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Splatoon 2 PAX East Impressions

Paint the town again. Second verse, same hues as the first.

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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.

 

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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.

Jay Petrequin started writing at HeyPoorPlayer in the summer of 2012, but first got his start writing for It's Super Effective, a Pokemon podcast that happened to be a reflection of two of his biggest interests: pocket monsters, and making people listen to him say things.
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