Monday, 14 September 2015

Splatoon: Set all weapons to ink and open fire

What do you do to unwind? For some, its a book, others a beloved film. For me, its going through some of my favorite games, weather it be a simple platformer like Kirby or Mario, a adventure in a Pokemon game. For some, its covering every single spec of land you can see in ink. And this is where today's review comes in, for now we must travel to a post apocalyptic world, where man kind is long extinct and a new species has risen, we must partake in wars to decide what colour the floor should be, decided by a fat talking cat, restore our power network and prey to the all mighty fax machine to determine what the factions will be called... Kinda stupid when you say it out loud, but welcome, to Splatoon.

I've already done the "Nintendo has made a new IP?" joke, see my First Impressions of the game when it was shown off at E3 last year, so let's get straight into the single player plot. An army of "Octolings" has risen and kidnapped the Great Zapfish. It is your job to rescue the Great Zapfish. You do know this is a Nintendo game that isn't Legend of Zelda right? Were you expecting a deep plot about fish shooting other fish with ink? Well I also hope you weren't looking for an in depth Single player either because you're not going to find it. Mario Kart this ain't when it comes to balance because the single player is basically a 3 hour tutorial for the online multi player. While that doesn't show for gameplay, it shows in other areas. Unlike in other single player tutorials (like Call of Duty), while the lack of plot is there, what makes up for it is the characters, which are all enjoyable, even if the cast is small, with a grand total of four characters (you don't count because Inklings went to the Zelda school of characters with their professor being Ocarina of Time Link, in that they have no personality for the most part). Captain Cuttlefish is hilarious, Agent's 1 and 2 work off of each other quite well, and surprisingly, the final boss is one of the best I've seen in a long time, both in terms of personality and in gameplay.
I do admit, I like the Inkling Girls design more then the Inkling Boys.

Where Splatoon really falls flat though it Multiplayer. It's simple enough, one person uses the TV and a Classic Controller, the other uses the WiiU gamepad. Shoot the balloons with the weapons you buy using in game money only, no micro transactions, and the one with the most balloons at the end of the round wins. Fine in theory, but this could have been improved by customization, changing the rules of the match. People, LOCAL MULTIPLAYER IS STILL A THING, AND A VERY GOOD THING.
"It should be green" "No it should be blue"

And now we come to the most important part of the game, the Doodle Jump rip off mini game. Controls are simple, and no motion control gimmicks. You have to get a squid to the top of the level by jumping, longer you hold down ZR, the higher the jump. Simple, but serves as a good time waster when you have company or are waiting for something, like people connecting online.
"They see me rolling, they hating"

Now for the online, this is the one part of the review that I haven't done entirely, for you see, parts of the online mode are capped. Until you reach Level 10, you can't go onto Ranked battles. At the time of review, I'm at Level 8. I have however spent a lot of time in Turf wars, rules are simple, 4v4 (unless you have people who don't play, like I have a few times), cover the most amount of the floor in ink. And I do mean floor, walls don't count for points. One complaint I hear people have is the limitations. Maps are randomized, with two maps being available for a few hours at a time, something I personally don't mind as it's akin to Smash 4, Mario Kart 7 and 8's way of "Just because you picked it, doesn't mean you get to play it". However, the one I hear the most complaints about is the lack of voice chat, again, very similar to Mario Kart and Smash Brothers. While I am fairly certain that the servers can handle voice chat, I know the exact reason why it's not there. All I'll say on the matter is "You want voice chat, quit acting the way you do in other multiplayer games like Call of Duty, I do not want to hear 10 year olds go through the Thesaurus for every single swear word they can find to say, I already get that on Twitter".
The only time Inklings get a personality is if they're in a box

I want to save the Amiibo support for when I cover Amiibos properly, and trust me, I know how they work in Splatoon, I have all three. Instead, let's tall about aesthetics. I love the visual style that they went for, even though its really cheesy. As I've said time and time again, I LOVE colour in games, and the art style that they went for means that everything is quite bright. The ink in this also looks really good, as a nice bit of attention to detail went into it. When you cover the floor with ink, the more ink that's there, either yours or your opponents, the thicker it'll be in that area. It's very subtle, and it changes nothing about the game, but I'm glad its there. I can't however praise the music as much, mainly in the single player. The music selection is very limited in the single player campaign, and while some are quite good, I divert your attention to Mission 2's theme and the final phase of the final battle. Everything else gets repetitive very quickly, and there are times when you're in missions for quite a while, which doesn't help the fact that there are 12 songs in the singleplayer campaign, 5 for missions, 1, maybe 2 for bosses, and another 5 for the final boss. Taking the bosses out, 5 songs for about 26 missions.
Yes, Paint Rollers and showers are weapons
Is Splatoon worth picking up? Right now, yes, and it's only getting better, as one of the things they are doing is free updates, adding in extra weapons, more gear, more maps for multi player and more, all for free and weekly. However I can only recommend this if your WiiU is online. If not then this is going to be a waste of money for you as its focus is the Multiplayer. On top of this, its built around the gamepad and has no off screen mode that I've found, so unlike many other WiiU games, if you can't use a TV, you can't play Splatoon. For now, I must continue working on a secret project. Return here Wednesday, for Marissa and I have met again, and we are here to discuss Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness, Time and Sky for the Nintendo DS. On top of that, we have a secret for Friday that will be announced Wednesday.

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