Tag Archives: Splatoon 2

REVIEW: Splatoon 2

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Well, this review took me a lot longer to write than I expected. After completing the single-player portion of Splatoon 2 and leveling up my character past level ten, I was hoping to write my review soon after… But it took me longer than I expected to finish the single-player sections in this game. I ended up spending way more time on turf war and ranked matches, as these game modes are where Splatoon 2 shines, and they are very fun. As of this review, I’m level 23, with a decent number of hours logged in both the competitive game modes as well as salmon run, Splatoon 2’s brand new player versus A.I. game mode. With that said, I’ll now share my thoughts on the overall package that is contained in Splatoon 2. Enjoy!

splatoon 2 weapons

Splatoon 2 is a wonderful game to play, featuring enough maps and weapons to keep players hooked for months to come. The core gameplay loop is the same as it was in the first game; players control ‘inklings’ that utilize a vast array of weaponry to cover the map in their team’s ink. This involves inklings shooting at the floors as well as each other in order to prevent the enemy team from inking the map with their own color, but the focus is still firmly placed on covering the map with your own ink. It may just be me, but the maps in Splatoon 2 feel smaller than those found in the first game. This causes firefights to break out more frequently and matches to end closer than before. It’s a change that I wasn’t expecting, but is welcome. In addition to this, most of the weaponry available in the first game is now available in the sequel. This is in stark contrast to the launch of Splatoon 1, where only a few weapons were available from the start, new blasters and brushes becoming available in the months following the game’s release. This gives Splatoon 2 stronger legs to stand up as a complete package, as opposed to the lack of launch-day content that was found in the first game. Nintendo has said they will be providing free updates to the game over time, similar to the way ARMS is handling it, but even if there were no upcoming updates aside from splatfests (the game’s monthly competition between two teams) I’d still be happy with the overall package.

splatoon 2 salmon run

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest new game mode coming to Splatoon 2 is known as salmon run, and after playing many hours of it, I’m convinced that it’s a blast. In most video games, I prefer player versus A.I. matches as opposed to competitive multiplayer, and to see Splatoon 2 receive this treatment is extremely welcome. Overall, it’s a fun game mode that is marred by a few issues. The most obvious of these issues is the widely reported complaint that many players have; online salmon run is only available during specific days and hours of the week, locking entry from those wanting to play outside of the allotted time slots. It’s a real bummer that Nintendo took this approach, as salmon run is a great way to unlock specific loot, and is very fun to boot. Perhaps they will hear fan criticism and respond to this issue, but as of this writing, there are many people that are upset by the decision to lock salmon run gameplay behind specific days of the week, myself included.

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Salmon run features a simple premise of surviving and collecting stage pickups, masked beneath a layer of surprisingly deep complexity as to how players tackle their foes. There are a number of unique boss characters that must be defeated within each round, and the strategy on how to defeat each one differs from one another. The game’s tutorial teaches the basics on how to take down each boss, but I definitely recommend some outside research, because there are more ways to tackle your foes outside of what the game shares. Players will only be able to survive by combining their efforts and communicating on the battlefield, as each person fulfills a specific role each round, depending on which weapon is given to them.

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This is my first gripe with salmon run. I understand the push to give players pre-selected weaponry, but having a poor set of four weapons makes each round more difficult than I think is necessary. I feel like before a round starts, players should have a choice of which weapon they wish to use during that round, so that nobody has to end up using the splat roller or the ink rifle unless they desire it. However, I understand this is a balance decision that makes sense in the game’s surprisingly high difficulty curve. I just don’t enjoy using the splat roller, ink sniper rifle, or any of the brushes for salmon run! I would appreciate a way to avoid using these weapons.

splatoon 2 salmon run boss

Another issue I would like to touch upon is the abundance of bosses that show up during each round. The last thirty seconds of each round in salmon run is often the most hectic, due to the game ramping up the number of on-screen enemies that pelt ink your way to stop you. I feel that the number of enemies present at one time far exceeds a number that are capable of being dealt with, resulting in many frustrating deaths when the entire team is wiped out. My brain’s first response to this thought is simply “well, get good” but in a majority of the games I have played, it seems as if every player on my team had a great deal of difficulty in simply staying alive against the frankly ridiculous number of enemies that flooded the game mode’s rather small survival arena. Some deaths feel a bit unfair, such as when you are killed by a sudden ink airstrike pelted from above. Combined with the other boss attacks, it is often difficult to survive a round without going down at least one time, which I feel is a bit unbalanced in the game’s favor. Despite these issues, I will keep coming back to play more salmon run, because the frustration I’ve felt for these issues pales in comparison to the satisfaction of surviving a game, collecting as many pick-ups as possible and defeating the enemies swarming a team of inklings.

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I admit that I don’t have a whole lot to say about Splatoon 2’s competitive multiplayer portion. As a fan of the first Splatoon, each of the game modes in the sequel offer fun gameplay with a satisfying unlock system of receiving experience and currency, used to purchase new weapons and gear. If you were a fan of the first game, the sequel probably will not disappoint; likewise, if you did not enjoy the first game, the sequel doesn’t do a substantial amount to differ itself from the first game. However, there are a few big points that I would like to mention. The special abilities offered to players are much more satisfying this time around, rewarding timing and skill to pull off. Whereas in the first Splatoon the special skills on display felt a bit all over the place, some being extremely useful while others were lackluster, every special ability in Splatoon 2 has a meaningful use in battle. The tenta rockets are a favorite of mine, especially when playing splat zones, and the drop attack special ability is satisfying every time. The all-new maps are great, although I wish more of the elements featured in the single player portion of the game were also available in online multiplayer. The speed ramps and grind rails feel like they’d make a fine addition to the hectic online battles, but these exciting new interactive objects only make an appearance outside of multiplayer. This feels like a missed opportunity, especially when comparing the differences between Splatoon 1 and 2’s multiplayer. Despite this, online matches are a fun time, and searching for other players is usually a fast process. The lack of an exit button in the matchmaking menu is a bit bizarre, as is the inability to switch weapons and gear in between matches, but the core gameplay loop of inking enemy turf while taking down your foes is just as satisfying as it was in the first game.

splatoon 2 grind rail

Now that I’m finished giving my thoughts on the multiplayer portion of Splatoon 2, I’ll dive right into why I’m slightly disappointed with the single player sections in this game. Overall, the single player levels are better than most campaigns found in other first and third person shooters on the market. Most levels are memorable, each featuring fun and unique interactive objects while providing satisfying shooting and platforming action. The story is rather light, but this is similar to how it was told in the first game, and is not all that surprising. Most of the boss fights are great fun, especially world four’s boss fight, which takes advantage of the game’s smart implementation of vertical space. After the simply awesome final boss battle in the first Splatoon, I was expecting an equally exciting final battle in the sequel; unfortunately I was left disappointed, as the last fight features an all too familiar strategy to beating the game’s boss, similar to the first Splatoon’s final boss. The single player also doesn’t introduce any new supporting characters, like the first Splatoon’s Captain Cuttlefish, instead relying on Marie and Sheldon to tell the story. Each of the new characters are instead featured in Splatoon 2’s plaza, where the player goes to purchase new gear and access the game’s various playable modes. The ending of the single player is still satisfying, if totally unsurprising, and rewarding online multiplayer rewards for completing the single player is a great incentive for playing through it.

 

Splatoon 2 is a great game, complete with a satisfying single player story mode, cooperative survival matches, and the same great online multiplayer action that fans have come to expect from the series. It feels like Nintendo played it a bit safe for this sequel, but the same tight action and some fantastic new music is on offer for a fresh experience. The inclusion of “miiverse 2” also known as the in-game user drawings found in the main plaza is also a great inclusion, providing many laughs and some impressive art (I’ll share a couple of my favorites down below). New abilities and weaponry introduced in the future ensure I’ll be playing Splatoon 2 for many months to come! 

splatoon 2 speeding ticketsplatoon 2 closed mall

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Hey, all. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading my review. If there’s anything in this write-up that you think could use improvement, please feel welcome to share your thoughts! I’m always looking to improve my writing. Have a great week!

 

  • Matt
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Nintendo Has Officially Sold Me On “ARMS”

Hey folks, Matt here. I watched the Arms-focused Nintendo direct from the other day, and I wanted to share a few thoughts here.

Arms direct

When Arms was first revealed back in January for the Switch, I was intrigued but not immediately sold on the concept. The character designs were solid, the stages looked fun, and the mechanic of swinging multiple variants of arms forward to strike down your opponent seemed satisfying, but I still did not feel much anticipation to learn more about the title.

 

Fast-forward to May 17th, when Nintendo revealed more fighters, stages, the game’s business model moving forward, and types of arms to choose from in battle, and my excitement level for the game’s release has skyrocketed.

 

First up, Nintendo is planning free content packs to come to Arms shortly after the game’s launch, similarly to what they did with Splatoon back on the Wii U. As long as there’s a steady trickle of content coming to players, I am a big fan of this plan for the game’s future. I thought it worked wonderfully for Splatoon, as it kept me invested in the game for months after the game’s launch, and I imagine it will work similarly well for Arms as well as Splatoon 2, which should also be taking advantage of a steady stream of free content. Any free additions and improvements to a video game’s online community is often welcome because it keeps the online community of that game intact, and thus improves the game’s online longevity. I am very happy to see Nintendo is embracing this ideology with more of their games moving forward. Now release some more tracks in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe! (I don’t see this realistically happening, but you never know, especially with Nintendo).

master mummy

I think the thing that impresses me the most about Arms are the fighters that make up the game’s roster. You’ve got your standard boxer in shorts and a t-shirt, as well as a ninja that can disappear in a cloud of smoke, and a… Mummy? That hops around the battlefield and hurls purple spike balls at you? And to top it all off, his name is Master Mummy. Huh, I suppose the fighters in this game are pretty different from other fighting game characters, in a good way. Every character appears to offer a unique approach to combat, with some of them focusing on dodging quickly on the ground or in mid-air, and others favoring a full-on assault with their increased power armor and heavily damaging attacks. However, if you ask me, none of these fighters compare to two of the three characters that were revealed in yesterday’s Nintendo direct.

 

 

I’m talking, of course, about Twintelle, as well as Byte and Barq.

Twintelle

Twintelle is the internet’s latest craze, offering some… Interesting variety in the game’s visual department. She’s got curves that rival Bayonetta’s and her hair holds boxing gloves used to smash other fighters’ faces in. Oh yeah, and in that promotional shot, she’s sipping tea while floating in mid-air. If that’s not bad ass, I don’t know what is. If you do a quick Google search of Twintelle, you will find a number of fan art pieces that capture all of the reasons why people enjoy Twintelle’s design in Arms.

 

All sexy fighter jokes aside, I think Twintelle looks like a fun addition to the roster with a unique take on her ‘arms’ that are used to dish out combos. I’m looking forward to playing as her in the final game, and possibly in the free demo for Arms that is set to be playable in over a week’s time. Check out Nintendo’s Twitter account for the date and times to play it!

 

I also really dig the design and character philosophy behind the game’s other unique addition, Byte and Barq. This robot police officer and his dog act as the game’s duo fighters, similar in some respect to Ferra and Torr from Mortal Kombat X. While the player controls Byte and dishes out hits toward their opponent, Barq is able to move around the battlefield and distract the opponent with his own attacks. This is just my own guess, but I think that the way this is balanced is by Byte’s attack power being lower than other fighters’ to account for his robotic little buddy. I could be wrong, but we’ll be able to confirm or deny this guess when the game releases in June! I’m a sucker for dogs in video games, and well, dogs in general, so Byte and Barq immediately piqued my interest.

byte and barq

I think if Nintendo keeps this momentum going and shows off some of the things that will come to the game post-launch, Arms will be poised to be the Switch’s next big hit game, similar to how Splatoon was a big win for the Wii U. Although I was hesitant on the motion controls at first, all hands-on reactions from players testing out the game have confirmed that throwing out attacks and dodging in Arms is an accurate and quite satisfying experience, which couldn’t make me happier. Let’s hope it all leads to a major success when the game releases in June.

 

Be sure to look at Nintendo’s Twitter account for the date and time on when you can try out Arms for yourself on your own Nintendo Switch! I’m certainly looking forward to it. Oh, and before I forget: LISTEN TO THIS SONG.  It is so damn good. I imagine this will be the game’s main theme, and it makes me extremely hyped to play the final release of Arms

Arms global testpunch

Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a wonderful weekend. 

  • Matt

Oh, by the way, I don’t know if anyone will see this, but if you have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and would like to have some races/battles online this weekend, feel free to let me know! I’ll share my friend code here.

Can’t Stop Thinking About Nintendo Switch!

Hey folks, Matt here. I had the sudden urge to write about a few places that have written solid coverage of the Nintendo Switch and its launch day, which is rapidly approaching! We are 32 days until launch, March 3rd, and I am very excited to get my hands on the system. I’ve been reading system impressions, thoughts on the new control inputs, and have watched a few of the new game trailers numerous times; most notably Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s newest trailer, which I’ve probably seen at least 7 times by now. The music is so good!

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Anyway, I wanted to give a shout-out to a couple of sources that have provided me with ample information to satiate my hunger for Switch knowledge. First up is a NeoGaf user who attended PAX this year, and was able to get a thorough hands-on of the system and its upcoming games. I’ll link his blog post right here, it’s a great read and there’s a few pictures provided to break up each paragraph.

One of my most anticipated titles of this year is Splatoon 2, and as a big fan of the first game, the sequel looks to expand upon everything I enjoyed about the original Splatoon. Being able to see your teammate’s loadouts at the top of the screen during matches is a nice touch, and all of the new special weapons and maps that they’ve shown off look very fun. Also, the ability to change weapons mid-match is a long overdue but welcome addition. With this in mind, this post from a different NeoGaf user with extensive information on Splatoon 2 has got me thinking about the exciting possibilities that the game holds. I’ll link the post right here.

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Lastly, I’d like to mention a YouTube channel that has recently got me hooked. The channel, known as Spawn Wave, has posted some interesting videos about the Switch, as well as other gaming news, and it’s helped the wait for March 3rd feel a bit less painful. Definitely give this channel a shot if you’re interested in some casual discussion about recent Switch news!

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. Hope you’re all having a great weekend, and an even better time waiting for Switch goodness.

Thanks for reading!

  • Matt

THOUGHTS ON: Nintendo Switch – The Lead-Up to Launch

Hey everyone, hope all of you are doing well. I have to admit, after writing my last blog post, I felt relieved to get some of my personal thoughts off my chest. I don’t often share that sort of stuff, and I think writing it down helped me a lot, so thanks to anyone who read it.

Anyway, let’s get moving on to the next topic! This one is all about the Nintendo Switch.

switch

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the huge blow-out event for the Nintendo Switch recently aired, showing off plenty of new information about the system. We got to hear about the launch line-up, system price, future software, and system features. However, I’m not going to go into the general specifications here, because plenty of other outlets have already reported on it. Instead, I’m just going to provide a few of my thoughts on the system and its potential in Nintendo’s future.

My first feeling after the presentation concluded could be described as disappointment. The launch day software was thinner than I anticipated, and the pricing of accessories to compliment the Switch appear more expensive than any of us had imagined. I still hold these same feelings of disappointment on accessory pricing, but the price of the system itself is pretty much what I expected. I’m still impressed at the sort of technology that Nintendo was able to cram into the device. My thoughts on the system overall have remained positive. If the software that Nintendo promised for 2017 remains on lock to release this year, then we have a strong first year coming to the Switch. Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Arms, Xenoblade 2, and more titles in addition to these making their way to the system in the first year would be a huge gain for Nintendo. I’m very happy with the software that has been shown to be coming soon, but it all depends on if Nintendo stays true to their word and releases these games on time.

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More than delaying these games until a later date, there is something else that worries me about the Switch. It isn’t the hardware pricing, the lack of free online multiplayer, or a drought of software; it is the potential that Nintendo will decide to create another dedicated handheld device. Until the presentation’s debut, the Switch had been marketed extremely well by Nintendo, and made many of us believe that this new system would replace both the home console and handheld system line for Nintendo’s future. This is a move that I’ve been waiting years for; no longer do people have to shell out money for multiple systems in order to play Nintendo’s newest software. All they would need is a Switch purchase, and boom, they’ve got a nice lineup of Nintendo’s catalog available. However, if Nintendo feels that the Switch is not selling well enough, they may feel tempted to come up with a secondary system, one that focuses exclusively on handheld games, as opposed to the Switch’s capabilities as a home console and a handheld system. In my opinion, this would be the worst decision that the company could make with the Switch. Although I still plan on purchasing a Switch day one, (I have a pre-order locked in) I would still feel annoyed if a new system were to be introduced, after Nintendo’s heavy messaging that this system is the best of both worlds. With all of Nintendo’s efforts focused on the Switch (and for some months to come, the 3DS) the company would be able to direct all of their team’s’ efforts toward developing games on that system, instead of dividing software between a handheld and home console. In theory, this would give the system a steady stream of new software, convincing more people that the Switch is worth purchasing, and reassure them that they don’t need to buy a second system in order to enjoy all of Nintendo’s offerings. It’s too early to tell if Nintendo will double down its efforts on the Switch, foregoing their traditional handheld offerings, but I certainly hope they remain solely focused on the Switch and bring even more compelling games to the system.

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The slow trickle of information since the presentation’s conclusion has made the wait for March 3rd all the more difficult, but it won’t be long now. Despite some of the negativity in this post, I am looking extremely forward to launch day. Right now I’ve only got Zelda and Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth + planned for purchase, because, well, the other launch day offerings don’t cater to my interests. Still, if there’s any game that I’ve felt is worth buying a system day-one for, it’s Zelda. Binding of Isaac is also a nice plus, because I never got around to playing the latest two expansions. Having sunk many hours into both original Isaac as well as Rebirth, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new.

How do you feel about the Switch? Plan on picking one up soon, waiting for the game software to grow, or never plan on buying it? Feel free to let me know! Thanks for reading, guys.

  • Matt

About Me, Nintendo Switch, and What I’ve Been Playing

Hey folks, Matt here. I realize I’ve been absent from here a little while now – that appears to be becoming the norm! Hopefully that won’t be the case this time. However, I wanted to elaborate on why I tend to disappear from time to time. In a bit of a selfish way, it’ll also be a cathartic experience for myself writing about my past and present.

 

I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. I’ve visited multiple therapists, each one providing a growing experience for me as I’ve found it easier to talk about my personal thoughts and feelings. I think a lot of people underestimate how difficult it can be for others to open up about their personal issues – it isn’t always a simple thing to do, because people are complex. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in our minds; some of it is triggered by external events or difficulties in life, and other times, people just feel upset or stressed out for seemingly no reason (myself included). These are difficult things to deal with, but therapy and prescribed medication has brought me a long way since I first started seeing my most recent therapist.

 

My lowest point was a few years back, with what feels like a lifetime ago. In 2014, I lost nearly every friend that I had made during my time spent away from home at university. I had worked hard to maintain friendships that I thought would last for years to come because of how strong they felt, but it all came crashing down in the early months of 2014. Without going into detail, to put it simply, I felt I had been betrayed by the people I spent many days laughing and confiding personal thoughts with. I began failing my courses, consumed with an overwhelming feeling of dread and sadness in the state I found myself in. Where I once felt I belonged in a community of people who accepted me, I felt isolated from nearly everyone I had come to know.

 

There were a couple of people who stuck with me, despite my low point, and I won’t soon forget what they did to help me. I wish I could again express my appreciation to them for their support during my rough point. If you’re reading this, I hope you know who you are!

 

A quarter of the way through the Spring semester, I decided to drop out of university, because I did not want my grades to suffer. My family was very supportive of this decision, and I have lived at home since then, slowly gaining a stronger feeling of confidence and working hard at giving myself a better mindset. I have accepted that the people I once knew will most likely not show up in my life again, and embraced it. Making new friends is challenging, but I know there are assuredly people out there that are willing to get to know me, as I would for them. It’s all about finding the people you can connect with, and sticking with ‘em.

 

Anyway, to wrap this up, I still deal with anxiety and depression, but I have significantly improved since my days away at school. I’ve held a couple of stressful jobs that have built character, dealt with loss and betrayal, and grown in more ways than I expected. All I hope is that the coming days will provide even more growing experiences with plenty of opportunity around each corner.

So! Moving that personal stuff to the side… I watched the Nintendo Switch presentation last night. It started at 11PM EST for me, as I live in the tri-state area.

switch-dog

Some quick thoughts: Overall, I feel a bit disappointed. The Switch still looks to be a compelling piece of hardware, with some solid hit games on the horizon (Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2 are some of my biggest anticipated Nintendo titles) but I’m concerned about the lack of compelling launch software. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild almost makes up for other compelling games at the system’s release, and I’m very surprised and pleased by the March 3rd release date, but I was hoping we would see Mario Kart 8: Deluxe show up alongside Zelda, or possibly Arms make its debut sooner than Summer of 2017. Despite this, I still feel somewhat tempted to grab a system Day One, and thankfully I was able to secure a system pre-order at my local Best Buy earlier today. I don’t yet know if I’ll go through with the final purchase, but we’ll see how I feel leading up to launch.

 

The price of new joy-con and the pro controller is disappointing, and the news that Nintendo will begin charging for online multiplayer is something that I was most afraid to hear. I fear that Splatoon 2’s online community will suffer because of the forced paywall to access the online portion, but only time will tell if people are willing to cough up more money to play online.

 

Thankfully, other Nintendo games like Mario and Zelda don’t appear to require online multiplayer capabilities to be enjoyable, so they won’t rely heavily on the online connectivity as much as Splatoon 2 most likely will, from early indication.

 

So, to summarize:

 

Pros:
– Cool future software (Mario, Splatoon 2, Arms)

– Earlier release date than I expected

– Zelda hitting Day One

– $300 price point is about what I expected

 

Cons:

– Eventual online multiplayer paywall

– Lack of compelling software beyond Mario, Splatoon 2, and Arms (where is Pikmin, Metroid, Retro Studios’ new game, or other new IP?)

– High price of additional peripherals ($70 for a pro controller $80 for a new set of joy-con sounds a bit absurd)

 

Overall, it was an okay presentation, not as great as I was hoping. At least we have a city in Super Mario Odyssey named New Donk City. I enjoy the silly names that Nintendo gives their in-game locations and characters.

 

Bye for now! I hope to post again this weekend.

 

Oh, almost forgot to mention. I’ve been playing a lot of Final Fantasy 15. The music is super good. Fun game so far, I’m on chapter 11, and look to finish it very soon. I’d like to write a review upon finishing it.

Oh yeah, and I continue to be engrossed by Titanfall 2’s multiplayer portion. I’m up to my eighth regeneration. Help. All right, bye now, for real!

lego-titanfall

  • Matt