I reviewed Splatoon 2. Spoiler alert: I like the game. I like it because of how inventive and original the core formula of covering a stage with ink in order to win a battle remains.
I had problems with the game ahead of release, and they remain even as we approach a full week of the game at retail. Chiefly, the game’s multiplayer elements feel like they were designed in an era of gaming lost to the sands of time. Nintendo leans on ideas that shouldn’t even exist in games today, and the result is a really great game beneath layers of design frustration.
Visit any community of Splatoon 2 fans, and you’ll find the same thing. There’s an overwhelming sense of love for the game that’s speckled with pocks of frustration born out of a problematic design.
Why can’t we change weapons in lobbies? Why can’t we actually quit out of a lobby whenever we want? You have to play a match and select the option to quit right after or close the game entirely on your Switch. Those are your options.
“We should let Nintendo know that we don’t want to wait to play Salmon Run,” one thread on Reddit’s Splatoon 2 community reads. Right, you can only play Salmon Run at certain times of the day.
Folks are still frustrated by the two-hour map rotation, though it’s definitely better than the four-hour rotation we had in the original Splatoon.
Fans want the option to skip the stage news that fires up every time you start the game.
In short, people want to control their game experience.
On the plus side, Nintendo has demonstrated that they are listening. The developers issue patches to tweak weapons and fix exploits. They’ve obviously heard some complaints following the original Splatoon, thus the option to skip the overly talkative comments from Sheldon the weapons dealer.
I just hope Nintendo is listening to everything. Sure, pure Nintendo fans are a forgiving bunch. They’ll put up with the Quality of Life-related problems because they want the Nintendo experience buried beneath.
Here’s the thing, the Nintendo Switch is a successful platform. It’s pulling in gamers that skipped the Wii U, and it has the potential to pull in more mainstream players than the Wii did. Those players are used to an online experience that’s, in a word, modernized. What they’re getting with Splatoon 2 might put them off gaming online with Nintendo moving forward.
Heck, I explained the voice chat system to a friend thinking about getting a Switch to play with me, and he was blown away. We’ll be using Discord on our phones, but the fact that we even have to in the modern age is absurd. We’ve been chatting in games for more than a decade now without issue.
I like Splatoon 2. It’s a great game. I’m hoping Nintendo makes it even better by meeting modern demands to satiate the masses.
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