I never played the original Splatoon. Actually, I never had a Wii U. My wife and I considered getting one a couple of years ago - before the announce of the Switch, of course. But for some reason we never did bite the bullet. We were going to make it our anniversary gift to each other at the time, and went to Target and played Mario Kart 8 on the little kiosk. But I don't know. I couldn't seem to find enough Wii U games to make me feel like the purchase was all that justified. And eventually we decided to just buy a gazebo as our anniversary gift.
When Splatoon 2 was announced for Switch, everyone was raving about it. I just assumed those were Wii U owners who loved the first, so it didn't really do much to my interest level. To be totally honest, it looked like a sort of shooter for kids in my book. I mean... it was a game about shooting ink. It really didn't grab my attention at all. I should point out that when Splatoon 2 was released I was pretty heavy into both Overwatch and Paladins - two other competitive team based shooters. So not only did I feel like I had enough of this sort of game in my life (and I still do), but it reinforced my feeling that Splatoon 2 was for kids.
But people still raved about Splatoon 2. It was inescapable. Here we are a year later and people are still talking about the damn game. It's just now received a huge expansion called the Octo Expansion which adds 80-something levels of a single player campaign. Plus, there are some very cute Amiibos related to this game. It felt like maybe I was missing out on something big. Maybe just maybe I was missing a game that I'd really enjoy.
Well it turns out that I should learn to just listen to my gut sometimes. Because I grabbed a copy of Splatoon 2 in time for my summer vacation this year and y'know what? It's not for me. I'm not saying that it is for kids... but still, it's not for me. When I first fired the game up I was thrown into the lobby and... I don't even know. It made no sense to me where I was even supposed to go. My wife and I played through the little tutorial thing and then some single player levels by passing the controller back and forth. She quickly become uninterested, and I guess I wasn't surprised as competitive shooters have never been her jam. I tried to play a bit on my own and realized that the motion controls were really fucking me up so I turned them off and it was a little better. But my interest just wasn't there. The single player stuff to me felt pretty boring.
Boring and frustrating. I should point out that in a game like this I HATE the third person perspective. Dicking around with the camera never feels good to me. And I just vastly prefer the feel of a first person shooter. That's (partly) why Overwatch and Paladins are far more appealing. But I spent some time doing battle with the camera and it just never felt very fun. I admit that the bright neon pink and green aesthetic was fun and cute. But I just wasn't having a good time.
Things only got worse when I took the game online. Maybe it's no surprise by getting tangled up in third person for me was even more of an issue when trying to deal with other players. And I should note that even though Fortnite is like the biggest game in the world right now I had the same exact complaints (and lack of fun) attempting to play that game - also in third person. But I have friends who adore this game so I promised I'd give Splatoon 2 more of a chance maybe I'm just missing something, right?
But y'know what occured to me? I don't owe Splatoon 2 anything. There are SO MANY other games that I'd rather be playing. I gave it a shot and it didn't click. Meanwhile I've been getting BACK into Paladins again - for the THIRD time! That's a game that does click. I don't see the point in forcing myself to play something that I'm not enjoying. So...
It's funny how things change. Two years ago I could not get into Splatoon 2 at all. But right now, I kind of love it.
After four years of Overwatch obsession, I was starting to feel a fatigue. I felt like maybe I needed some other competitive game to scratch that itch. But maybe something a little less demanding. And then one Saturday morning I was up with my daughter and we were watching the Nintendo Youtube channel. There was a Splatoon 2 tournament being shown, and I don't know - the game just started to make sense to me.
And so I've been super into this game now. All my experience playing Overwatch seems to carry over to an extent. The whole thinking like a team thing. The prioritizing the objective (inking) over getting kills (splats). The being aware of the full map instead of just where I am. The paying attention to your teammates. The way that your loadout is pretty much a class. I just kind of GET IT now.
It's a bummer that I'm sort of late to the party, though. I missed the last Splatfest, and it doesn't seem like Nintendo is supporting this game the way they are Smash.
But I leveled up to 9 this weekend, and soon I'll be level 10 and can unlock the ranked play. We'll see how that goes.
Yup. I do love this game.
I started using the NES Zapper 85 and things got really good and fast paced for me. There's something about that weapon that just felt really good. I ended up going on quite a winning spree in random matches, and was quickly at level 10 which means that the ranked mode opened up.
I jumped into ranked, but the map was a tower control and I had no idea what was going on. I wasn't familiar with the map, and just had no clue what to do to help. So I jumped right back out of ranked, until I feel like I'm more prepared to be productive.
I played some more casual matches, bumped up to level 11 which granted me access to an upgrade to the NES Zapper. The 87 model is orange, haha. So good. I love when Nintendo does these sorts of nods to their history.
There's nothing quite like getting sucked into a game. That feeling when you stop thinking about what you might play next because you're so content with the game you are playing.
I'm so into this game, I find myself thinking about all periphery stuff I want now. I want the starter guide that Nintendo put out; a want all the Splatoon Amiibos; heck, I want a Splatoon t-shirt.
I attempted a Salmon Run last night, but I don't find it as riveting as the multiplayer proper. But man, I love this game. I spent some time tweaking my attire, which is always a heavy process that involves weighing out the perks associated with the gear, and still managing to keep my Inkling looking like a 90's grunge kid.
I'm level 12 right now, and am pretty sure that another upgrade to the NES Zapper unlocks at 15, so that's what I've got my eye on right now.
It took me a long time to come around, but when Nintendo unveils its next console, Splatoon 2 will undoubtedly go down in history as one of my favorite Switch games of the generation.
As it currently stands, it is my #6 most played Switch game, which is kind of insane. It has now eclipsed the hours I've spent in BOTW... Skyrim... Pokemon... and I've only had the game for less than a month.
This is one of those games that I've really sunk my teeth into. I've ordered a copy of the strategy guide. I'm constantly trying to find the right balance of gear - doing my best to have GOOD functional attire, that still retains the 90's grunge look I'm going for with my character. And I'm taking my time experimenting with new weapons. I'm always trying to get better.
And still, I've yet to really dip my toe into the ranked mode. For now I'm having a blast just experimenting and trying to improve in the casual mode.
I'm trying to explore some of the other modes more now. I did another Salmon Run with randos, and then I started working on the single player mode which is something I didn't mess with much back when I first played this. I don't know if finishing the single player will grant me anything other than being able to say I finished it, but I figured why not. It's certainly still a little extra 'practice.' Plus, it occurs to me that I also have the Octo expansion to get through as well. So I guess I can dabble with those offline modes in between playing actual (casual) matches. I figure it'll be a little while before I really feel confident enough to jump into ranked mode.
I picked up the lovely Splategy Guide from ebay and have been thumbing through it. I kind of wish I had had it from the get-go. It would have been fun to treat their "how to get good" section as assignments, such as completing the single player first, then leveling up to a certain level and moving on to the next task. Oh well.
Of course guides for online games are almost outdated from day one. Like, the N-Zapper (my weapon of choice) isn't even mentioned in the guide. But it's still a really neat little piece of memorabilia to possess. I love stuff like this. I feel like some Splatoon amiibo are in my near future.
The throwback Splat Fest was fun! Though I only got to dabble in it briefly. And my team lost - because people don't like science. But whatever. This game still rules for me. It's already my fifth most played Switch game, which is kind of crazy.