There are plenty of reasons not to endorse Splatoon 2. It’s a competitive shooter that lacks accessible party chat options. It’s matchmaking system doesn’t guarantee you’ll be on the same team when playing friends and Splatoon 2’s co-op mode is locked off by Nintendo every other time I log on.
But despite all my frustrations, Splatoon 2 is a game I’ve found myself spending an unprecedented amount of hours playing since launch. I simply can’t draw myself away from the vibrant multiplayer stages, the enthralling Salmon Run co-op mode (when it’s open) and the general craziness of having a squid kid wearing off-brand Yeezys while flying around on an ink-powered jetpack.
Splatoon 2’s campaign serves as a nice introduction to the mechanics of the game and offers some truly unusual boss fights, but it failed to hold my attention for long. There was never a point in playing the campaign that I felt challenged. Campaign unlocks and currency not transferring directly to multiplayer didn’t help peak interest either.
Salmon Run, Splatoon 2’s new co-op mode is another story. Granted, the experience appears to be limited to a couple of maps for now and the bosses become little more than cannon fodder after a few rounds, but I still itch to play it every time Grizzco corp. opens its doors.
The single most frustrating part of Salmon run is the mode’s availability. Nintendo only periodically allows players to access the mode, which has led to a large amount of frustration in the community. I’ll give Nintendo credit for increasing the time Salmon Run is available to 24 hour periods, but this just stands as another example of Nintendo holding back their own products from greatness.
Multiplayer serves as the main draw for Splatoon 2 and it is truly stellar. Turf War is a genius quick play game mode featuring 3 minute matches that are perfectly timed for taking a quick break from work or on a bus ride (if that bus happens to have Wi-Fi).
Ranked mode features three modes, none of which I found as exciting as Turf War. Both are enjoyable endeavors but Ranked mode seems to be tainted by only two types of players, one being 7-year olds with door knobs for fingers and the other being Japanese pro players who bathe in inkling blood every morning to improve their reaction time. There is no in between.
After being frustrated by not being able to communicate in ranked, you can return to Inkopolis, an endearing social hub full of item vendors, memes and absolute charm. It’s the one thing Splatoon 2 does superbly.
What isn’t superb is the lack of button remapping and fixed controller layouts. In 2017 it’s appalling to see such a lack of accessibility options when it comes to remapping buttons. I really wish Nintendo would put a little effort into these small changes that could make their games and the Nintendo Switch that much more appealing to the general public.
Splatoon 2 would be a perfect handheld shooter experience if it weren’t for the size and layout of the joy-cons. I can’t tell you how many times my hands cramped up when attempting to play for more than 20 minutes at a time. It’s became so bad that I purchased a Pro controller simply to avoid the early onset arthritis I know I’ve already put in motion.
Splatoon 2 is a few tweaks away from greatness. The game has that “one more round” addictive quality that I haven’t felt since Rocket League released. Nintendo’s lack of care for their player base has caused players to jump through hoops for years, and personally, my patience is wearing thin.
Regardless, Splatoon 2 is the most fun I’ve had with my with my Switch. It’s just a shame that a few unforgivable issues are holding Splatoon 2 back from being game of the year material.