The global testfire for Splatoon 2 is a huge deal for the Nintendo Switch. Not only is it an introduction to the series to anyone who didn’t experience it on the Wii U, it’s also many people’s first impression of Nintendo’s network. With the paid service set to release sometime this Fall, this testfire can either be the start of something good or the first mistake they have to come back from. With so much riding on Splatoon 2, is the testfire a sign of good things to come or the first step towards failure?
Unsurprisingly, the global testfire launched with some connection problems. I personally had issues connecting to the server, a problem I resolved by reading the manual and hard resetting my system, with many other people posting a multitude of problems. Thankfully, a lot of them seemed to be unrelated to the testfire, which ran quite well. In the 40 or so minutes I played after connecting online went off without a hitch.
I remember the original testfire being filled with connection errors, lobbies failing and other issues. I personally experienced none of this in Splatoon 2, making me hopeful for the future. The games themselves were also quite smooth, with no serious issues resulting from connection.
One of the biggest concerns with Splatoon 2 is how the Joy-Cons will work out and the Pro Controller being required. During the testfire I tried out multiple set ups and found Splatoon 2 was enjoyable with each controller type.
Surprisingly, the style I found most enjoyable was portable with the Joy-Cons connected to the Switch. This might be due to it being reminiscent of the Wii U, but I found the core buttons used were usable and the experience was quite enjoyable. Needless to say, the Pro Controller performed quite well. Not to the point where I would say it was the best way to play, but to the point where it was easily second best. The triggers made it feel like I was playing on the PlayStation or Xbox, making the overall experience feel more natural.
The grip and Joy-Cons separately felt about the same. The buttons worked, but something about each of them felt awkward. A weird feeling considering how favorable they feel connected to the system. This might have more to do with a lack of time with them in other configurations, but still good enough to say the game is completely playable.
Splatoon 2 has faced a lot of criticism about it looking and feeling similar to the first game. This shouldn’t be a shock, considering it is a sequel and there is only so much that can be changed, but the gameplay didn’t feel terribly different. For better or worse, Splatoon 2 played exactly how I remember the original playing. The mechanics seemed unchanged, the logic behind how turf war seemed uncharged and even the splat dualies felt the same. This isn’t criticism, per se, just that those who loved the original will likely love the sequel and vice versa.
The levels themselves felt very similar, with one distinct and depressing difference. Part of the charm of the original was the ability to submit artwork to the server and have it randomly appear on billboards online. Running into my design was a personal highlight of the original game, which was missing in the testfire. This could be because the testfire obviously didn’t support it, though the levels themselves didn’t seem to be designed that way either. The same is true for map functionality, though this is expected given how different the controllers are. As for the actual levels, they looked and felt like they were taken from the original game.
Splatoon 2 feels like a more traditional sequel. It doesn’t seem to add anything terribly different, which is good for fans of the original, but not terribly exciting. Perhaps more will change, but even if they don’t it’s perfectly fine. It’s still a fun game, with plenty of depth for those looking for it.