Our resident writing aficionado Ron and video guru Alex both got a chance to try their hands at a preview build of Splatoon recently, and despite writing an official preview, they felt they had more to say on a more personal note. We've made them scrawl out a few words to help explain just what they think of the game in a more informal format for your reading pleasure.
When it was first announced, I had very little interest in Splatoon. I liked the idea of a squad-based shooter with more personality than we're used to seeing in the primarily gritty genre, but it didn't appeal to me personally. I don't play multiplayer games nearly as often as others, and I usually opt for the single-player experience – even in games like Super Smash Bros. In short, I didn't see Splatoon as a game that was designed with me in mind. Then I played it.
Splatoon is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting and engaging gaming experiences I've had in a long time. After spending a short amount of time with the multiplayer gameplay, I knew immediately that it was something I would be able to lose hours in. It's the type of game that can fill a room full of players with positive energy end encourage you to keep going. The game's lively characters, vibrant colors and distinct personality mesh perfectly with the energetic gameplay to create something unlike anything I've experienced before, and it's something that I want to experience much more of.
The way it was explained to me was that Splatoon isn't meant to fit neatly into the third-person shooter box, but it is meant to expand on it and show it in a different light. Splatoon is to shooting games what Mario Kart is to racing games; it's something that fits in the genre while also managing to be drastically different, and that's exactly what shooters need right now. When put into this perspective, my interest was piqued and I was able to see Splatoon for what it really is: a restlessly and unabashedly fun game that doesn't take itself too seriously within the genre.
Despite the main draw being the multiplayer elements, I was much more interested in the single player campaign. Luckily for me, the type of gamer who appreciates his time alone, the single player mode holds up to the multiplayer, mirroring its charm and energy while focusing it on a completely different style of play. It took me a bit of getting used to the control setup, especially with the GamePad's gyroscope functionality turned on, but movement became second nature after a short while. Between the availability of differing gameplay modes, accessible controls, and a relentless amount of charm, it's difficult to find fault with Splatoon, and that's coming from a player who had very little interest going in. Suffice it to say, I've been reformed.
The moment I saw Splatoon I was perhaps a little too excited. That music coupled with the bright, bold colours and unique gameplay filled me with a wonder I hadn't felt in years. It coupled the online multiplayer from my favourite shooters with a unique Nintendo twist that made it so fresh, new and utterly appealing. Now having played a more substantial build of the game I can say with all honesty that it's everything I wanted it to be and more.
The gameplay is simply sublime, melding tried and true shooter mechanics and character customisation with a completely new style of play. To hear the gameplay explained doesn't sound terribly exciting or appealing, but once you see it or better yet get your hands on it, you'll immediately know that this is something truly special. The surprise announcement of a single-player campaign a while ago also intrigued me, and although the multiplayer is definitely where I'm going to be spending most of my time, the inclusion of a solo experience only adds to the overall package.
The only element I couldn't quite get to grips with during my first time with the game back at EGX 2014 was the control system. I was never too hot on motion controls at all, let alone making it an almost mandatory part of the game, but once I'd got my head around them I was hooked. You can turn motion controls off in the options menu but for me it'll be staying firmly on, as it adds a precision and ease of control that I've not seen before in any game.
The multiplayer experience easily rivals that of other 'hardcore' series such as Halo and Call of Duty, but without the skill barrier that comes with a lot of these titles. It's a game that is easy to learn, but difficult to master, and despite my practice in other shooter games giving me an advantage, I still have a wealth left to learn before becoming a Splatoon master. With so much more yet to be revealed, I can hardly contain myself for its arrival, and can see myself and many others playing this for years to come. Nintendo, you done good.