Yesterday Nintendo released the final multiplayer demo for their upcoming third person shooter Splatoon 2. This demo was from 5PM to 9PM on Saturday and if you missed it, then you will just have to wait for the game to be released this Friday. I believe that having a four hour window on one day to try your new game is ridiculous, but that’s a story for a different day.
I have a confession, I never played the first Splatoon. I ended up trading in my Wii U before Splatoon was released and never had a chance to play it. I heard great things about it which led me to start watching some tournaments on twitch. The game always seemed pretty interesting to me and, in a way, seemed to be a much cleaner form of Call of Duty for younger gamers. I generally got somewhat excited when I heard they were making a second one for the Switch after it’s meteoric success.
I launched the game about thirty minutes before the servers became active in the hopes that it offered some type of a tutorial for first time players. When Nintendo had the test punch for Arms, they basically had a message that let you know that they had not started the demo yet and all you could do was stare at a title screen. I wasn’t sure if Splatoon was any different and was presently surprised by what they offered. The beginning of the demo placed you in a quick tutorial that showed you how to shoot, run, and become a squid. It also showed you how to traverse the landscape and use some of the different abilities that your character is able to do. I was a little worried that this game would rely souly on the motion control of the system to aim. I kept pressing the start button in order to change the settings, but found out that nothing can be changed until the tutorial was completed.
Once you have finished the tutorial, you will be placed in hub world that is inhabited by the lifeless avatars of people that are playing the game. The hub world looks like an outdoor shopping mall with various stores, arcade games, a food truck, and a giant stage at the end of the strip. As you walk up to one of the stores, the automatic door opens and a small cut scene will ensue. You will meet the owner of the store and the owner will tell you about the product he or she is selling and what kind of requirements you will need to meet in order to buy equipment. Although, during the demo, you are unable to level up or earn money, so this was basically a chance for you to see where the different stores are located for the final game.
You will have a chance to walk around and talk with different NPCs that inhabit this world. They give a glimpse into what the main game will offer in terms of side quests by giving you general requirements for just talking to them. One NPC in particular is a giant cat that is laying on step taking a nap. The cat seems irritated when you go to talk to it and it will tell you that you need to at least be level four before it can help you. Others will tell you how to level up and that different rewards will be available to you when you have leveled up.
Exploring this hub world was interesting while I was waiting for the servers to open up, but it only occupied maybe ten minutes of my time.
Once the servers opened however, the area completely changed. Night fall had set in and the hub world turned into a block party with music blaring and flood lights waving. All of the NPCs that were once lifeless or sleeping were now dancing, eating, or partying.
I walked over a terminal that asked me a very important question. It was a question that plagued the world and would cause the four hours of violence that would ensue. Do you prefer Ice Cream or Cake? I chuckled when the question was proposed and I started to see this game as the fun and goofy game that it was meant to be. Of course, the right answer is Ice Cream (for obvious reasons).
Once I made my choice, I was able to start playing online and competing to prove that Ice Cream is far superior.
You are given four different weapons to choose from as your primary weapon. Each weapon offered different pros and cons while also requiring you to learn new tactics on the fly. The weapons include; dual pistols, a automatic rifle, a giant paint roller, and a sniper rile.
The object of the game is to use your weapons in order to claim more territory then your opponent by shooting the area around you with your paint. By the end of the match, the team with the most area covered in paint will win. During the match, your character will not be able to move very fast. In order to move more quickly, you need to change shape and turn into a squid. Your squid form will soar through your paint and will allow you to make it to the front lines very quickly in order to help your fellow team mates fight back the opposing team, or so that you can start taking over territories without alerting the other team.
I found going head to head with opposing players to be pretty challenging. Most of the weapons cannot shoot very far and it will require you to get up close and personal with your opponent, leading to a battle that is less about accuracy and more about who shot first. I found that using the giant paint roller was by far the best tactic if you wanted to just decimate the opposing team. This weapons would kill anyone that was touched by it and would also cover much more surface area then the other weapons. The problem with the giant roller, however, was the inability to paint up the side of walls which hinders your ability to take the high ground.
This test demo surprised me and showed me what I was missing by not playing the first Splatoon. I enjoyed exploring the hub world and meeting the different characters that would soon help me when the game is released later this week. The multiplayer was a good balance of enjoyable and difficult gameplay that made me want to get better. Though I wasn’t a fan of the aim mechanics, I still found it easier to master after playing a few games. All in all, I am excited to see what the full version of this game can offer and I am looking forward to finally being able to play a Splatoon game.