With the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire this last weekend many fans finally got their hands on the much anticipated sequel to Nintendo’s online shooter. When Splatoon 2 was announced fans had many ideas on what they were hoping would be changed in the sequel. Now that we’ve had some serious hands on time with the game’s demo, here’s a breakdown of what we hope to see changed for Splatoon 2.
The original Splatoon took an interesting approach to level selection. Essentially the game has two levels available for four hours before they are cycled out with other levels. This wasn’t such an issue when the game first launched and there were only four levels available. It allowed players to get the hang of the levels and the new game in general. As more and more levels were released it started to seem unnecessary. When there’s only two levels available at a time it can lead to situations where you are getting the same level three-four times in a row. It could be great if you were fortunate enough to get your favorite level, but if it’s a level that you don’t really care for it can get incredibly tedious. There have been many times where I’ve just stopped playing because the levels available were not levels I was excited about playing.
The same goes for the ranked mach modes. Much like the levels, the game type for the ranked matches cycles out every four hours with the maps. So if you want to play a ranked match, but aren’t a fan of the game mode that is available you don’t have much choice to either play or wait it out.
Splatoon 2 can counteract this by getting rid of the cycle all together and having all maps be available to be played and they can be rolled out similar to Call of Duty’s previous system of allowing the players to vote between two levels with an option to vote for a randomly generated option. What I especially liked about this setup is that you can vote for the map that you just played, but if you get it twice it gets removed from the rotation. This is crucial for long term Splatoon online sessions. They could also go the route of Mario Kart 8 where three maps are presented and each person votes and a roulette style map selection takes place.
If they do stick with the same map selection process, they can at least up the amount of levels in the rotation while also shortening the amount of time the levels are available for. A friend of mine recently suggested the idea of three maps for three hours. This seems much more reasonable.
Stronger Single Player
When the Switch was first announced and there were teases of Splatoon appearing on the console it was rumored that the console would be coming with a re-release of the original. Luckily Splatoon 2 was announced instead. Getting a new game means that Nintendo has the opportunity to go back and reworking the single player offering to be an overall more solid experience with an interesting story and levels. While the original Splatoon’s single player was far from bad (it was actually quite fun), it was rather short and the levels were more small segments that felt as though they existed more to train the player for multiplayer matches than anything else.
While the single player had some pretty epic boss battles, the levels between offered very little challenge. In fact they were inseparable from the “challenge” levels that were made available through the Splatoon amiibos. Nintendo are generally known for crafting great single player experiences, and with such an original concept there has to be plenty of Splatoon lore that the story can explore. After all the little bit of story involved rebelling against the evil Octarians who have stolen power from the Great Zapfish. The whole game gave off the sense that the inkings are rebels against oppression in their world, so there are lots of tropes that Nintendo could work with to make a compelling single player experience.
Splatoon has a vast number of weapons and clothing that you can use. Each weapon has it’s own specific power ups and each article of clothing has it’s own different skill perks such as being able to swim faster assigned to them. With such a wide array of combinations available to you, the fact that you couldn’t customize your loadout or even change your weapon in the matchmaking lobby was disappointing. If you were with a good group of players and you wanted to try out a different weapon or thrown on some new clothes, you had to quit out of the game and find a brand new lobby.
This should be an easy fix. All online shooters these days have the ability to change your loadouts mid game on the fly, so it shouldn’t be too hard for Nintendo to implement a similar change to the game. Even if the entire arsenal isn’t available to you while matchmaking, being able to save a few loadouts that you can swap between would be welcome.
Splatfests were fun community events in the original Splatoon where players were asked to chose between two different teams, they ranged from choosing Team Callie vs Team Marie or Team Spongebob vs Team Patrick. At the end of the weekend the team that had won the most amount of matches was declared the winner.
The Splatfests were a fun way to change up the game every once and a while, but Nintendo ended them all too quickly. Within a year of Splatoon’s initial release they announced the final Splatfest. Nintendo’s support for the Wii U in the last year or so is questionable yes, but during the Splatfests there were just three levels available for the entire weekend. Now I don’t work with servers or in server maintenance but in theory Splatfests would actually make life easier for Nintendo, since they weren’t having to cycle out levels every four hours.
Since clothing is such a large part of Splatoon’s multiplayer and allows each player to create their own inking identity, offering specific articles of clothing for anyone whose completed in a Splatfest that shows off what team they competed for would be a fun way to show off Splatfest participation.
When Nintendo first announced Splatfests, they hyped them up a lot and then before they could really take off, Nintendo pulled the rug. Hopefully Nintendo brings Splatfests back as they were at the very least. If we are able to get more maps to be available through Splatfests, than that would be just icing ontop of the cake.
Squid Jump was a fun little minigame that the player could play on the Wii U’s gamepad while they were waiting in the matchmaking lobby. With the gamepad being removed from the equation with a Switch, whether or not Squid Jump will return remains a mystery. It was not available through the Global Testfire, but we didn’t get any actual menus or a hub world to explore. I hope to see Squid Jump make it’s way into the game in some sense. It would be awesome to see it evolve in the same sense that Geometry Wars evolved from an in-game mini-game to a full blown title.
Based off of the Global Testfire Splatoon 2, is going to be a great game. With these changes and updates we think Nintendo can avoid the typical pitfalls of online shooter sequels and build off of the previous game in big ways instead of being an expansion with better graphics? What features do you hope make a return or get an update in Splatoon 2?