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Hands On Splatoon 2's Single Player Hero Mode

The same but different.

The first year of games coming to the Nintendo Switch is fascinating, with a concerted effort to bring a steady stream of titles to the system. Not only that, but they cater to a wide range of genres with franchises both new and old. With the original Wii U game having been Nintendo’s first real attempt at a multiplayer shooter, combining it with their bright and colour art style and family friendly aesthetic, Splatoon 2 now looks to cement the game’s popularity.

There’s some cute nods and acknowledgements to the game’s origins. Things like Marie going “What? You don’t know who I am?” playing on the fact that many prospective Switch owners won’t have owned a Wii U, or the way that Off the Hook duo Pearl and Marina note that the Zapfish disappearance sounds awfully familiar – it’s the exact same macguffin that was at the heart of Splatoon’s single player as well. Knowledge of the first game is hardly necessary, but there is a small amount of continuity there as you step into the role of Agent 4.

As with so many sequels, this is less about finding a new approach to the game, and more about refining and improving upon what went before. You still have the small hub worlds, for example, where you explore a small areas, trying to uncover the Octarian kettles so you can unlock the boss fight and then passage to the next area. There’s even the exact same number of levels, the same division between areas and the same number of bosses.

Levels come in all shapes and sizes, but tend to be made up of many smaller sections that give you a little moment of combat, a puzzle, some squiddy platforming, or a mixture of all of these. Where the original then leant quite noticeably on a few particular styles of combat arena levels, whether Octoling or Octostriker battles, there’s much more ingenuity and variety here. The same is true of the bosses. Already full of quirky ideas, there’s now slightly more varied ideas to their attack patterns.

One thing that Splatoon 2 does much, much better than the original, is introduce you to all the different kinds of weapon. Where you were previously limited to the standard Splattershot, now you’ll often be presented with a particular weapon from Sheldon as you start a level for the first time, ostensibly to provide him with more research data. It means that you quickly have to get to grips with the Squidshot sniper rifle, the Slosher, the Splatling minigun, the new Splat Dualies and so on.

Once you’ve finished a Sheldon request, that weapon is unlocked for use in the hub areas, and that’s allowed for a more playful design to these platforming hubs. If you’ve encountered a new idea in a level, you can put good money on it appearing in the next hub area. Things like grappling hook points that you shoot to trigger, ziplines (which you can now grind as well as travel along in squid form), sponges, boost pads that propel you across a gap all start to make an appearance.

It feels like this is going to be a slightly longer single player overall. Playing through the first half of the story, the levels start to feel more substantial and push past the 10 minute mark. It’s not going to challenge even Call of Duty games in terms of length, and it’s more about putting a series of challenges in front of you instead of weaving an intricate story, but it means that there will be just that little bit more to it than in the first game.

Much like Call of Duty and its appropriately fishy acronym, the single player here is nice to have and it shows how Nintendo are adding to and polishing their shooter, but Splatoon 2 is really all going to be about the multiplayer game. That’s really what provides the most substance to Splatoon, from its short and sweet multiplayer matches to working your way up through the level, getting your ideal gear loadouts, and taking part in the regular Splatfests.

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One Comment
  1. geofduke
    Member
    Since: Dec 2011

    Just finished the splatfest. I meant to fight on the side of ice cream but somehow ended up gunning for cake. Not sure how that happened, but wow did I just have fun. Can’t wait for this to come out now!

    Comment posted on 15/07/2017 at 21:18.

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