Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"Splatoon 2" Review

Nintendo is determined to keep feeding the beast, cranking out a head-turning first-party release for the Switch per month. Stacking along with an impressive slate that includes The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Arms, Splatoon 2 is the third among the four offerings of games either previously made for the Wii U or remade from releases on the system.

The strategy of bolstering the new system's library by drawing from the old well is working so far. Nintendo is using the mediocre reach of the Wii U to its benefit, building upon solid word of mouth and unbridled enthusiasm of hardcore fans who devoured the previous games to build a groundswell of anticipation for new-ish games on its hot-selling system.

More Splatoon 1.5 than a full-fledged sequel, the new game excels by refusing to tamper with what already works well.

A strong, competitive third-person shooter hindered only by the lack of multiplayer voice chat that dogs all Nintendo software, Splatoon 2 brings the thrills and entertainment factor of a usually adult genre to all ages. Replacing bullets with paint guns gives the action a harmless, laser-tag style feel.

Gyroscope-aided motion aiming makes the Switch feel like a window into a world you control with your wrists and button taps, and the fluid combination of wall-crawling and paint stream dodging makes for invigorating war games.

What you get is an expanded set of offerings of what the 2015 title offered. New weapons, skins, maps and modes expand naturally on what came before, matching and exceeding the original slate.

LAN play makes more sense than online multiplayer, as long as you happen to have Switch-equipped pals. Face-to-face competition makes the action more exciting, thanks to the smack-talk and facial expressions that come along with the intimacy of the setup.

The four-on-four team-based Turf War mode remains the main attraction, but the new Salmon Mode offering -- think Gears of War's Horde Mode, team you and a buddy to face off against increasingly difficult waves of oncomers.

Checking off another box in the Switch's slowly, steadily growing catalogue, Splatoon 2 helps Nintendo continue to have an unmatched 2017 in first-party production. If you're still satisfied with the Wii U and original Splatoon, rest comfortably that you aren't missing out on all that much new. But if you're looking for future-proof shooting you can take on the go, the sequel should be in your sights.

Publisher provided a review code.

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