Splatoon 2 has been a very important game for Nintendo its young Switch console. Launching just a few months after the system’s debut, the game was one of the first Nintendo games to release on the Switch that A) wasn’t available on another platform and B) was part of an established franchise and so the levels of anticipation and hype ahead of the game’s release were through the roof. And thankfully the game mostly hit these lofty expectations, earning a solid 8.3 from yours truly as well as selling through nearly 3 million copies in just a few short months. Yep Splatoon 2 is a pretty ink-redible as it is, but I have a few ideas as to how Nintendo can make it even better.
Being one of the first games released on the system that nearly only focus on online gameplay as well as title that launched Nintendo’s Switch Online mobile app, Splatoon 2‘s online performance definitely needs to be a world-class experience but sadly anyone who’s played the game will say that isn’t the case. Not that it’s bad or unusable, far from it, but some basic options and features are missing, especially when compared to contemporary multiplayer shooters. One of the biggest ‘must haves’ would be a revamped lobby that allows you to swap out weapons and gear in between maps (or maybe even after he splat like COD) as well as few stats on both your opponents and yourself. You could also have it set up so that you can invite online friends directly into your match no matter what mode you’re playing on, making it easier than ever to play the game with friends.
While we’re on the topic of the game’s online, Nintendo really needs to seriously think about what it is they want us to start paying for in just a few months. As it stands Splatoon 2, the Switch’s premiere online experience is not only lite on some features but struggles to work consistently, with disconnects and lag being a normal part of prolonged gameplay sessions. What’s worse is these errors appear mostly during Splatfests, the game’s showpiece moments that only happen infrequently and get as many online players online as possible. During the last even (Vampires VS. Werewolves) my connection would constantly drop or sputter out, while other tested devices & games (even on the Switch) worked perfectly fine. Splatoon 2 is arguably the Switch’s most popular online game and Nintendo needs to make sure they straighten out their online kinks before other, even bigger games like Smash Bros. make their way to the system.
Back to matter at hand – how to make Splatoon 2 better. When the original game was released on the Wii U, it was imperative that it stand on its own, as a new IP and not be tied to the greater Nintendo canon with a bunch of Mario, Zelda and Fire Emblem references throughout. This helped the game develop a personality that was unique to itself and set itself apart from a Wii U lineup that almost exclusively featured familiar faces. But now with the 2nd game this freshness is starting to feel a bit stagnate. Sure we have new gear, weapons and styles to choose from but they are all a variation on the same theme and all revolve around skater, hipster and punk culture. Sure there’s a few oddities here and there like a cyborg suit and a ninja costume but it would be time to start introducing new, Nintendo related gear into the game. Not only would this spice up the gameplay somewhat but could serve as a bridge to getting players who are solely interested in Splatoon onto other Nintendo titles as well. Plus I absolutely want to splat my foes wearing Samus’ Power Suite.
Another new feature, and one that fans have been clamoring for since the original Splatoon‘s heyday is the inclusion of playable Octolings. And while it would be cool to have them usable in online gameplay I would much rather see a full Octoling campaign that tells us the story behind DK Octavio’s minions. More than this maybe Nintendo could even add some sort of coop element to the proceedings. Splatoon’s single player has always been a mix of shooting and platforming with some puzzle solving thrown in, but just imagine what would happen if you had to also coordinate your efforts with someone else. Timing would be key and enemies might require advanced teamwork skills to be taken down. And for all of us Off the Hook fans, Nintendo could take things one step further and have both Pearl and Marina be the playable heroes of the campaign.
The last thing I would like to see added to Splatoon 2 are a new type of community event. Sure Splatfests are great and all but it can sometimes be hard to choose a side or – more often than not, one side is so popular that you just end up playing against your own team. So why not pit everyone against one big boss? How I imagine this working is a bit like how Global Nemesis events worked in Xenoblade Chronicles X, where all the game’s players were working together to chip away at a boss’ health that was so impossibly large it would be impossible to take down alone. In Splatoon 2, this could work by having the traditional teams of four going against large versions of the single player bosses, only with much more health and multiple weak points. The more bosses you take down the less health the overall enemy has. This would be a great way to get players to work together and unite against a common goal instead of arguing whether they like ketchup or mayonnaise more.
As it currently is Splatoon 2 is a great game and a must-own for any Nintendo Switch owner, but it could be so much more and Nintendo should really look into expanding the game beyond the occasional weapon, stage and mode patches. Online refinements and features, story based content and new community events would all make great additions to Splatoon 2 and help it stand out more from its predecessor, which I’m sorry to say basically has all of the features of the second game (minus a few things like Salmon Run). Hopefully Nintendo will give us more reasons to keep splatting in the years to come, that or give us the Splatfest we’ve all been asking for… Mario vs. Luigi.