last longer. blurred into each other. Getting the same map four times in a row or seeing a stage you want to play set for a certain time period for which you weren’t going to be online makes Splatoon feel like work, and it’s shocking. That it still works that way, especially with how many major changes have been made throughout.
Thanks to its great multiplayer, quality of life changes, and great single-player, Splatoon 3 is undoubtedly the best game in the series. It won’t change anyone’s mind if they don’t already love the series and are essentially just more Splatoon, but I’d be at a loss if that’s a bad thing.
Psychonauts 2 is available on Nintendo Switch. The review code was provided by the publisher.
Next: Five Video Game Characters Who Would Make A Better Prime Minister Than Liz Truss