Review – Splatoon 3

Overview

Developer Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development
Publisher Nintendo
Genre Third-Person Shooter
Platforms Switch (reviewed)
Release Date September 9, 2022

Splatoon is a relatively new series launched by Nintendo for the Wii U in May 2015 and has seen a steady increase in popularity ever since with the sales of the sequel rising into the millions. The franchise has made a name for itself as a family-friendly third-person multiplayer shooter series with a heavy emphasis on collaboration and competition much like the ocean that the game takes inspiration from. Over time, it has changed in waves to add variety to the gameplay, and the third version, Splatoon 3, is no exception.

Content Guide

Violence: Despite Splatoon 3 being a game in the shooter genre, violence is not gratuitous. The game is more similar to paintball and no characters die. The story does not even include death. Enemies only get splatted. This is considered a time-out from the match before they are allowed back on the playing field. The weapons used in the game are based on paint tools such as paint brushes, paint rollers, and paint guns.

Sexual Content: Splatoon 3 takes inspiration from street fashion including outfits that show midriffs and some display minor cleavage. The presenters used in the game for announcing stages and general news known as Deep Cut wear revealing outfits. Their outfits are comprised of the traditional Japanese Sarashi, a wrap of cloth around their chest under their poncho-styled outfits.

Other Negative Elements: Splatoon 3 is an online game and the voice chat is restricted to only friends on a player’s switch console. The player must also use the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app to use the voice chat functionality, which can lead to unrestricted user interactions over voice calls. The other element that can be problematic is player posts which are messages that can appear on players’ characters that are drawn and created by them. Player messages can involve sexual material, harsh language, or offensive content. These posts can be turned off in the settings. Splatoon 3 does require an extra purchase of Nintendo Switch online for the game to be played with other players online.

Positive Elements: Splatoon 3 encourages players to work together to achieve a common goal. The process of working together involves thinking of how you can help each other rather than focusing on who gets the most kills like other team shooters. Additionally, local and online multiplayer can be an excellent way for people to bond with one another. The single-player campaign also has the positive experience of fighting to save the world of Splatoon. The single-player levels often involve puzzles that require creative thinking to complete them.

Splatoon 3 has an ESRB rating of E-10 and a PEGI rating of 7+.

Review

Splatoon 3 had a high bar set with the critical acclaim its predecessors received and it met these challenges head-on by improving upon the old and adding exciting new game additions. Its campaign was inspired heavily by Splatoon 2’s Octo-Expansion which enhanced the single-player experience of the series. Splatoon 3 took the improvements in stride and applied them to its main campaign. The most notable returning feature is the freedom for the player to play the levels in any order. A fun new element is the player’s Small Fry, a little non-hostile salmonoid. Small Fry can be used for a variety of clever purposes; notable uses include aiding in combat, puzzle solving, and grasping out-of-reach collectibles. The final addition to the single-player mode is more freedom of weapon choice for each mission.

Splatoon 3‘s multiplayer also sports numerous upgrades based on feedback from the second game and from playing the Splatfest demo. There is now a multiplayer lobby with a variety of features such as a training area where a player can warm up before their matches.  The lobby also has lockers that can be customized with earned and purchased merchandise. Additionally, there is a restaurant where players can eat meals for temporary benefits.

Fans of Ranked Battles from previous Splatoon games will recognize them as Anarchy Battles in this version. A player receives one rank for all ranked modes instead of individual ranks for each mode. All previous game modes from Ranked battles have returned.

Splatoon 3 brought back a fan-favorite game mode introduced in Splatoon 2 known as Salmon Run. Salmon Run is a mode where players work together to defeat computer-controlled enemy salmonoids and collect eggs.  One of the biggest improvements to the mode is the removal of time restrictions for when the mode can be played.  Additionally, players are now able to practice in an added practice room in the Salmon Run office. Another helpful addition is the ability to throw collected golden eggs into the collection basket. Overall Nintendo greatly improved Salmon Run to make it a more enjoyable experience than its predecessor.

Splatfests, special events where players choose a team to support in battle, have also been changed for Splatoon 3. While Splatfest previously was between two large teams, players are now able to join a third team which prompted the addition of three-way battles. Another updated element of Splatfest is the iconic t-shirts for the player’s team. Originally, once all the abilities on them have maxed out, any extra abilities received could be earned as bonus abilities to apply to the clothing of their choice. Splatoon 3 furthered this system by allowing it to be used on any clothes rather than just the exclusive Splatfest Tees.

In addition to the gameplay changes, Splatoon 3 has added new side activities to further enhance the experience. The full-fledged photo mode with filters and a new card game that players can enjoy in the city with—numerous cards to collect and earn through various methods—stand out in particular.

While Splatoon 3 boasts multiple great additions that drastically evolved the gameplay over its predecessor it does contain some elements that could be improved. Splatoon 3 has significantly less of everything such as stages, weapons, and gear. The lack of content can be detrimental to players who have a favorite weapon or stage from previous titles that are not yet part of this game at launch. Another change that some fans may be disappointed in is the removal of certain clothing abilities. Some of the abilities present in the previous entries for clothing have been removed as well as weapon kits that have been simplified when compared to Splatoon 2. According to Nintendo, most of these detriments will be improved with subsequent promised free updates.

Splatoon 3 does still have some improvements left to make, but it makes up for them with new features both for quality-of-life and gameplay mechanics. The many future updates planned gives fans and new players alike features to look forward to as the game grows. The series continues on its course of being a strong franchise for families and individuals to enjoy fast-paced shooter combat without the blood and gore of more mature titles of the genre. Unlike the previous entries in the series, Nintendo has made it clear they intend this entry to be the longest-lived of the series. Overall, Splatoon 3 offers an enjoyable experience worth giving a try.

The Bottom Line

 

Splatoon 3 is a worthy successor in the series, expanding on everything players loved about the first two games while listening to feedback from fans and making changes to keep the game feeling fresh and new.

 

8.5

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Logan Smiley

2 Comments

  1. Logan Smiley on October 31, 2022 at 8:57 am

    Thank you for your kind words, and God bless you as well.

  2. Stripe Shirt on October 13, 2022 at 7:29 am

    Great review! I’m excited that there is someone new who is reviewing video games again. I look forward to your future posts! GOD bless.

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