Here’s footage from the half hour I spent with Splatoon 2 during the evening testfire on 24th March. All matches were Turf Wars, with a choice of 4 weapons on 1 of 2 maps, with random characters and equipment from what appeared to be a small basic pool. We previewed Splatoon 2 initially back in Feb!
Timestamps (if you to YouTube you can click these in the description which is, ooh, a little bit fancy, isn’t it?)
►00:50: Splattershot / The Reef
►04:50: Splattershot / Musselforge Fitness
►09:35: Splat Dualies / Musselforge Fitness
►13:50: Splat Roller / The Reef
►18:25: Splat Charger / The Reef
I played all the weapons for a bit. Sorry I couldn’t get more of the dualies. The roller match was a bit depressing with 2 of my teammates dropping out. The Splattershot and the Dualies are probably the most fun to watch, though somehow I did okay with the Splat Charger. I’m usually terrible with Chargers, and didn’t feel like I was doing great, but I guess I managed to cover some ground.
For this portion of the testfire I gave the Splat Roller another quick look, as the only match I played with it before was pretty limited. It still feels quite similar to Splatoon, with a new super. Then I mainly focused on the brand new Splat Dualies weapon type, and really started to get into those dodge rolls. Because it’s new it seemed to be dominating the weapon selection!
Connection-wise it seemed very smooth in-game. I did have some trouble getting into rooms before playing the Roller, but it was about 10 minutes before the testfire closed for the night, so some chaos could be expected.
The map, then. Let’s talk about the map, one of my chief concerns back in my February preview when I only got a very small amount of time with the game. This was also a short time, but I’ll have to build on it bit by bit. The map… Isn’t as big an issue for me now as it was then. It’s still a bit fiddly, but I found myself getting more and more used to it, especially this time. Not having the Wii U Gamepad to glance down at is going to be a bit annoying, but calling it up quickly didn’t seem that bad.
I thought I might end up only using the map while awaiting respawn, but I managed to quickly pull it up to check trouble areas even when playing. It helps you can keep moving and everything for sure, though it definitely obscures the screen too much to really allow you to play continuously with it up, which is clearly by design.
Before recording I very quickly tried playing it in the Switch’s portable mode. Obviously it would take longer than I gave it to get used to the feel, but I didn’t really enjoy the combination of holding it entirely in my hands and Splatoon’s necessary twitch-gyro aiming. You must keep it stationary to a degree to look at the screen, but my wrists want to knock it all over the place to rack up those sweet, sweet paint points (and also brutal kills).
The Joy-Con Grip proved very adequate as a controller for Splatoon 2. I’d previously used the Pro Controller with Splatoon 2 back at the preview event, and I think going from first impressions I preferred the Pro Controller, but not by a huge margin. In either case, it felt that the controls definitely benefited from being a single unit due to the twitch-gyro aiming, whether you use the Grip or the Pro.
But is the game still good? Very much so. Splatoon 2 feels like slipping your favourite pair of trainers on after a long period of wearing stiff shoes. And if you’ve not tried these trainers yet? Well, then I very much recommend buying a pair. By which I mean buying both a Nintendo Switch, and Splatoon 2 when it comes out.
Playing Turf Wars the matches seemed to have the potential to feel smoother and faster than ever. The Reef and Musselforge Fitness were both fun, albeit fairly simple maps, but it looks like more complex and interesting maps, as well as game modes, will return. Of the selection on offer, the super moves felt a little more dynamic, and also not quite as hugely powerful as before. Even some of the more in-your-face powers seemed to have a weakness that made them vulnerable to a well-trained squid, which should help even out the flow.
This is the real deal for sure! Make sure you hop in and give it a go. If you have a Switch, you need to try it out for yourself!
Splatoon 2 releases on Nintendo Switch in Summer 2017! When in Summer? Not soon enough is when.