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Review: Splatoon 3

Written by Pawl S.Lax

Tacticooler than ever!

Is Splatoon 3 a good game? Yes. The end.

[We broke through the checkpoint]

Wait…what? We need to do more than that?

 

What even is a Splatoon?

Splatoon is easily the freshest IP to come out of Nintendo in quite some time. Originally released in 2015 for the Wii U, this unique take on the third person shooter genre, where you control a humanoid cephalopod in a team of 4 and shoot ink, covering both map and enemies alike, quickly established a strong fanbase, with anything related to it proving to be extremely popular worldwide. To the shock of many, a sequel was produced a mere 2 years after the original, coming out in the launch year of the Nintendo Switch. Squid Game Part Deux, being on a flourishing platform, proved to be even more popular than the original whilst improving upon a great many aspects and refining the formula over time. It’s almost unthinkable that we’d have a third mainline title in 7 years for a brand new Nintendo IP, but here we are at Squid Game the Third.

 


The core of Splatoon is best shown with its signature game mode - Turf War. The basic premise being for your team to ink a higher percentage of the map than your opponents do. How you go about achieving that is completely down to you. There’s a huge variety of weapon types that you can use - some are more suited for covering areas in ink quickly, others are best used for splatting your opponents, taking them out of commission for a short while before they respawn. There’s a crazy amount of ways to approach this fundamental task, allowing for plenty of freedom in finding a playstyle that works for you. Within your first couple of games, you’ll gain a decent understanding of how to play and that gameplay loop is very quick to sink its teeth into you and get you wanting to play just one more match.

 

This is just Splatoon 2.5 though, right?

If you already have a Switch, you may be thinking to yourself that you can just pick up Splatoon 2 for cheaper as it’s been out for 5 years and get the same experience. Fundamentally, that’s not wrong. The game’s core ideas and mechanics haven’t changed that much since the first iteration; if they did, it wouldn’t be Splatoon at all! So in that sense, it’s not going to deviate too much from the established formula. But there have been wholesale tweaks and changes to the way the game plays and how many aspects are now implemented. The effort has been put in to improve upon virtually everything the developers could think of, including addressing many Quality of Life issues that fans have been requesting for years now. If your heart already pumps ink around your body, these changes will make your head spin with giddiness, as it feels like a real leap forward in the series. If you’re much more casual in your Squidditch, however, you’ll probably still feel like the game has changed a lot, without being able to put your finger on just quite where that feeling is coming from. So, let’s take a look at what’s changed.


From the moment your first match starts, BOOM! Right out of the gates, you’re hurtled towards the map at a lightning pace from your floating spawn point. Immediately, you’re given the feeling that this game is quicker in nature. You dive right into the action. The already vibrant colours are even brighter than before. In fact, graphically everything is a lot more polished. Literally. The ink has a shimmer like never before. Everything just pops and it’s beautiful to see. Not that you have time to take that in during the course of a match, the pace is even more frenetic than in previous titles once you make your way to the middle of the map and begin to engage in combat. When you mix in the new Squid Roll and Squid Surge movement mechanics, which allow you to make quick turns in movement or surge up and over the top of walls, the whole thing just feels faster to play from start to finish, which makes it both more intense and exciting along the way. That’s something I really didn’t think would be achievable when the core gameplay was already excellent in Splatoon 2. 

 

The music - always a highlight for Splatoon games - doesn’t just retread old themes (although many old favourites return in remixed form) but has become more ambitious in its nature. There’s plenty of distinct genres during gameplay, so there’s a wealth of variety to try and pick your favourite tracks from. Honestly though, the splatfest music is on another level entirely and exemplifies how wonderful the music team is for this game.

 

The lobby system has been completely overhauled and works like an absolute dream. At the push of a button, you can freely select between hopping into a regular Turf War lobby on your own, or (in a series first) you can open a room for up to 3 friends to join you for Turf War on the same team, before being matched up against others. Alternatively, you can still freely play Turf War with up to 7 friends as in previous games, but they’ll have to join you from a lobby already in progress and teams will be randomised each time. 

 

It might sound daft, but being able to simply play on the same team as your mates guaranteed in Turf War has been one of the most requested features since day 1 and to finally have it available makes a HUGE difference, especially when playing alongside less experienced squidkids. Once you’ve unlocked it, you’ll be able to join Anarchy Battles as either a solo player or with friends from this match menu too. The ease with which you’re able to join your friends is astonishing, everything just moves faster. They want to get you into a game with your buddies, having fun as quickly as possible and that’s the way it should be!

 

The lobby itself doubles as a practice area where you can test out your weapons and gear choices, while you wait for the match to begin. Matchmaking is generally very quick at launch so you won’t have more than 30 seconds or so after readying up before your next game. During this downtime, you’ll be able to see holograms of your teammates running around the lobby in real time. This makes your comrades feel more like real people and not just names on a list next to yours, as you’re able to pseudo-interact with them between games which boosts both morale and creates bonds with your new buddies. Lobby-based hologrammatic Squid Parties are the future.


When you jump into a match with your team, the first thing you’ll see are everyone’s Splashtags - another brand new feature showing off the importance of customisation in Splatoon 3. Not only do you set up a unique in-game name here, but you can unlock new backgrounds, titles and badges to display on it to show off your own signature style. I, myself am now a proud Super-Duper Lucky Splat Bomb User. A large number of these items come from the new Catalog system, a 100-tier pass that you’ll progress through over the course of 3 months that contains limited-time rewards. Don’t worry, this isn’t a battle pass you have to pay for, it’s completely free and all Turf War, Anarchy Battles and Salmon Run shifts will contribute to your progression. As long as you’re playing online multiplayer in some form, you’re working towards completing the Catalog. 

 

Alternatively, another huge source of Splashtag items is the gacha-style Shell-Out Machine in the lobby, which costs in–game currency to play (during Splatfests, you’ll also earn Conch Shells which can each be used for a free play, which you’ll need as there’s a few items that are exclusive to each season to be obtained from this machine as well). There’s plenty to unlock to customise your Inkling/Octoling to suit your needs. And one day, you too will be able to Dab at the end of your matches!

 

Of course, it wouldn’t be a new Splatoon game without some new weapons to play with. For now, we’ve been introduced to 2 new weapon classes - Stringers and Splatanas. The former you will probably recognise as it is all over the marketing material - the new bow-like weapon class. The Stringer can be tricky to use, although players experienced with Chargers/Splatlings will find them familiar as it’s like a shorter range hybrid of the two classes. The Tri-Stringer is available early on and is fun once you get the hang of it and is a worthy addition to the lineup. The Splatana class meanwhile is a melee weapon that allows you to fling a line of ink directly in front of you, like a Brush with projectile ink but without the ability to run whilst painting the floor. The Splatana Stamper is more heavy-hitting than the Wiper you unlock early on, in the same way that the Octobrush is a much meatier version of the Inkbrush and is likely the one most players will gravitate towards out of the two as it feels quite satisfying to land a direct hit and get a splat; being able to reliably do this from a reasonable distance really changes up the melee weapon approach.

 

There are plenty of new special weapons in Splatoon 3, and pretty much all of them are a hoot. Highlights include:

The Zipcaster, which allows for some completely crazy manoeuvres, the Reefslider is an exploding shark on rails – probably the most popular special amongst newer players as it’s simple to understand and execute. 

The Crab Tank is proving popular amongst all levels of players. It’s again a special that is easy to understand and can be used to great effect either offensively or defensively. 

Meanwhile, the Big Bubbler has proved to be quite disappointing. Whilst it does protect from enemy ink outside for a short time, it has too long a startup time to be a panic protection special, it breaks easily and enemies can simply come inside the bubble and splat you point blank. It is however useful as a (temporary) relatively safe beacon for others to jump to and is probably most effective when used directly on the tower during Tower Control, especially when pushing through checkpoints..

Arguably the most powerful in Anarchy games is the Wave Breaker. During the direct they made a point of showing how to get around its effect by jumping, but in reality this is not easy to do when it is used in an area with heavy activity such as a splat zone or near the tower. If the opposite team manages to get 2 of them active at once, it’s almost impossible to avoid getting caught (whilst simultaneously exposing yourself to enemy fire), and the damage each hit from the Wave Breaker gives is not insignificant. Many squids are getting splatted by this and will be for some time yet. 

Oh, and then there’s the simple brilliance of the Tacticooler – come grab a drink from this and not only will you gain increased speed and abilities but, if you happen to get splatted while under the influence, you’ll respawn instantly with no loss of special charge. It’s frankly amazing and easily my favourite new special (don’t let the fact that I’ve won more matches with the Killer Wail 5.1 tell you otherwise!)

 

The map selection at launch is the largest we’ve had so far, with 12 maps from all 3 titles in the series being represented. The brand new ones are all relatively safe choices for early stages for newer players to get to grips with while they learn the game. There’s nothing especially gimmicky about any of them, which also means they’re largely not very memorable. Visually they’re all quite distinct though, so they’re at least memorable on an aesthetic level. I think my favourite of the bunch to play on is currently Mincemeat Metalworks, despite the fact that I really don’t like the name at all. The Splatoon 2 stages that return are virtually carbon copies, so there isn’t much to report on that end of things. If you played them in 2, you’ve played them here. Meanwhile, Mahi-Mahi Resort and Hammerhead Bridge, two of my personal favourite maps from the original game, are virtually unrecognisable from their original forms. Unfortunately, this is the way most maps from the first game will probably be when brought into newer titles, to accommodate for the changes in gameplay, weapons available etc. It does give hope that the utterly broken fan favourite stage from the original, Saltspray Rig, will make a return in some form, although it may be in name and general aesthetic only.

 

Another major addition… well, it’s technically minor but feels major… you don’t have to watch the news broadcasts that tell you when stages have changed! You can simply let these run in the background as our new trio of idols, Deep Cut, will give you the run down whether you watch the broadcast or not. This option is actually set as the default; you have to opt in to watch the news. Deep Cut, incidentally, are freakin’ fantastic as a group and have real potential to unseat the Squid Sisters as my favourite group. It’s a shame that so many won’t ever really see their newscast interactions, so make sure to read their banter while the news update runs in the background and get to know their personalities that way.

 

 

There’s a single player mode?

Yes, Splatoon 3 does in fact have a substantial single player mode. This is basically Hero Mode from Splatoon 1 & 2 crossed with Octo Expansion from Splatoon 2’s DLC and their offspring is the best thing the single player experience has produced in the series. Most levels will require a small fee of power eggs for attempting, but they always pay out significantly more power eggs when completed. You’ll often be given a choice of weapon to attempt the level with, and sometimes the payout will vary slightly depending on which you pick. From there, it’s a case of fulfilling the challenge of that particular level. Unlike previous hero modes, this isn’t simply about making your way to the end of the level and/or fighting a boss. Taking a hefty amount of pages out of the Octo Expansion playbook, a large number of the levels are challenges that have to be overcome, such as lasting a whole minute surrounded by wave breakers without any ability to ink a safe spot, taking out all the targets with one singular shot, or using only the crab tank to make your way through an entire level!

 

Some weapon choices will inevitably make challenges harder than others, depending on how familiar you are with the weapons in question. Some challenges can be maddening - specifically targets on rails using the Tri-Stringer - but nothing ever feels unfair. You just need to learn the way the game wants you to behave, adapt to patterns etc and you’ll be fine. Story mode is both an incredible tool for teaching newer players how the game’s mechanics work whilst also making you use weapons you otherwise might not use (or even have access to yet) in the main game, rather than letting you jump into battle with zero practice.

 

And best of all, you have complete autonomy about how to proceed with it. Outside of the first few tutorial levels, nothing is mandatory. You can grind the same stages to get the requisite power eggs to move on if you can’t beat a particular level. All hidden items are found in the overworld rather than during the levels themselves for the first time, so you can just focus on the challenge ahead of you rather than searching obscure corners for hidden goodies.

 

The story itself is brilliant at tying the worlds of Splatoon 1, 2 & 3 together into one narrative that reaches a thrilling conclusion (no spoilers here, don’t fret!) - although the final boss fight itself felt a little underwhelming after some of the tough-as-nails challenges along the way, it was nonetheless a great finale. We basically got Octo Expansion 2 already with Story Mode, so expectation levels are through the roof for whatever we get from the DLC in the future. 

 

Tableturf Battle

I won’t lie – when Tableturf Battle was unveiled in the direct, I wasn’t particularly enamoured but a side-game is just that and extra content for free is never a bad thing. Tableturf Battle is basically a turn-based deck builder game where you attempt to end up with more squares covered than your CPU opponent. There is currently no way to play against other humans, this is expected to come in a future update. For the time being, you can play against a CPU using another players’ deck if you encounter their ghost in the square. 

 

Each card has a distinct shape of squares and a numerical value, based upon the character/weapon etc the card depicts. You can only place cards down next to squares already taken by yourself and you can’t overlap. In the event that you and your opponent both try to take the same section, the card with the lower numerical value will win out and take the squares. As you progress and build your deck, you’ll play against increasingly difficult AI and need to learn how to use more advanced mechanics, such as Special Attacks and creating walls, in order to make sure you come out on top. 

 

This is easily the most advanced mini-game that Splatoon has ever produced, but because of that I do think that means it will be forgotten about by all but the most fervent fans of this style of game. The simplicity of Squid Jump in Splatoon 1 made it accessible to all players. It was also a way to pass the time between matches, (which is now replaced by messing around/practising in the lobby area) so every player got a chance to play it whenever they played the game. Tableturf meanwhile is literally hidden in a back alley in Splatsville Square and does not even have an icon on the main menu to either let you know it’s there or to fast travel. If you aren’t looking for it, you may never even find it during the course of natural play, which is a strange design choice indeed.

 

Salmon Run: Next Wave

Arguably the best new thing brought to Splatoon 2 was Salmon Run, a PvE mode where you and 3 others team up to take down hordes of rampaging Salmonids and look to harvest Golden Eggs for your boss, Mr. Grizz, in exchange for rewards. Salmon Run returns in Splatoon 3, and has been turned up a level in the process. Before you even begin, Grizzco also has a lobby where you can practice with the weapons available during the shift, as well as practicing your egg throwing, both of which are very welcome additions and great improvements over a simple waiting screen.

 

When it comes to Salmon Run itself, we have a few new types of boss salmonid to contend with, all of which enhance an already stellar mode, but none perhaps more so than the Fish Stick. The little song that the Smallfry sing as they swirl around is adorable and reminds you that, even when it gets intense, this mode is all about fun. There’s also a couple of new events – Mudmouth Eruption and Giant Tornado - alongside returning ones, such as Grillers and Goldie Hunt. The former is easy enough to understand, you simply throw bombs into the huge mouths to get golden eggs, whilst being careful to not be overwhelmed by the salmonids spawning at the same time. The latter relies on both teamwork and usage of the key new mechanic – Egg Throws. You can now toss eggs in exchange for a large part of your ink tank, but this makes getting eggs to the basket a much easier task – you even gain points for assists if you throw eggs towards the basket and a teammate collects them and puts them in for you, so there’s no longer a need to be greedy and keep eggs for yourself to raise your own scores. Which brings us back to Giant Tornado – the event happens at low tide, with the basket all the way back in its normal position. Chests of golden eggs will appear at the far end of the map and it’s down to your team to create a chain of throwing the eggs all the way back across the map to the basket to make sure they all get collected in time. It's a fantastic concept and a real highlight of the game generally as you truly have to work as a team to make the most of it.

 

That teamwork is put to the test however when the brand new super boss round appears. Occasionally, after you have completed your third wave, EMERGENCY will flash up and you’ll be subjected to the XTRAWAVE where you’ll duke it out with a King Salmonid. So far, the only known type is Cohozuna, an absolutely ginormous beast with massive HP. You’re not left without a way to fight back though as Mr Grizz provides you with an Egg Cannon – that’s right, the golden eggs dropped by boss salmonids are now weapons to be used against the King! And they do a LOT of damage. Success in the XTRAWAVE will see you rewarded with scales, which can be traded in for banners, locker items and even a different colour work uniform. Salmon Run: Next Wave takes an already great formula and improves upon it significantly, you’ll end up spending a lot of time here.

Ranked is dead, Anarchy is here!

Those of you familiar with Splatoon 1 & 2 will be familiar with those games’ Ranked modes – Splat Zones, Tower Control, Rainmaker and Clam Blitz. All four of these return day 1 in Splatoon 3, but are no longer referred to as “Ranked” – this concept has been replaced with “Anarchy” – which comes in two forms – Anarchy Series and Anarchy Open, neither of which are the Ranked of old but share a large portion of its DNA. The biggest change however, is that you no longer have ranks in the individual modes; we’ve gone back to having one overall rank like in Splatoon 1, so if you only want to play Splat Zones, you can do that without feeling pressured to play the others to have even ranks across the board. However if you do choose to play this way, prepare for a rude awakening when you try out the other modes if you’ve already reached a higher rank as you will be paired up based on that overall rank, not how much you’ve played a particular type of Anarchy Battle.

 

Anarchy Series is the closest to the old-style solo Ranked, as it is here where you will earn most of your rank points and be able to increase your rank itself. You have to pay a varying number of rank points that you’ve accumulated (when you start, the cost is free) in order to start a Series. Once a Series is started, you’ll play until either you’ve had 5 wins or 3 losses, whichever happens first – you can pause the Series if you wish and pick it up again later, even in a different mode type. Once the Series is over, your results (including medals earned) will be tallied and you will receive your rank points as a reward. Losing more than you win may mean you earn less points than it cost to start, so your total rank points will drop compared to before starting the series. Once you earn enough points, you can choose to take on a Rank-Up battle which, if successful, will move you up to the next band of ranks. It only takes 3 wins to pass this, as opposed to 5. 

 

I’m not a massive fan of this revision of how ranking works to be honest – I’ve already experienced a case where I was only a handful of rank points short of being eligible for a Rank-Up battle and instead had to go through another entire Series or several matches in Open in order to get the handful of points necessary, to then have to win 3 matches to increase Rank, when previously it would have been a case of 1 win to cover the lot, the whole thing feels unnecessarily drawn out. It’s also impossible to decrease in rank. You will be demoted a couple of ranks once the next season begins, based upon your highest rank during the season, but otherwise once you win a Rank-Up battle, you can’t go lower than that for the whole season. This means that players can’t actually go down, which kind of negates the point of rank being used for skill-based matchmaking as on paper, it’s possible for everyone to make their way to the higher bands and never be pushed back out based on their skill/results, which seems less than ideal.

 

If you don’t fancy the pressure of putting your rank on the line, you can instead choose to play Anarchy Open – the maps and modes for this are kept separate from those in Anarchy Series, so there’s always 2 types of Anarchy match to play at any given time. As an added bonus, you can queue up with 1-3 friends to play together and enjoy these modes as a team, without it impacting upon your actual rank. You’ll still gain and lose points, but not to the same extent as in Series and Series is the only place where your rank can actually change. This is fantastic as it gives players more choice and the ability to enjoy these game types in a more relaxed setting.

 

In terms of the modes themselves, Splat Zones and Tower Control are pretty much the same as they were in Splatoon 2; controlling specific area(s) of the map and riding the tower along a set path more than your opponents do, respectively. Both are solid modes and seem to work well with the new special weapons – particularly the Crab Tank, Ink Vac and Wave Breaker.

 

Clam Blitz has had a couple of refinements – the main one being that instead of requiring 10 clams to build a Super Clam, you now only need 8, which means teams will get Super Clams significantly quicker than they were in Splatoon 2, and by proxy means that opportunities to score will be more frequent. However, this also means the maximum number of clams you can hold at one time has also dropped, which means the potential for scoring points once the basket has been opened is also less than it was before. Give with one hand, take with the other. More opportunity, less likely to be steamrolled once it happens. Probably for the best. Oh and a brand new feature is a tune now plays, to indicate that a basket is open, the music doesn’t revert to normal until the basket closes. More audio-visual cues to let players know what is transpiring, without being intrusive at the same time, can only be a good thing.

 

And then there’s Rainmaker, the victim of the biggest changes we’ve seen between series entries this time around. Rainmaker now has checkpoints – a pedestal just like the goal that must be completed before you can approach the goal at all. The purpose of this is to prevent players from making a large push for points in one fell swoop which was the most thrilling part of the mode previously. To make matters worse, the checkpoint is always situated at a natural choke point on the map anyway – it was already going to be difficult to go through this area without being splatted, and now you’ve got to stay there even longer and re-win the Rainmaker if you want to continue your push for points.

 

In many cases, there isn’t even a choice of checkpoint pedestal to go to, which highlights how poor many of the current maps actually are for Rainmaker as there was only one basic path available anyway. This to me shows that the developers put too much stock into thinking about how to draw out games into longer fights instead of trying to open them up to be more interesting. Case in point; Inkblot Art Academy. There has only ever been one major route for this and it comes with a huge chokepoint approaching the enemy side of the map, where most pushes stop and the majority of fighting takes place. Funnily enough, that’s exactly where the checkpoint is as it’s the only place they could actually put it on the map, which is pretty redundant. Right next to it is a new inkrail that allows you to go further around the left of the next area more directly. That’s great, it at least gives a new and muchly needed option, but it’s still all the same part of the map and forms part of the same singular route. There was an opportunity, for example, to create a rail that went around the right hand side of the map and give options for teams to use, but they chose to focus every change they made on the part of the map that we already spend 90% of matches fighting to get through.

 

The weight of the Rainmaker has also been seemingly adjusted to make it almost completely ignore any speed modifiers, whether from gear or the Tacticooler. As someone who previously played Rainmaker at a breakneck pace, I can’t agree that these are changes for the better as an entire playstyle, that has been around since the first day Rainmaker was brought into Splatoon, has been completely invalidated in favour of enhancing the difficulty of progression in areas that were already a nightmare to traverse at the best of times. It’s still a fun mode to play of course, but it’s definitely worse now.

A Splatfestivus for the rest of us

Splatfests make their return after being fan favourites in the first 2 games.  Once a Splatfest begins, Splatsville transforms from a bustling daytime hub into a gigantic party. Splatfests have evolved, much like the rest of the game, as there are now 3 teams to choose from instead of 2. The first half of the Splatfest sees you team up with people who voted the same as you to take on a squad from one of the other teams in a night-time turf war. At the half-way point of the Splatfest period, current results are tallied and the team currently in the lead is revealed. At this point, a brand new mode becomes available – Tricolour Turf War.

During Tricolour, the leading team will send in a team of 4 to face off against 2 teams of 2 at the same time - one from each of the other 2 Splatfest teams - in a 3-way Turf War match. The attacking teams The leading team must also defend an item in the centre of the map called the Ultra Signal, which the other 2 teams will try to grab. Successfully defending the signal by splatting someone mid-capture will cause it to respawn and need to be defended again. However, a successful capture of the Ultra Signal by either of the 2 trailing teams will summon a giant Sprinkler of Doom, which will continuously rain ink of that team’s colour down until the end of the match. Up to 2 of these can be captured by any one team, to a maximum of 3 overall, and they swing the tide of the match massively. It’s not impossible to win once a sprinkler has been activated by another team, but it’s practically game over once a team obtains 2 of them. There were a lot of complaints regarding balancing of this mode and how it affects the scores during the Splatfest Premiere demo, with the developers responding by turning down the frequency with which it was played during the first Splatfest in the full game as they need further time to properly assess how to better balance the mode going forward. It’s a fantastic concept but does need some serious tweaks to make it a better experience for the majority of players going forward.

 

The more interesting aspect is that Splatoon 3 is stepping into the realms of not just 2 teams of 4 facing off. We’ve had 4v2v2 here and it’s not unreasonable to expect some sort of 2v2v2v2 match type to come down the line, or perhaps for them to look for ways to implement a similar system for a variation on Anarchy Battles. It really feels like Tricolour Turf War is just a small glimpse, a tantalising teaser of the creativity the team is capable of and what may very well be the future for the series, which is an inkredibly exciting prospect.

 

 

Smooth Sailin’?

It would be remiss to not bring to your attention that there are currently several issues with online play that do tend to drag the experience down. Aside from occasional bugs and glitches which are the norm for titles at launch - some of which have already received fixes, it should be noted - there are distinct problems with the play experience that seem to arise from the new matchmaking tool being used in the background, which while allowing more players to connect from greater distances more frequently (and quickly) has also seemingly led to a significant increase in players being matched up with sub-par connections between them. Too often players are experiencing matches being ended early due to a disconnection from someone in the game or not finishing the match with one of the teams completely intact. The match will be written off as a draw but it’s incredibly frustrating for this to happen with such frequency. That’s only when someone outright disconnects though, there are also frequent instances of lag delays which result in things happening in your game that do not make any sense, which will either make you laugh or cry. 

This has of course always been a problem with online games, but it seems more prevalent than in previous Splatoon games at this point in time. Nintendo continues to utilise Peer-to-Peer connections, so the quality of these being matched together needs to be kept to a higher standard than it currently is to maintain the integrity of the matches as they play out. As things stand, when everything is working as it should the game is a fantastic experience, but equally when it doesn’t work as it should, it quickly becomes a frustrating mess that (particularly if this happens during a critical Rank-Up Battle) can make you want to turn the game off completely and not come back until there’s been a patch to help try and fix these issues. And they will get fixed along the way; if there’s one thing we know about the Splatoon developers it’s that they’re committed to fixing any issues they can whilst continuing to improve and enhance the game for years to come. Although weirdly the first minor patch they released seems to have somehow made these issues more prevalent. Not everyone will have these experiences of course, but it would be unfair and a misrepresentation to not at least mention that they exist and happen with sufficient frequency that a lot of players are frustrated with their experience a significant amount of the time.

Summary

Splatoon 3 takes the already fantastic foundation its predecessor laid out and refines the experience splendidly. Old Cuttlefishes and New Smallfry alike will find plenty to love in the latest entry in the series, be it from the excellent Story Mode, Turf War, Anarchy Battles or Salmon Run: Next Wave. A couple of odd design decisions aside, the wealth of gameplay changes, quality of life improvements and general freshness of the title do more than justify this as being a full entry in the series, rather than just an update for Splatoon 2. If you enjoy online multiplayer games, this is an absolutely essential purchase for your Switch library. Even if you don’t usually enjoy that kind of experience, this is the type of game that may well change your mind on that.

Verdict

Is Splatoon 3 a good game? Yes. The end.

 

Where to Buy

 

 

 

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Credits

Written by Paul Donaldson

Edited by Mark McAllister, Jen Griffiths and Paul L. Russell

Graphic by Paul L. Russell