Splatoon 2 comes out on July 21st. It had its first Splatfest this past weekend, Team Cake vs. Team Ice Cream. I am apparently an anomaly, because I wasn’t wow’d… but I was on Team Cake.
I loved the original Splatoon. It was new, it was weird. It was, as the inklings of Inkopolis say, “fresh”. Multiplayer was a blast, and Splatfests were a way to show the world that, yes, dogs are infinitely better than cats. Yesterday’s Splatfest felt flat. It feels like it had been so hyped up to be this amazing thing, for something that was not as great as its spectacular predecessor. Sure, you could dual wield splat pistols, the graphics felt updated, and it was on the Switch (I’m still bitter at Nintendo about the horrible, slow death and irrelevance they let the Wii U suffer). The controls on the Wii U felt right. The second screen was perfect for Splatoon—I could just tap a teammate and fly to their spot when I re-spawned. The controls on the switch feel flat, and transporting to my teammates’ locations felt like a chore instead of an advantage. The motion controls feel abysmal and clunky (that may be because I generally loathe motion controls, especially for shooters). The basic controls were fine, nothing out of the ordinary.
Ultimately though, I just didn’t find myself enjoying the Splatfest as much as I thought I would. The original Splatoon seemed very balanced. More often than not, matches would end up extremely close. I didn’t have one match yesterday that wasn’t completely lopsided (I was on both ends of the spectrum). I get it, there were probably quite a few newcomers who’ve never played Splatoon before, but even when I was a total newbie in Splatoon 1, I felt like I could compete (yeah, I still suck at the game, but I actually enjoyed sucking in the first game). Yesterday felt like it was either impossible to splat anyone on the other team, or the other team was totally incompetent. I understand that player levels aren’t implemented, so it was more difficult to “rank” people. But there were differentiating factors for players that were implemented: Cake Points, and I’m assuming Ice Cream points [for team Ice Cream], that gave players added titles. There was a way that the game could have been more balanced to make it more enjoyable for all, instead of just those who got lucky and were put on a good team.
I am completely aware that yesterday’s Splatfest was not the full Splatoon 2 game. I also realize that, by having these opinions, I will be roasted by every fanboy who thinks Nintendo can do no wrong. I also understand the argument that a demo is meant to get people who haven’t played the first game interested in the second. True to an extent, a demo is also supposed to get everyone hyped for an upcoming game that many of them have probably already pre-ordered (Destiny 2 anyone?).
Salmon Run? Looks awesome. More robust campaign? Great! However, at the end of the day, the biggest draw to a Splatoon game will be PVP multiplayer, including Splatfests. Unless the features of the full game dramatically change the way the game feels, it’s going to have a hard time keeping people playing for a long time, especially with the parity of competition experienced yesterday afternoon. I truly hope that I’m wrong. I hope I have to rescind every word of this post next week. I also hope Nintendo gives us more than just a year of Splatfests this time around.
Stuart "wrathweaver" Bevan is the founder of the gaming group, The Broman Empire. He originally wanted to go to Hyrule on his honeymoon, but had to settle for the Bahamas. His spirit animal is Deadpool. His favorite console is the Ps2 and his all time favorite game is Final Fantasy VII. He's currently "obsessed" with his Nintendo Switch and is eagerly awaiting for Destiny 2 to take over his life.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely the opinion of the author.