Splatoon 3 released a few days ago and I wanted to give my first impressions on my time with it so far. For reference, I played the first Splatoon on the Wii U a little and then played Splatoon 2 on the Switch a lot (200+ hours). Splatoon 2 is up there with Breath of the Wild as my favorite games on the Switch. I had so much fun with that game, but it was not without it’s annoyances. Enter Splatoon 3.
Refined to Perfection
Splatoon 3 does not drastically change the formula from previous games in the series. It consists of almost entirely the same modes as Splatoon 2. You still have your single player campaign, Turf War, ranked modes, and Salmon Run. Where Splatoon 3 moves the needle is how much it gets right in all of the details. These details, while small, contributed to a lot of annoyances in the Splatoon community. Splatoon 3 comes really close to fixing them all. A few of my favorite changes:
- You can skip the intro and hop right into the world. This is huuuuge!
- You can party up with your friends in Turf War battles and always be on the same team now. This was easily my biggest gripe with Splatoon 2 and it has been fixed!
- The new lobby is great. Instead of just staring at the players names waiting for your next match, you can now goof off in the lobby while you wait. Try out your weapons, play leapfrog with your teammates, or see how much area you can paint before the next battle starts. Just having something to do makes the wait seem so much shorter.
New & Fresh
Of course, there is also a lot of new things in Splatoon 3 as well. I love the new
battle pass catalog feature they have added. Basically once you hit level 4 you are gifted a catalog. Each catalog runs for a few months and you rank it up alongside your player rank. Each new level rewards you with some new item. It could be a new sticker for your locker, a new emote, new clothing items, or any number of other things. This is a great addition and will keep the community more engaged with the game. Also, unlike other games, the catalog feature is free and included with the base game.
Splatoon has always been about self expression and customizing your look and they have added some great options along these lines in Splatoon 3. Now, each player has a SplashTag that identifies them in multiplayer. You can now customize the background, add badges to it, and also give yourself a title, similar to the title feature in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. All of these changes are great. On top of that, each player is assigned a locker in the multiplayer lobby that they can fill with any items they have collected in the game. There is a lot of customization here and it is fun to look at everyone’s lockers to see all of the creativity on display.
The multiplayer co-op mode Salmon Run has also received some new additions. It is now always available to play as opposed to how it was in Splatoon 2 when you could only play the mode during scheduled times of the day. Also, you can now throw eggs as opposed to only being able to drop them which makes a huge difference in strategy this time. You also have a chance to face a gigantic boss at the end of your runs, which is great fun. I have faced him twice so far and defeated him once.
Nintendo has done an outstanding job with Splatoon 3. While not a groundbreaking entry in the series, they have cleaned up so many areas from the previous games while adding enough new stuff to keep the fanbase engaged. They have also promised plenty of post launch support, both free and paid, so this game should remain fresh for many years. If you have thought about dipping your toes into Splatoon, now is a great time to jump in. Thanks for reading.