With the release of Nintendo’s newest IP Splatoon, gamers everywhere are faced with a difficult choice: Should I purchase a game that is quite obviously incomplete, knowing that the company said they will be releasing the rest of the content as free updates throughout the upcoming months, or is it worth waiting for awhile first?
Splatoon is a quality product, much as one would expect from a Nintendo-owned property.
A brightly colored, team based third-person shooter, the game plays smoothly and quickly. The motion controls are tight, and the gameplay is addictive, fun and–most importantly for a Nintendo product–easy for anyone to pick up. The bright colors and unique characters will draw in the younger audience, while the strategy, customization and team-based play helps to bring in an older audience.
The game has a brief single player mode that lasts roughly six hours or so, and allows players a way to unlock some items that can’t be found any other way, while also introducing them to elements of the game that will help them in the multiplayer arenas.
The levels are somewhat Portal-esque, in that thinking outside the box will help you to solve the puzzles easier. Each world is topped off with a massive boss fight, where you will need to use the skills you picked up along the way to win.
As per usual, however, the online multiplayer modes are the key selling point of Splatoon. Currently, there are just two modes available: The non-ranked mode, Turf Wars, and ranked play, called Splat Zones.
Turf Wars has two teams of four rushing around a level doing their best to cover it with their color of ink. After three minutes, whichever team has covered the majority of the level wins. The games are fast, and the different variety of weapons in the game all contribute to helping your team win in different ways, with someone laying out wide swaths of paint and some shooting out narrow splatters over long distances.
Splat Zones, a mode that is similar to a traditional king of the hill match, has the teams try to hold points on the map for a set amount of time by keeping them covered with ink. Ranked is unavailable until you level up your character to 10, and players will be grouped together based on their skill level.
The game modes are fun, but there were only five maps to play at launch, and ranked was disabled until a few days after the launch date. Additionally, only two maps are available at a time, with the two unlocked maps rotating every four hours.
While the maps are fun, being restricted to two at a time leads to a great deal of monatony, and discourages lengthy play sessions.
With only five maps on launch however, the monotony could set in anyway. By comparison, most other shooters launch with 10-15 maps–and while Nintendo did add in a sixth map shortly after launch, along with two other weapons, if they were that close to having them ready, why not just delay the game and include it right off of the bat?
Other free updates are planned, some of which will include more game modes, and more maps are expected to be coming as well. All of this makes one wonder why they couldn’t just delay the game to include the content immediately, as a shooter with a slim multiplayer community runs the risk of dying off before the content can be released.
On the bright side, Nintendo isn’t charging for the new content, at least for now. The fear of Splatoon turning into another Evolve can be laid to rest.
Overall, Splatoon is a very good game, and could easily turn into a great game if all of the content that is promised to be released actually happens. More importantly, in situations like this, you have to hope the community stays together until that content is launched. Maps or no maps, without the people to play, Splatoon, much like Titanfall could end up primed for failure.