NOTE: The review solely is focused on multiplayer modes in Splatoon 3. For our opinions about the campaign, read our Splatoon 3 single-player campaign review.
At first glance, you might not notice too much that’s wildly different about Splatoon 3’s multiplayer options when compared to its predecessors, but diving into its ink-covered warzones reveals a heaping helping of quality-of-life changes lurking just below the surface. It has better lobby systems, multiple practice ranges, and even more customization options to make your character shine – not to mention stylish new weapons and terrifying new Salmon Run foes that mix up its familiar formula in exciting ways. It may forego any drastic additions or changes, but Splatoon 3 skillfully fine-tunes everything that made its team-based multiplayer so extremely compelling already.
For those who aren’t familiar with the game’s cephalopod shooter Splatoon’s primary multiplayer modes play four teams against each other making use of ink-spewing weapons that paint the ground and your opponents with goop that is shiny. Your octo-based squid or squid is able to seamlessly change shapes to glide over your team’s ink . It can also swiftly advance, popping and firing various weapons and expand the areas. Splatoon 3’s primary modethe Turf Wars — tasks players with covering the most territory before time runs out and other modes designed for experienced players include specific goals like safeguarding towers or payloads. The gameplay may not be different from the previous versions however, they’re enjoyable as they always were with new weapons as well as special abilities and tactical strategies to make the most of the modes.
The games are as fast as they can be frantic yet they are accessible enough that anyone can engage in them and enjoy themselves. Even if you don’t get ink on an opponent to take them out during Turf Wars, you’ll still end up accidentally painting the ground to aid your team to win. Splatoon 3 has also made an excellent choice by shifting your starting location and the respawn point away from an easy to abuse spot on the ground to launchpads in the air. It lets you choose which area of your base you want to launch into (and check out the direction your teammates will take to launch) and also check the map to quickly locate a player in the field and give them a back-up. This can help teams avoid being confined to their own start-up area in the event that they are able to coordinate their efforts.I was really impressed by the towering heights of Scorch Gorge that made for great sniping areas.
Each map is nearly symmetrical, with tricky terrain elements that offer tactical opportunities like mesh walkways to slip through, ink rails to zip along, paths to ambush from above, and multiple routes with different strategic advantages. The Turf Wars mode in particular never loses its chaotic fun, as there are plenty of chances for last second comebacks and extremely close matches. Even if your team gets totally demolished, the quick match time for all of its modes ensures you’ll be back at it again in no time, and the calling of “just one more match” is hard to shake.
Many of the best maps from previous Splatoon iterations have returned —- that includes Mahi-Mahi Resort and its changing water level that reveals more turf to ink, as well as the MakoMart that has you splatting foes along the aisles of a giant supermarket. Of its new additions, I really came to like the tall towers in Scorch Gorge that made for excellent sniping spots (or points to ambush using the new Zipcaster special), and the Hagglefish Market’s various routes that let me tear through boxes of debris. Most maps are tweaked slightly for ranked battles to allow the addition of moving towers or goals, but they all provide lasting fun whether you’re trying grinding against other competitive players or casually repping your chosen team during the new three-way Splatfest events.
One of the best features in Splatoon 2 is the ability to play with your current group and allow the good times for a while (both in PvP as well as PvE mode). It’s great to stay with a great group of random gamers after winning, and it’s even more enjoyable to not need to recreate a group with your buddies following every game whenever you want to relax and have enjoyable time with your friends. The only issue I’ve found is the fact that there doesn’t appear any way for you to opt out of matchmaking if you decide to remain together it seems like an oversight that has left me in matchmaking hell for several times when the other players in the group quit.
When you’re able to level up from playing matches, you’ll become in a position to explore Splatoon 3’s wide selection of weapons which include everything from traditional blasters, speed-increasing rollers and ink guns to paint buckets that are literal or precise snipers. The best Splatoon 2 choices are among the items available at the store, with two brand new types of weapon. The enticement that comes with the Splatana (a huge squeegee that is attached to an awl blade) has caught my eye as a sword-loving fan although I’m yet to master its precise strokes that shoot projectsiles that remind me of the Legend of Zelda’s Master Sword. Another weapon that is new is a bow dubbed The Tri Stringer, which can be charged to release three ink bolts, which explode after some time. It’s a great idea which has a great chance of the ability to bind enemies or keep them away from targets.
What We Thought About Splatoon 3’s Single-Player
Splatoon 3’s single-player game brings all the excitement of Splatoon 2’s innovative Octo Expansion missions and places them in a fun environment in which freedom of choice lets players get whatever you’d like from your experience, knowing that you’ll come back to play more. Even when it is heavily reliant in familiar adversaries, clever levels and objectives and bosses that are bursting with personalities keep things fresh throughout the duration of the game.
Check out the complete Single-player player review.
Each weapon comes with a specific move and the range of both new and old specials provide an amazing sense of unpredictability chaos on the battlefield. From shield domes that can be deployed to blasting dolphins and buff dispensers (complete by the “Akira slide”) I’ve seen numerous instances when a perfectly timed special was able to change the course of my team at the very last second. The most popular is the Zipcaster that lets me attach myself and then fling myself onto nearly any surface. This has provided me with a myriad of interesting new avenues for ambushes and removing nests of snipers — although its extremely short duration before I’m returned to the point I began an effective way to prevent the device from being misused.
The earlier Splatoon games demanded players to accumulate money through matches to purchase different weapons, however Splatoon 3 has been able to anticipate the requirements of returning players to facilitate the acquisition of weapons. You’ll receive an item every time you upgrade (or increase the level of an armament through repetition) which can be exchanged to purchase a weapon. And although there is a slow, but steady release of weapons that are beginner-friendly initially it is possible to use three tokens to select any weapon regardless of the level requirements. This can benefit both veterans who would like to get straight to their preferred weapon weapons, as well as newer players who don’t wish to wait for 10 levels for a new bucket-type weapon if they’ve come to love the weapon they’ve been using from the beginning.Splatoon 3 has done an excellent job in anticipating the needs returning players.
In fact, many of the new tweaks and changes in Splatoon 3 seem to have its experienced players (especially competitive ones) in mind. You’ll find not just one or two, but four different firing ranges to try out weapons depending on where you are and which mode you’re practicing for. The inclusion of a Recon Mode is also an extremely welcome one, letting you freely explore any of its 12 launch maps in order to get an understanding of the level’s terrain and choke points on your own. After playing multiplayer matches, you can now view replays of your last 50 battles too, which included a wealth of great options like being able to swap to another player’s view on either team with a quick button press, or quickly scrub through the timeline and set up highlights to share online.
The most exciting addition is the new lobby because you’ll no longer be confined to a confusing menu while waiting for matchmaking to start. There’s now an amazing open area to explore in which you can view your friends’ holograms to see what they’re getting doing (or in the event that they have an account that you could join) as well as make use of the huge practice area’s numerous cool features and even wash up every drop of ink with the push of one button. In between games it’s easy to change out clothing that boosts stats and weapons (something was not available at the time Splatoon 2 first debuted) as well as watch other players jogging around the practice field prior to the start of the next game.The most impressive addition is the lobby that has been renovated.
Not only are these new additions sorely needed, they’re presented in a cool and stylish way that perfectly echoes the fresh fashion and design of Splatsville. A locker room even lets you customize your very own cubby with stickers and gear as another place to express your personality, or create dioramas as quirky and bizarre as the player social posts and art that can appear all over the square. You’ll also earn new titles, badges, banners, and more that add even more customizable style to your inkling character — many of which can be gained from a new Battle Pass system (that thankfully requires no opt-in purchases) that’s given me yet another great reason to keep diving back into multiplayer.
Splatoon 3 still holds a rigid and sometimes absurd insistence on not allowing specific features available in earlier versions. I can see why novice players must try Turf War before anything else which includes that PvE Salmon Run mode that unlocks at level four, as well as the ranked objective mode that are available in Anarchy Battles that unlock at the level of ten, but it also prohibits you from buying from shops as well as your locker room until you’ve reached level 4 for reasons I’m trying to explain. The tabletop card game appears to be locked, despite the fact that it’s limited to AI play for now. If you’re one of the returning players who have Splatoon 2 save data, you’ll be able to jump right into ranked battles , and purchase some of your favorite weapons before the game begins.
The previously mentioned PvE Salmon Run has returned and is accessible to play all hours of the day, instead of the bizarre decision made by the previous game to shut it down for hours at a. It’s still possible to get random weapons from the set as you together with three other players take on an ever-growing number of Salmonids as well as the brand-new Splatana or Tri Stringer are able to truly shine in this game. I am particularly impressed by the new intro, which shows you and your friends waiting to fly off of the helicopter as if you’ve fallen into Metal Gear Solid 5. The process of beating waves of enemies and collecting golden eggs from different boss monsters that pop up is still plenty of fun. And there are some amazing new changes as well.
The most notable of these modifications is the capability to throw the golden egg you’re carrying ahead of you , much like the bomb. The result is a vast range of possibilities to make the most of your time on the map since you can make shots just like a professional basketball player. The process of creating an egg-tossing relay with my team was extremely enjoyable and showed that even a random group with no voice chat could work as well as an expertly-oiled machine. The downside is that throwing eggs is a huge amount of ink stored similar to a grenade and could cause you to be vulnerable and run out of ammo which is yet another excellent risk in comparison to. reward option to introduce to a game that is already brimming with them.These modes work best in battle with other players. This is something I’ve not been able to get enough experience in until now.
New boss enemies also bring fresh strategies to the mix, like the “Fish Stick” that drops a giant spire into the ground to harass you from above. Being able to take them out and then use their pillar as an attack point is a great touch. To reward players for repeated wins, a new Godzilla-like salmon boss can now appear too if you’ve been on a roll, and the atmosphere instantly changes when it does. Instead of stockpiling eggs, you’re encouraged to use them as ammo to launch into the beast to take it down — but you’ll still be rewarded for making it as far as you have even if your team is defeated. Defeating this fishy kaiju also lets you unlock even more exclusive rewards, which is a great way to show off your salmon-hunting prowess to the masses, and gives even more reasons to keep coming back to survive the ever more difficult waves.
Built on the solid foundations of its predecessors the plethora of stunning changes to quality of life as well as thrilling improvements Splatoon 3 brings make it difficult to imagine the ink-based shooter game as it was before. Not just a basic upgrade, its range of new features makes it as appealing for gamers who compete as it is for novices. There aren’t significant additions to change the gameplay in the same way as Salmon Run’s inclusion changed the game for Splatoon 2. Splatoon 3’s brand new weapons, maps and PvE bosses yet to make its already great multiplayer battles more enjoyable.