Splatoon 2 Keeps the Series Fresh

Months ago, during the Nintendo Switch debut trailer, the best was saved for last as a variation of Splatoon was shown off. At the time it wasn’t known exactly what the Switch was or how its games would be. Many thought this Splatoon, along with Mario Kart, could have just been some sort of half-version of a game. Luckily, after the recent conference and events, we see Splatoon 2 as its own standalone sequel to the hit game which looks to be just as fun and challenging as its predecessor. There is a lot to learn from what was revealed, so let’s dive right into the action.

Kids and squids have been honing their skills in preparation for Splatoon 2. There are a number of fresh upgrades to the game with the main draw being your selection of weapons. In the videos and during hands-on gameplay, we were shown four weapons, three of which are returning from the first game. There are all-new special attacks as well, which is a huge change for fans of the previous title. The Splattershot remains relatively unchanged as it’s been a tried and true standard for the series. It does come with the Tenta Missile special which launches eight ink-filled projectiles into the air that land all over the map. You can even lock-in on targets for the missiles to home in on them. Dark circles will appear on the ground alerting opponents of the impending doom.

Splat Chargers receive a useful feature allowing them to charge up a shot to be stored until they want to release it. You get to keep the shot ready and swim through ink for a new position before blasting away. Enemies will be able to spot you, however, as you are a glowing target when holding the charge. The Stingray is its special, which slowly moves a high-powered stream of ink through walls and other objects, but doesn’t last too long.

Splat Rollers return as well but this one features a new way to fling ink. While jumping and swinging, Rollers will shoot a vertical line of ink that can travel quite a distance and should make climbing walls much easier. It receives new Curling Bombs modeled after curling stones which slide along the floor and can even bounce off walls before exploding. This weapon’s new special is called Splashdown and allows for a super jump to have much more impact. Warp to partners in trouble and activate an explosive slam to send waves of ink around the area. Finally, a new main weapon was also revealed called Splat Dualies which gives you a gun in each hand for rapid-fire takedowns and two reticles to spread more ink. They are unique in other ways, including the use of a dodge and roll function to evade enemies in a hurry. The Inkjet is its special and lets you ride up high in an ink-powered jetpack and shoot large globs of ink. As you can see there is already so much to learn about new weapons and with more to come, there will surely be a number of ways to counter each one, better start planning now.

Of course there needs to be new places to try out all these weapons. Splatoon 2 brings in new stages and revamps old ones for Inklings to run amok. We’ve seen footage of the Reef which is said to have a number of fashionable stores and a very popular place to hang out. The stage itself features a very open terrain with some ramps and elevation. There is a bridge connecting your side to the opponent’s which means controlling it can help cut them off from advancing. In other videos there are glimpses of some other locations. An indoor gym with rock climbing walls will certainly kick your butt into shape. A concert venue is another place which is fitting for a game that features some rockin’ music. Then, we see part of an old stage, Moray Towers, but with a few changes. There are now Inkrails from Splatoon’s single player mode suspended in mid-air. They allow you to travel from one end to another in a hurry and can give you a lot more bounce to your jump. There has been no word yet on the modes of play other than Turf War but ranked battles will surely change the landscapes a bit.

The Nintendo Switch gives players a new way to get into the action because of its new controller features. Buttons and their actions remain relatively unchanged as you still use shoulder trigger buttons to swim and shoot. We are going to have to get used to not having two screens. The map has been moved from the Wii U GamePad to an on-screen option. Press the X button to pull it up and see all the action taking place, be careful though as you could get splatted while just staring at the map. It shows where your teammates are located and what kinds of weapons they have. You can select one of them to warp to if needed just by pressing the d-pad button corresponding to them. Many of these design choices are definitely a welcoming to competitive players.

We know events in Splatoon 2 take place two years after the first, but no details have been revealed. In the game’s trailer, you can see an Inkling, who appears to be Marie, with her back turned. A smaller urchin-like character also seems to have some significance since it looks similar to Spyke and has empty snail shells nearby. It has been confirmed other older characters return; Crusty Sean can be seen inside a food truck which gets us wondering if he’s done selling shoes. The overworld is looking like a lot of fun and filled with life that we can’t wait to explore.

While we’re still playing the first Splatoon as much as possible, we can’t wait for the sequel. Splatoon 2 will up the ante for the series, Nintendo and the Switch itself. Hopefully the game takes full advantage of everything the new console has to offer. Look for Splatoon 2 to become available this summer and look forward to more coverage in the near future.