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May 2017

Splatoon 2 Global Testfire – Impressions

Part demo, part server stress test, part open beta – the Global Testfire is a timed demo over a weekend. Rather than divide the player base by region, the Global Testfire is only live for 6 x1 hour sessions, with a reasonable guarentee that 4 of these sessions are within normal waking hours for people in different time zones

These are short impressions, so there isn’t the same level of detail as reviews regarding the operation of the game – however in brief:

Basic Rules of Splatoon 2

  • ¬†You are a squid that shoots ink with super-soakers.
  • You are in a squad of 4, all shooting the same coloured ink. You’re against another team of 4 shooting different ink.
  • Your ink makes you go faster and allow you to swim though your ink at great speeds. Enemy ink harms you and slows you down. You can also “die” if you are shot too many times by enemy ink.
  • Your team and their team fight to cover as much of the level with ink as possible within 3 mins. Most % of the map covered in ink wins. This is the only win condition.

The Testfire was locked to a single game mode and a rotation of 2 maps only, with limited load outs that you could select when you loaded the game, covering the 4 core weapon types you could pick from

Servers handled well, even on my terrible wifi connection. The game was really fun to play, smooth to handle – though I don’t really have much to add from my Splatoon 1 impressions. In one sentance, it’s the 3rd person shooter for all the family. Painting the map and avoiding the enemy is a ligitmate strategy. So’s destroying the enemy as close to their spawn as possible to prevent them from painting any part of the map. 3mins sometimes feels too short for a game, but it’s a perfect timescale for pick-up-and-play. 15mins of game time can be quite substantial in Splatoon 2

What is unique for this Testfire is the portable functionality of the Switch. As like any Switch game, its tremendously fun to just take the game into a coffee shop and play the game the same way you would, with the same perceivable graphical fidelility. The game is fantastic in handheld mode – and I can’t wait to play this game in local play when more friends get the Switch later in the year.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the Switch keeps things fairly quiet in headphone mode vs other portable devices. I get that Nintendo are keep the volume down to prevent hearing problems, but more often than not headphones don’t block out the sound of a espresso machine in a Starbucks, so you can loose sound from time to time.

Splatoon 2 feels at first blush to be incredibly similar to Splatoon 1. The game’s graphics, look and feel are very similar and you feel at least mechanically, the game is just a slightly improved version of the original game. So if you played Splatoon 1 and liked it and want more, Splatoon 2 is an instant purchase.

For those expecting a drastic departure – wait until the game comes out. The game’s core Turf War game will evolve over time with new strategies when the full weapon list is out – but the games got a new social hub, new expanded single player, horde mode and probably a bunch of other hidden surprises that we’ll find out about in the weeks running up to release.