What a time to be a Nintendo fan. This past week has seen the release of NBA Playgrounds, Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (on the 3DS), Thumper, and now a beautifully in-depth ARMS Direct. And while the Direct was strong and definitely proved why ARMS deserves its $60 price tag, the Splatoon 2 trailer at the end managed to hold its own among all the punch-throwing and hip-swinging (I’m looking at you, Twintelle).
The first Splatoon’s single player mode was one of my favorite parts of the game. Sure, it only took up about 8 of the over 500 hours I’ve put into the game, but my time spent in those bite-sized levels was incredibly satisfying. The way each level introduced a new mechanic that would then show up in the multiplayer modes was a really smart way of gradually easing players into the game before they tested their mettle online. Each stage was unique and provided some genuinely fun combat and platforming gameplay. There was also the added incentive of collecting all of the power eggs in a given level to upgrade the strength of weapons and sub-weapons.
The single player wasn’t perfect, however. For one, it was far too short and generally felt like an afterthought despite how well it introduced players to the game’s mechanics. Of course, the same can be said of any modern shooter’s single player mode, but I still couldn’t help feeling disappointed when it was over all too soon.
The large majority of the stages were also quite easy. There were a couple (Invisible Avenues anyone?) that offered a surprisingly stiff and enjoyable challenge, but for the most part, the difficulty came from trying to collect the hidden Sunken Scroll found in each one. The bosses only exasperated this issue by being more of a spectacle than a true test of a player’s skills. Almost all of them could be defeated in a minute or two and, while they were impressive from a visual and atmospheric standpoint, defeating them never felt like a true accomplishment. The final boss, DJ Octavio, ended up being the only real standout.
Now that we’ve finally been given a brief glimpse of Splatoon 2’s single player, there’s a whole lot to take in. The inferred premise that the player is working as an agent to help Marie find Callie is definitely an interesting one. The player’s mission feels much more dire this time around, and that’s only punctuated by Marie’s somber attire and apparent fall from grace as a pop icon as a result of Marie’s mysterious disappearance.
The levels look distinct and brilliantly varied. Players of the first game will immediately recognize the general aesthetic of the first level shown, but then we’re suddenly thrust into a brand new (and gorgeous) sea-based stage. The gameplay elements found in these stages also straddle the line between new and familiar. At one point we see boost pads that the inkling can use to quickly leap through an area and avoid obstacles, and at another, we see the ink sponges from the first game. The inkling grinds on a sweet-looking ink railing in one shot, and in another, we can see those the old moving walls we’ll need to ink to swim up. The single player looks like it will, just like Splatoon 2 in general, take the best of what was in the first game and greatly expand upon it.
How do you feel about the look at Splatoon 2’s new single player mode? If you played the first, are you excited that we can finally use a variety of weapons instead of just the Splattershot? Or if you never owned Splatoon on the Wii U, are you impressed by how deep the gameplay looks here? Personally, I think Splatoon 2 is similar to Super Mario Galaxy 2–the foundation is the same, but there are so many new ideas and features that the game is completely worth playing. All I ask for in regards to the single player is; 1) More challenging levels or difficulty settings, and 2) Bosses that aren’t pushovers. And now we wait.