Since I the time I got my hands on a build of this game at E3 2014, to the moment I had my hands on the full game, Splatoon was always on my mind. It was something I have wanted to see from Nintendo for a really long time: a competent, colorful, multiplayer shooter. Seems like an oddly specific thing to want, I know but the idea was spurred on by the fact that every competitive shooter started boiling down to the same thing give or take a couple titles. Now while this is my fantasy game come true, let’s actually look at the product aspect of the game, to see if it is all that I hope it to be.
Reviewed: Wii U (Review Copy Borrowed)
Released: May 29, 2015
Splatoon Inks its way to glory when it comes to graphics, be it single player, amiibo challenges, multiplayer or the huge selection of cloths available, the game just pops. Liquid effects are extremely well done, and depending on the weapon you are using, have different calculated weight that is perfectly displayed to the player. 60 FPS is the standard for this game, and it looks amazing for it. There is almost a creamy texture to the game that many players will fall in love with.
The clothing customizations give some real weight to the discussion of looks vs function at the beginning of the game, depending on how you play, but with the upgrade systems in place, there is not too much stopping you from sticking with a look you like. Weapons also fall in to this same boat floating on a sea of creativity, and are sure to inspire quite a bit of cosplay.
Arenas are always interesting, blending great design that does not cover up points of interest for holding positions in the map. I did not see any texture issues in multiplayer or single player. Splatoon is legitimately one of if not the best looking Wii U game currently available.
Character / world design and art is fantastic, and there seems like there was allot of work put into the design of the octolings, from the single player mode. Everything from store clerks to buildings and props around the world is like creamy eye candy of color. The style is iconic, and will be something that will look good, even 20 years from now.
Single player and challenges, while not being bad by any stretch of the imagination, are still a bit lacking. That is to be expected as the main focus is online multiplayer. Many players will look at these as simple bonuses to the experience of the game, but it must be noted that the game would fall flat if it was to stand on single player alone, so you will not be buying this game for that.
The multiplayer is one of the most fluid online gaming experiences that you can get on any home console to date. From Beginner to Pro, the game is designed is in such a way that you can enjoy yourself no matter your skill level/twitch reflexes can handle. Focus on kills can quickly make you lose a match, because you need to focus on area control via your ink for most of the game. Ink on the floor is also your ammo source, so you will be diving in an out of your ink quite a bit. Ink also helps with terrain movement and gaining vantage points for offensive and defensive maneuvers and will allow you to reach areas that would normally be inaccessible, by letting you dive into the wall and climb up it, or through gated areas.
Map design is really something amazing in this game as it tries extremely hard to remove any bottle necks in the maps and instead pushes players in to areas to battle it out. Movement is key in this game, and the controls actively support almost all play styles to facilitate this.
Music and Sound:
The soundtrack in this game is stunning, and reflects the game themes and style perfectly. Unlike many Nintendo soundtracks, this one is something you can really enjoy in our out of the game. Sound in general is spot on and gives added depth to actions taken in the game. General sound also does something that other games have an extremely hard time managing, and that is blending it to fit with the musical score. Many will not notice out right, but hours of gameplay in, this is extremely important and really to establish a 9 in music and sound to a 10.
Like I stated before, single player is a bit lacking. While a story is present, it is on the base level to facilitate gameplay. It must be noted that it still is great for a laugh and just adds to the overall world. It really just feels like a bonus to the actual meat and potatoes of the Multiplayer, which is not a bad thing, but customers that are none the wiser may pick up this game thinking they are buying a typical Nintendo standalone experience, only to be left confused. The enemies you face, known as octolings are cute and interesting, and will provide players with a nice bit of verity throughout the single player.
This game knows what it is and does it well. Everything in this game just goes so hand in hand that it’s hard to give this anything but a 10. With that said, it had to be, the game is designed around the idea that you are going to be playing quite a bit of it over the next year, and to keep it from getting stale or building up minor odds and ends that players would get annoyed at over time, they had to make sure that the game had a mirror polish.