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Written by Dustin Murphy
+Short matches that are well paced for players of all ages
+Team-work is capable of being done even without a form of communication
+Buttery smooth frame rate at 1080p that is highlighted by an enjoyable soundtrack
+Ranks cap out at 20 and do not feature a “Prestige” option
+Character customizations are fun and rather enjoyable
–Limited maps based upon daily map rotation
–Some content is locked behind the Inkling amiibo’s, which causes real world money spending
–Lack of multiplayer control such as exiting a lobby while in queue is problematic
It’s hard to break the dullness that has become the online shooter genre, a dullness that is congested with Battlefield, Call of Duty, and other online shooters. However, there is one little ray of light that has managed to shine a bright light from within the darkness and because of this little gem I picked it up, played it, and found myself entranced by the games charming ways. Welcome to Splatoon, a game that will set people loose in a world where fragging other players is not at the forefront like it is with hyper-realistic titles such as Battlefield and Call of Duty. In this charming game we are introduced to a race of creatures that players will take on the role of known as Inklings. Like any species, the Inklings come in both male and female genders, which is something players will be introduced to when creating their character.
Once a character is created and the first story mission completed there is quite a bit of fun to be had due to the sheer creativity behind this title. Be it through the multiplayer mode called Turf War where or through the ranked modes called Tower Control and Splat Zones. Unlike most shooters, Splatoon does not emphasize on shooting other players, but instead of taking over territory by inking as possible. While doing so players will notice several things that can be done including splatting each other in order to temporarily remove each other from the linking combat. Unfortunately there is one trend that can be noticed when players aren’t wandering through Inkopolis. Like any of the modes, Tower Control is the fun one where players will find themselves fighting over a singular tower that will move towards the enemy base as long as they have control over it. By splatting it with their teams ink color, they will find themselves able to hide and maneuver easily around it when they aren’t being pelted by enemies while maneuvering across the map.
Platform(s): Nintedo Wii U
Publisher: Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development
Developer: Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development
Cost: 59.99 USD (Game), amiibo’s 12.99 to 29.99 USD (not required)
Release Date: Now Available
In Splat Zones teams fight for specified zones on each map in order to hold down the map and collect the points needed in order to win. As players fight for each of these zones, they will find their team gaining points over time as the match begins to wind get underway. Outside of that players will find many of the skills they learned in the basic game mode such as controlling territories, splatting enemies, and ultimately showing who has the better teamwork mechanics in this voice chatless title. When looking away from the franchises that have helped define the genre that Splatoon is apart of, it’s easy to forget that this game is part of a genre that has been filled with visceral images, realism, or war like scenarios that it simply steps back, takes the focus away from killing, I mean splatting each other, and becomes a game that focuses on its main concept as well as gimmick that makes the game friendly, but also quite enjoyable: territory control also known as tug-o-war. Thanks to the Wii U’s Gamepad there are a few simple mechanics we’ve become so accustomed to that at times they’d almost feel like a hinderance versus a tactical advantage like calling out where enemies are using voice chat. While I’m one that has found away from the common piece of gaming programming, I’ve found myself rather happy with the lack of voice chat due to the modern day of virulent foul language that has begun to plague gaming, name calling, and trash talk. While it would be nice to be able to call out where my team mates are, Nintendo has inventively done away with this thanks to the games constant splashing of opposing color’s flying across the screen in glorified brightness.
Much like many other games, the online lobbies are filled with eight players in total, which sets four players against four in an oddly setup matchmaking system that won’t let players back out once they have officially queued up. This works out in a difficult manners as players will find themselves in a platforming minigame where they are jumping as an inkling in order to keep from falling off the map as it goes up on them. Much like other shooter titles, players are unable to see what their enemies are using or even change their very own loadout. The only way you can change it? Head back to Inkopolis once your lobby is over or you’ve managed to somehow exit the game without pulling the plug on your Wii U.
While the design choice is understandable, it’s frustrating to see that Nintendo cut a few extra corners to make sure the game works, which is a bit dumbfounding for that matter. The unfortunate side to both of these design choices? You can’t even see what you’re about to go up against until it’s too late. For example? Imagine going into a lobby where three out of your four teammates are running around with ink rollers while you are the only ranged person with a 52 Gal or a Aerospray MG. Either way? Your team is in trouble unless one of them has a Kraken they can call forth and deliver a hefty blow against the opposing forces. This would be one example of the many possible where equipment pre-set loadouts would have been nice in Nintendo’s ultimate design choice of the game. After all, even Call of Duty does this and has been for a while. Come on Nintendo, it’s 2015.
When stepping away from Nintendo’s addicting multiplayer and its minor frustrations, players are left with two options – unfortunately both are almost identical. Players have the choices of going through the solo campaign where players can take the battle to their opposing enemies the Octarians and rescue The Great Zapfish or they can take on the challenges of the game by simply grabbing a inkling boy, inkling girl, or simply a Inkling Squid amiibo, going through specially modified missions only to hash it out once more with the Octarians while using specialized weapons for each mission. Doing this they will unlock bonus coins, special costumes, and even some nice little weapons along the way, but the question coming down the rail will be expected – is this worth the buy since the game is 59.99 USD and 34.99 for the triple pack of amiibo’s? The long story short is that it completely comes down to the buyer, but the game itself alone is an enjoyable experience that gamers of all ages will enjoy endlessly in the upcoming years.
Our review is based upon the released and currently up-to-date version of the game we as a company have purchased. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over onTwitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.