I’ve been a Splatoon-head ever since the original Splatoon was released on the Wii U. In fact, that’s one of the few games I actually played on my Wii U (see also Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Yoshi’s Wooly World and Super Mario Maker). I got my Wii U late in its life cycle, but still preferred to play my games elsewhere.
With the introduction of Splatoon, Nintendo found a way to give the popular “Online Shooter” genre a fun, family-friendly tone. The Splatoon games feature a few online modes, where the main objective is to cover everything in paint. In the main “Turf War” mode, players battle it out to ink the most turf. You may also ink each other — taking opponents out of the match for a few seconds — although that is not the main purpose of the game.
Last year, after spending over 100+ hours in Splatoon 2, I decided to dust off the old Wii U and give the original Splatoon a try. In my mind, the game hadn’t changed all that much from the original to the sequel. After jumping back in to Splatoon (Wii U), I noticed just how smooth Splatoon 2 felt. Also, the paint looks way fresher in the sequel — I do remember the fresh, bright paint being the first thing that stood out to me when I first picked up Splatoon 2 (Nintendo Switch).
[My Splatoon vs Splatoon 2 comparison from March 2021]
Splatoon 3 Splatfest World Premiere Takeaways
This past Saturday, during the 12-hour Splatoon 3 Splatfest World Premiere (aka Pre-Splat-a-thon), my girlfriend and I spent pretty much the whole day playing matches of Splatoon 3. Splatoon 2 was one of our top pandemic games, so we are very excited about Splatoon 3.
What I first noticed is that from Splatoon 2 to Splatoon 3 there aren’t too many changes, gameplay-wise.
Two weeks ago, I booted up Splatoon 2 (after pre-ordering Splatoon 3) to finally give the Octo Expansion a try, since it was a free gift to Nintendo Switch Online members earlier in the year. While I didn’t get too involved with the original Splatoon 2 campaign mode, I wish I would have gotten into the Octo Expansion earlier.
With Splatoon 3 coming next week I don’t see myself continuing with the Octo Expansion, however it does give me hope for the Splatoon 3 campaign. Splatoon 2 came to the Nintendo Switch five years ago, and still I didn’t have to wait too long to get into online matches that day.
I guess my main question is do we really need a Splatoon 3 right now? Could Nintendo just have refreshed Splatoon 2? Could they have just given us a few more Splatfests?
Sure, a refresh and some extra content could have brought some players back to the world of Splatoon 2, but it has been five years. During this weekend’s Splatoon 3 Splatfest World Premiere I didn’t notice any huge differences in the game. Mostly minor changes, but I’m sure the full release will give us more. I also still need to go back to Splatoon 2 now, while the new gameplay is still fresh in my mind.
What I’ve seen (and like) about Splatoon 3 is that there seems to be an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality to the game’s development. There were many changes from Splatoon to Splatoon 2, but it still remained the same base game — paint the most turf to win. I think this is a good philosophy to have, for certain games. Developers don’t have to think, “Ok, how do we change or make this bigger and better” for the sequel. Certain features and mechanics can remain the same because that’s what the players love about the game.
Three-team Splatfests are an exciting and different idea, and allow for added types of matches — including the new Tri-color matches which I loved once I understood what was happening. During the Splatfest World Premiere I had the chance to try out some brand new weapons, but I stuck mostly with my main weapon from both previous games — the Aerospray. We’ve always seen new, wild card weapons get added to the arsenal and whether they’re for me or not, I’m just happy that they exist.
Although I did not see my favorite ultimate (Splashdown), I did become a fan of a new ultimate — the dolphin rider. It’s sort of like a sniper splashdown, where you ride your dolphin towards a destination and explode paint there or somewhere along the way. It also happens to be the one video I captured from the weekend.
So, do we need a new Splatoon yet? I’m not sure.
Am I excited about Splatoon 3? For sure, and you should be too. I mean I pre-ordered it a few weeks ago. I was never skeptical of a new Splatoon game, I just realized that Splatoon 2 is still a great game. I guess when it comes to games like Call of Duty and other big online shooters, they usually change those out every year. At least we’ll be able to enjoy Splatoon 3 for the next five years, possibly longer.
Splatoon 3 is coming to Nintendo Switch next Friday, September 9th.
Here are the results from the Splatoon 3 Splatfest World Premiere. We chose team Paper, the least popular team (by a longshot) yet still managed to come in second place.