Motion controls have become an important aspect of the most recent Nintendo consoles, beginning with its success on the Wii. This is important in its future strategy to differentiate from the competition, a recognition of the changing times. With the recent release of Splatoon 2, the motion controls have once again played an important part in the gameplay experience, harboring the best and the worst the feature has to offer.
The concept of motion controls itself is fantastic, and overall, the Nintendo Switch benefits greatly from it. Splatoon 2 itself definitely needs the feature to enhance the gameplay, and with a lot of practice, the motion controls help to alleviate the awkwardness an analog stick has to offer. The reason is simple, Splatoon as a franchise is a rather fast-paced experience, and reflexes and reaction speed is vital to your overall success in the game. Motion controls allow for much greater reflexes, allowing the player to shoot their opponents with grace. The game loses a lot of its personality without the motion controls, and it certainly becomes much more difficult to navigate past some of the more clustered foes, seemingly preferring each others company as the game progresses. This isn’t to say Splatoon 2 is unplayable without the motion controls, it just dampens the experience.
The problem becomes one of posture. For those of us that like to move around and change our sitting positions, Splatoon 2 doesn’t accommodate for that. To reset the camera angle it will tell you to press ‘Y’ but with varying success, leaving you in a less than encouraging position. If Splatoon 2 was designed to correct everybody’s posture, then the motion controls would be deemed completely flawless, providing the population with a sturdy set of shoulders. Unfortunately, people often don’t like to relax like they’re out for dinner with the grandparents, and as such, the camera angle can become frustrating. The issue lies with the ineffectiveness of the ‘Y’ button, which often fails to reset the camera angle.
There is a fix to this problem, at least until you next change your sitting position. When you turn off the motion controls and adjust the camera angle with the analog stick, turning the motion controls back on and your set up will be just how you need to be. It’s a bit of a nuisance, but as a solution, it at least solves the issue momentarily.
The reliance of motion controls makes it difficult to escape the complexities of the feature. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild used motion controls flawlessly, only using them in certain situations such as firing an arrow. Unfortunately, for Splatoon 2, the use of a ranged weapon isn’t an occasional feature. This leaves the motion controls with a much heavier burden, allowing its flaws to boil to the surface. This lays out the groundwork for future games to be released. How will Super Mario Odyssey utilize the motion controls? What’s in store for Pokken Tournament DX when it releases in September? There will be no hesitation that motion controls will feature to some extent in both of these titles, but to what extent we will have to wait and see.
As a concept, motion controls remain one of Nintendo’s greatest achievements. Smoothing the bumps remains a minor issue, however, and whilst it doesn’t ruin Splatoon 2, it certainly provides some minor frustrations. Splatoon 2 remains a fantastic game, particularly in multiplayer, and if the motion controls don’t quite work for you then they can be turned off. However, to get the most out of the game, you might just have to bear through its occasional awkwardness and make full use of the function.