Paint the town again. Second verse, same hues as the first.
Since its announcement back in January, I’ve been a bit worried about Splatoon 2. The first installment was one of my personal favorite games of 2014, but it’s equally neon-soaked sequel didn’t seem to be doing anything particularly different from its predecessor. After playing 2 rounds at Nintendo’s booth at PAX East today, I can safely say…That I pretty much feel the same as I did when I saw that first trailer.
The demo for Splatoon 2 let 8 players enter a classic Turf War match. Each player got their own Nintendo Switch console; some on TVs, others in mobile mode with the joy-cons locked on. Just like the first Splatoon, Splatoon 2 defaults to a semi-motion control scheme where vertical camera movement is tilt-based. And while we weren’t able to change those settings at the demo, I was told by a staff member that the option will be in the game proper.
Other than that, getting into Splatoon 2 is a completely effortless experience for anyone relatively well-crafted in the first game. I played both rounds using the brand-new Dual Splattershot guns, which feature the added benefit of a dodge roll feature. Other than that function, the other three weapons were all from the first game, consisting of two Splattershot and a roller. Once we hopped into the game, nothing flowed particularly differently than the first game. Each load out came with new ultimate weapons. Rocketing up into the air while ink-blasting foes from above is a fun touch, but is in no way game-breaking. Nothing else feels mechanically distinct from the first game. Other than some artistic and textural upgrades, I would have completely bought it if I had been told I was playing the first game with some added DLC.
Splatoon 2 was as fun to pick up and play as the first game, but in this case I can’t say for sure that that’s a good thing. I left having enjoyed my turf war, but still puzzled about what Nintendo is trying to say distinguishes Splatoon 2. Hopefully we’ll get a better idea of the answers when the game launches on Nintendo Switch later this year.