Review: Splatoon 3

Welcome to our review of Splatoon 3, the game that was possibly my most anticipated game of the year but did not deliver on all of my hopes.

Splatsville, the city of chaos, is the adrenaline-fueled heart of the dusty Splatlands. The folks who live here are a little rowdier than what you might find in far-away Inkopolis. The home of Splatoon 3 and the main hub for this game. From here on, you can go to any part of the game that you want, and aside from being very colorful, it sure is a lot bigger than previous games, luckily we still get shortcuts to get around more easily.

 

 

Straight from the start, Splatoon 3 is both amazing and extremely frustrating as a game. Announced to have a serious single player this time, this was what I was most curious about. But it was sadly rather discomforting to see how small the contribution was compared to the rest of the game. Sure, there is now more of a single-player mode to learn how to play, but why did Nintendo change the principles of the Octo Expansion from the second game, where you could just “buy” your way through a level when you kept failing?

This part was the most frustrating, not just because I sucked at some levels, I was unable to skip them due to my desire to 100% everything. Like how I paint everything and don’t want to miss any nook or cranny, I want the entire place to be yellow, coincidentally my favorite colour. Not being able to easily switch weapons or even being able to switch weapons, is another thing I disliked. So here is the deal, I suck at the slosher and its variants but am great with the dualies and their variants. Imagine having a level where you need to finish with your most disliked and most uncomfortable weapon, it just is no fun at all.

Oh and before I forget, restarting the game, removes all your paint, so you have to do everything all over or just ignore it. This may sound trivial to some, but it was something that irked me more than I would have expected. Not just the OCD side of things, but because you had to manually paint your way to the place where you could get to the next level (or use the menu, but where is the fun in that?)

 

 

Another thing I found about the single player is the fact that it’s pretty much divided in 3 styles, one is the survive and that was by far the best experience, splatting enemies and surviving, it just ruled. This is what I expected to be the biggest side of the single player mode, but there is also the time trial side, where you have a certain time to you to get a certain goal, this may be from popping balloons to hopping around on a dance floor where you need to avoid the incoming attacks. The only downside here being when you lose the “battle” at just a second before victory, which happend a lot. It’s never impossible but might be a bit frustrating. I would say this aspect was more about being tenacious and hanging in there rather than anything else.

The third aspect of the single player is the skill side, where the majority of frustrations will pop up and I am sure this was done on purpose. These are usually the ones that are by far the hardest and despite being a more than decently skilled player, I do have a 72% victory rate at time of writing (with transferred stats, not a new gameplay) so I do feel like I am not the worst of players, right? But there are just so many times where I jumped off those rails instead of landing on the next ones, … This part was really a part that I disliked and purely my desire to complain about it in my review made me finally pass the test. A sad 21 retries it took me to get through that one level. Making me run out of money and forcing me to go into another level to “go grab some money”, a system that luckily exists and there is one you can do in under a minute for 500 coins…

Personally, I just expected a lot more fighting in the single player mode or even harder bosses, the boss fights I had were easy and aside from the VERY occasional hit, I breezed through them easily. But they were fun to play! Don’t get me wrong, they were really fun to do and despite considering them to be easy, I would rather take on those enemies 5 times in a row than several of the other levels in the game. Heck, I would do them 20 times in a row just for the option to make the interludes skippable or at least fast-forward them.

Yes, one of the biggest annoyances of Splatoon 2 is still present, you still can not bypass certain parts of the conversations and it just feels like the default speed is even slower. Please Nintendo, I beg of you to change this, many gamers just want to have fun and not get interrupted by an enemy claiming to be smarter than us for a total of 5 lengthy minutes. (might have been 1 minute, but sure felt like 5…) And taking into consideration that some levels barely go over a minute of playtime…

 

 

Now I know that was a very lengthy rant about the single player mode and honestly, I stand behind every word I wrote. If this would have been the only product on this title, I would have given it a 6 out of 10, uninstalled it instantly after the review and forgotten all about it, just too many frustrations to consider it a good single player game, but this is luckily not just a single player mode, it also has probably the best online shooter on the entire Switch platform and yes, games like Fortnite don’t even compare to Splatoon 3, it is like there is such a distance between both, that you would forget Fortnite even existed.

Having added several new weapons and attack patterns to the game, I am still finding out my favourite mode and this is more telling than you would think. On the second game, I had the dualies, I knew what their advantages were and where they fell short, but it is like everything has been tweaked and so far, mostly in a good way. I still dislike the roller and the slosher for my own use and still find them formidable weapons that are truly hard to beat. Oh yeah, beating them is still as awesome as you would expect.

Splatoon 3 has improved its gameplay compared to the second game, even allowing you to bring along your progress to the next level. This will ensure the opening weeks of the game to be more fair and that is what we all like. It was often a negative remark of mine when asked what I disliked about the series. The pairing was often very unfair and well, I once had an opposing team with 30+ levels higher than me and our team just got obliterated. Those should be more or less gone, those unfair pairings. Another thing they fixed, people who rage quit or disconnect, they force the game to end.

No more 2v4 games, which is amazing, though they are great for learning to play at the edge of your seat, maybe they should introduce a mode where you can purposely play in an advantage or disadvantage, that might be an idea I would stand behind and more often than not, play from the disadvantage side, it just sounds like a bonus challenge to me.

What I also very much enjoyed is the fact that we can now Salmon Run whenever we want instead of forced hours. I never understood that original idea and am glad the mode is now available as it should be, They also introduced a new card game mode, but I honestly did not spend a lot of time playing that, from everything I had seen online about it, it just felt like it was not going to be my thing. I have already scored quite a few of the game packs in the single player mode, but yeah, it is a side of the game that doesn’t do it for me.

Kind of like how I do not care much about the way my character works, I just pick the clothes with the bonus powers I want, so what if my girl wears a hoodie or a cap, the powers behind it are what matters. I do love the amount of options you already get in a game like Splatoon, but it is one of those things that just pass me by. As long as the statistics behind it are great, I will love it.

Now, as I gave the single player a seperate score, I should actually do the same for the online mode. Most things that I disliked, have been patched out and that is a big bonus. The game itself is why you basically own a Switch with the Splatoon design and yeah, I just love every second of playing. So far, even Salmon Run has been more of an entertaining option compared to its predecessor and I would give both easily a 9 out of 10.

 

 

In conclusion, Splatoon 3 is what it is, an amazing online side and a disappointing offline mode. Would I buy it again? Instantly, not a single doubt. Would I play the single player again, that is a completely different question/matter. For its score, 9+9+6 = 24, so that leaves us with an 8 overall!

8/10

Tested on Nintendo Switch

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