Splatoon 2 still a great option for online gaming



By Dylan Lazaga, CONTRIBUTOR

Online multiplayer games have been popular for years, with many of them having their own fan bases. One multiplayer franchise that continues to be overshadowed by several video game fans and media is a simple, yet great “inkling” of a game known as Splatoon.
Developed and published by Nintendo, this online-shooter franchise first made its debut in 2015. While it was well-received for its gameplay, it was often overshadowed by the failure of Nintendo’s Wii U console.
“Splatoon 2,” which was released on July 21, 2017 on the more successful Nintendo Switch console, not only made improvements from its predecessor, but it also increased the community of Nintendo’s multiplayer franchise rapidly.
In contrast to other games like “Call of Duty” or “Apex Legends,” the first impression that may come to mind with “Splatoon” is that it looks too childish. The variety in this inkling of a sequel says otherwise.
The main game mode, Turf War, requires two teams of four to ink as much of the in-game map as possible. Most people play this mode, but competitive players who compete in tournaments or players wanting a challenge go after Splatoon’s ranked and league battle modes.
Ranked and league modes include Tower Control, which requires players to escort and defend a tower toward the enemy base. Also included is Splat Zones, which require teams to fully defend a central area of a map by reaching zero points to win or having the most points over the opposition. Teamwork, communication, and strategy all have heavy emphasis in these modes, making ranked and league battles popular among competitive Splatoon players.
The small details in battle also matter. Players deciding on a strategy must determine which weapons, abilities, and specials all best suit them. There is a variety of them, both from the original Splatoon as well as the sequel, to choose from with different combinations.
Players looking for cooperative play can look toward the Salmon Run mode. In a team of four, the players must survive three waves of enemies and collect salmon eggs, which can be turned into rewards used for the main multiplayer modes. However, the downside is that it is only available at certain times of the day.
“Splatoon 2” also offers a single-player campaign, called Hero Mode. Here, the player is tasked to find the Great Zapfish, which is the power source of the game’s main hub area, Inkopolis Square. The story also follows the search for the missing cousin and band partner of key Splatoon character Marie. While the story will keep you intrigued, Hero Mode is nothing more than a tutorial.
Nintendo also offers a paid single-player expansion called the “Octo Expansion.” The player, as an Octoling, must complete some of the most difficult missions in order to get to Inkopolis and be accepted into society. While more challenging than Hero Mode, it offers more in terms of gameplay and will get to even the best of Splatoon players.
The Splatoon community continues to grow, thanks to Nintendo’s frequent marketing support of eSports tournaments. Local tournaments are held worldwide, including one in Oakland’s eSports Arena called “Ink the Bay.”
Bigger tournaments also pit the best Splatoon teams against each other, including a World Championship tournament at the yearly E3 event in Los Angeles. A United States team, “FTWin,” made it into the semifinals. While a Japanese team, “GGBoyz,” would go on to win the finals. Even though the United States team did not advance to the finals, Team USA’s involvement in Nintendo’s flagship multiplayer game is very telling of the game’s growth.
What brings the franchise’s community together most is its “SplatFest” events, which ran from “Splatoon 2’s” launch until July 21, 2019. It allowed for both casual and hardcore video game players to come together and compete in Turf War based on an in-game poll. The poll ranged from a variety of topics, such as fork versus spoon, pulp or no pulp, hero or villain, and chaos or order.
The SplatFest events not only drew in many players, but also generated many Twitch and YouTube live streams. SplatFests should continue to be an inspiration for the community, as players can currently use all the SplatFest stages in private battles.
However, the game does have its flaws. A common complaint I share with many Splatoon players is the unskippable opening cutscene, which consists of the game’s hosts explaining the current rotation of multiplayer maps available through each game mode.
Another issue I have with this game is voice chat, which is only available through Nintendo’s Online smartphone app. I understand there are other alternatives, such as Discord. But it is already troublesome when PlayStation and Xbox allow you to plug in a headset through their controllers; yet Nintendo requires players to use a smartphone to voice chat.
Despite its flaws, Splatoon 2 continues to make an impact not just in the gaming community, but also on the lives of many, including myself. The game appeals to adults and especially children, who have been prone to the trends of “Fortnite” and “Apex Legends,” with its simplicity and lack of overreliance on violence. Splatoon 2 is a game that can be enjoyed by everyone, and it continues to be everywhere for years to come.