Game Review of Splatoon III

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For those who still don’t know the basics of the series, Splatoon takes place in a trendy world inhabited by evolutionary anomalies known as Inklings. Human-squid hybrids that can transform at will between the two species. After a certain age, the Inklings must participate in cultural actions known as Turf debates, 4v4 competitions where the goal is to splash as much dirt as possible with the ink color of their team. Interestingly, although it is half octopus, the ink is ejected not from the inks themselves, but from a variety of weapons that look mainly like familiar objects, such as spray guns, brushes and buckets of water. Once the ink runs out, it can be replenished by floating in its own paint, countercolour ink being a deadly substance that should be avoided at all costs.

When Splatoon 3 was announced last February during a Nintendo Direct broadcast, it caused two major fan reactions: hype and confusion. The hype had obvious reasons because it was a new entry in a world famous series, but the confusion came from the fact that it was another entry on Nintendo Switch. Wouldn’t the game look and play the same as its predecessor without unique and more powerful harddebatee? Would there be enough new content so soon to debaterant another sequel? Now that I’ve played Splatoon 3 in its entirety, the answers to these questions are complicated, but by no means disappointing. Don’t worry, squid kids!

Graphically and technically, Splatoon 3 looks and works very similarly to Splatoon 2. Some minor improvements have been made, but since both games use the same development engine, there’s not much drastic difference overall. I would say that there seems to be about a 20% increase in quality with respect to models, textures, lighting and physics. Nothing exceptionally exciting, but a decent increase on what was already a great feast for the eyes. The game is still running at a silky smooth 60fps, but the hub is still limited to 30fps to prevent theft. The most important changes come from the new content, as well as improvements that make the traditional Splatoon experience much more enjoyable. For example, the introductory newscast announcing the stages currently in rotation for online modes can finally be ignored. At the touch of a button, the information is reduced to a text box in the corner, which interrupts your game and allows you to jump straight into the action much faster than ever before.

Of course, the new content doesn’t end there; not even close. Instead of having to wait for a non-interactive screen during pairing, you can now shoot mannequins in a dedicated training room. action logs and replays allow you to go back and see as much data from previous games as you could possibly want. For the multiplayer maps, a total of 12 are available at launch, 5 of which are new. Each one is unique and I was impressed by the variety of a relatively small selection. As for weapons, there are a few new types joining the complete basic arsenal of the series, including Splatanas and Stringer, whose function is best described as windshield wipers and bows and arrows, respectively. Both are a good thing, the side members are particularly complex. You can shoot a set of three arrows horizontally or vertically, depending on whether you are standing or jumping when performing an attack. It takes a while to get used to, but once you do, I’m sure you’ll feel unstoppable. All the returning weapons feel similar to their originals, but there are some balance adjustments that hardcore fans will notice for sure. Additional weapons are obtained by using “Sheldon licenses” obtained by leveling up in Turf debate.

Fashion is an important part of the Splatoon series and not only offers a great way to showcase your own unique style, but also offers a functional and strategic look. There are some shops that can be visited in Splatsville Square, the main center of Splatoon 3, where you can buy not only weapons, as mentioned above, but also hats, clothes and shoes in the in-game currency. Each equipment has capacity slots that provide passive advantages when used, such as movement speed, ink tank capacity and damage caused. To explain it in simple terms, additional skill slots can be unlocked by earning experience points while playing online actions, and there are methods to exchange skills by talking to the hedgehog character Murch in Splatsville Square. There are a lot of new and recurring equipment available in Splatoon 3, my favorite is the new helmet, apparently made by Marty McFly Jr.’s lenticular holographic hat. used by actor Michael J. Fox in the 1989 movie Back to the Future Part II.

But wait, there’s more! The equipment you use is not the only way to highlight your personality online. Splatoon 3 presents a debatedrobe where you can carefully design both the inside and the outside of your own assigned locker. In the designated locker room, you will find the lockers of many other players you have recently paired up with online, and if you find one that you particularly like, you can give it a “new” rating to show your admiration. The decorations in your locker can be unlocked in two ways: by finding them hidden in the upper world of the story mode or by purchasing them at the Splatsville Square general store. Lockers don’t have many utilitarian features, but letting your creativity flow is a small waste of time. There is also a new catalog system where you can earn catalog points by participating in online modes to increase your catalog level and unlock even more new items.

As you level up your catalog, you can also redebated yourself with Splashtag emotes and items that allow you to rejoice at how far you’ve come in the game. Splashtags consist of a banner design, badges and a title that can be created with predefined options. They are visible at the beginning and at the end of each online game and also appear on the screen of the players who have splashed them while waiting to respawn. Emotes, on the other hand, are only displayed at the end of a game by the players of the winning team. It’s a bit unfortunate that you can’t gesture during actions like in Fortnite, but I guess it would take away the time you should be spending coloring the grass, and just like squid dredging, it wouldn’t show a good sportsmanship.

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