Back in the days of the Wii U, Splatoon came out to moderate success. The main flaw of the game was the platform not being suited to it and being woefully unpopular. With the rise of the Switch, it was the perfect time for a second wind and Splatoon 2 served as that. Splatoon 2 is an online focused third person shooter with many unique mechanics to make it its own, and now that it’s finished with all of its updates it is prime time to review it in its complete state.
The plot of Splatoon 2 is nothing special. Just like in the first game, humans are long extinct, with the world now being dominated by squid human hybrids known as Inklings. These Inklings main sport is battling with ink based weapons in turf wars, with it being a central part of Inkling culture. The player character can decide to go into a manhole, where you will meet Marie, one of the two idols who were prominent in the original. Her sister, Callie, is missing and the Octarian army, a race of underground dwelling octopi seem to be behind it all. This section of the plot is fairly simple, but there is an additional side story DLC. This DLC, the Octo Expansion, follows an Octoling player character who finds themselves in a mysterious subway area, free from brainwashing. They begin to search for a way to escape and reach the surface.
The story of Splatoon 2 is simple. Any twists are seen from a mile away, and nothing about it is particularly interesting. The Octo Expansion is definitely the better story, and by digging into the text of optional collectibles you can learn about the world but overall it really isn’t anything special, simply serving as a means to an end. It’s not the main focus of the game by any means, but it does what it needs to.
Graphically this game is excellent. It maintains the same aesthetic from the original, being very funky. The graffiti look works well for this game, with the vibrant colors making it extremely eye catching. The character designs are creative and bold as well, creating a lovable style that makes the entire game pop. In story mode the environments are massively varied and creative, with you progressively going deeper into absurd territory. The in game maps you play on are less intense, although their layouts are much better for combat while still looking great. The color of your ink contrasts strongly with the enemy ink, making an effect that really gets you invested in the game.
The gameplay is where this Splatoon 2 truly shines. From the beginning it is clear that this is not your average shooter. The game mode that you first get access to is Turf War, the main mode of the game. Here the goal is not to eliminate your opponents, although that does help, but to cover more ground than the other team. This changes how you play the game drastically. Do you prioritize support, covering side paths and painting missed ground, or do you go into the mainland and fight the other team?
The differing weapons help in this. You can choose from various classes. Shooters are the most basic, rapid fire weapons that are good all around. Rollers let you cover a lot of ground but give you bad combat range. Chargers let you snipe from afar but are suboptimal for painting. Sloshers let you attack over walls but take a lot of ink to use. Splatlings let you charge up devastating rounds but being caught off guard can be certain death. Dualies let you roll around to evade attacks but require you to get close for damage. Brellas let you defend yourself and your team with a shield, but aren’t great at head on fights. Blasters let you unleash strong explosive shots at an infrequent rate. All of these weapons have strengths and weaknesses, so experimenting is the only way to see what is right for you. Each weapon has a sub weapon and special weapon, which add even more to the strategy of which to choose. There are many combinations, and finding the right one for you is integral to success.
Beyond Turf War you can access Ranked Battle. This features 4 additional modes with their own more competitive spin on the formula. Splat Zones has each team try to maintain control of a small central zone by covering it. Rainmaker places a golden gun on the field that shoots slow explosive shots, with each team trying to pick it up and take it to the other side of the map. Tower Control has teams attempting to ride a tower to the other side of the map. Clam Blitz scatters clamshells all over the map, with players needing to pick them up and throw them into the opponents goal while defending their own. All 4 of these modes emphasize complex strategy and team play more, as you need a strong defense and offense to succeed. The stakes are also higher, considering you have a rank bar that you can raise and lower based on wins and losses. These modes are definitely more fun and complex, and are my personal favorite parts of the game.
Overall Splatoon 2 is a great game. It builds of everything the first did and creates an engaging game in both singleplayer and multiplayer. The online is a highlight, with every mode being fun and strategic. The biggest problem is that getting the most out of this game will be costly, as you need to have an online subscription and the single player expansion is DLC. Despite this, Splatoon 2 is well worth the investment and is one of the better games on the Switch right now.