After more than a year of waiting, Splatoon 3 finally came out a few weeks ago on Friday, the 9th of September. As the 3rd game in the Splatoon franchise, many people were eager to see how it would choose to live up to the series’ reputation. The question is: does it live up to the hype?
For those who are unfamiliar with the Splatoon games, they are third-person shooter games where you play as an evolved humanoid squid or octopus (called inklings and octolings respectively) wielding weapons that shoot colored ink. The main mode of the game is called Turf War, where 2 teams of 4 face off to see who can paint the most ground of one of many different stages with their color in a set amount of time. There are also many other modes to play online, like salmon run (online co-op) or splat zones (area control).
But what does Splatoon 3 bring to the franchise? What new life does it add? In short, Splatoon 3 offers style, stages, and mechanics that are drastically different from the previous two games. The city in which the game takes place, Splatsville, is just oozing with personality. Compared to Inkopolis, which was the main setting for both Splatoon and Splatoon 2, Splatsville has a lot more charm and space to explore and enjoy. The new stages this game introduces are also insanely fun to play on, offering new layouts to play through, with my personal favorite being the narrow, yet closely connected routes of Hagglefish Market. On top of this, Splatoon 3 offers new movement options that drastically shake up how you approach combat, namely the squid roll, and squid surge,
Another incredible thing about Splatoon 3 compared to previous games is the sheer number of things you can do. In Splatoon 2, the game’s main mode, “Turf War,” got tedious after only a few games. On top of this, every other available game mode was on a rotation schedule, so sometimes you would get stuck with a game mode you hated playing. However, from revamping the way different game modes are scheduled, to adding a whole slew of new collectables to incentivize experimentation and longer periods of play, Splatoon 3 offers a bunch of new solutions to make it less repetitive and exhausting to play.
However, as with every game, there are problems with it that can spoil the fun. A minor, though annoying problem is that, while I absolutely love the turn-based card battle game mode, you can only play against CPU’s and since they all offer the exact same amount of exp when you win or lose a match, there’s less incentive to play against all of them or build new decks. Another issue is that players can disconnect fairly often, and if one player from either team disconnects from the match early enough, it’s ended for everybody and counted as a draw. This makes it incredibly frustrating to play a single match sometimes, especially when you only have a limited amount of time to play in the first place.
Though it has a couple of flaws that smudge its surface, Splatoon 3 shines through it with stellar gameplay and a vibrant universe to play in. I give this game 4 out of 5 stars.