Splatoon 2

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Splatoon 2
Splatoon 2.jpg
Packaging artwork, depicting Inklings in combat
Developer(s)Nintendo EPD
Publisher(s)Nintendo
Director(s)
  • Yusuke Amano
  • Seita Inoue
  • Shintaro Sato
Producer(s)Hisashi Nogami
Designer(s)Jordan Amaro
Koki Kitagawa
Programmer(s)Shintaro Sato
Artist(s)Seita Inoue
Keisuke Nishimori
Composer(s)
Platform(s)Nintendo Switch
ReleaseJuly 21, 2017
Genre(s)Third-person shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Splatoon 2[a] is a team-based third-person shooter video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. It is a sequel to Splatoon, and includes a story-driven single-player mode and an online multiplayer mode that features up to eight players in online four-versus-four matches. The game was announced in January 2017, and released worldwide on July 21, 2017. By September 2018, the game had sold over seven million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling games on the platform.

Gameplay[edit]

Like its predecessor, Splatoon 2 is a multiplayer third-person shooter in which players control characters known as Inklings and use colored ink to attack opponents and clear goals. Inklings can morph between humanoid form, during which they can fire ink with their weapons, and squid form, which allows them to swim through ink of their own color in order to move quickly and replenish ink supplies. The sequel adds new standard, sub and special weapons to the game, including dual-wield pistols, that allow the player to perform dodge rolls, and jetpacks. Like the previous game, the game features the standard Turf War mode in Regular Battles, and a rotation of Splat Zones, Tower Control, Rainmaker, and the new Clam Blitz modes for Ranked Battles, which are now ranked individually. League Battles allow players to form teams with friends. A new mode, Salmon Run, allows up to four players to team up cooperatively to tackle waves of enemies called the Salmonids.[1][2]

Once per month, a Splatfest will occur. During the Splatfest, players get to chose a side in a debate and decide the winner through battling. Splatfest topics are usually announced one week in advance, after which point players can choose their team in Inkopolis Square. Topics are usually region-specific and happen at different times of the month, as not all topics will make sense in all regions. Splatfest battles are Turf War only, and winning battles awards clout to the winning team. At the end of the Splatfest, the winning side is decided by evaluating popularity and clout earned in battle. All players who participate earn rare rewards, but players who chose the winning team receive a slightly higher cut.[3]

The game features a single-player campaign, Hero Mode (Octo Canyon), in which the player must battle through various levels fighting the evil Octarians. Unlike the previous game's single-player campaign which had a pre-determined weapon set, the player can now earn various weapons, some of which are required when playing levels for the first time. In addition to scrolls that unlock artwork and in-game lore, players can collect Sardinium to upgrade their Hero Mode weapons and tickets that can be exchanged for temporary reward boosts in multiplayer battles, such as increased experience or money.[4] In the Octo Expansion DLC, players play as an Octoling in a new single-player campaign featuring 80 missions.

Players can play multiplayer online through an internet connection or play locally, although local play requires multiple consoles and copies of the game. The game also features LAN support with an adapter accessory for local private tournaments. The game supports amiibo figures, which allow players to store their Inkling's custom look and unlock additional content, and free post-release updates and events are ongoing.[5]

Plot[edit]

Splatoon 2 takes place approximately two years after the final Splatfest event of the first game, in which the pop idol Marie defeated her cousin and fellow Squid Sister, Callie. After having drifted apart in the months following the event, Marie worries that Callie was negatively affected by the result. After leaving Inkopolis to see her parents, Marie returns home to discover that the Great Zapfish that powers the city has gone missing again, as has Callie. Fearing that the evil Octarians are once more involved, Marie takes up her role as Agent 2 of the New Squidbeak Splatoon and recruits an Inkling from Inkopolis Square, the player character, to become Agent 4 and investigate.[6] With assistance from Marie and weapons expert Sheldon, Agent 4 makes their way through Octo Canyon fighting Octarians and recovering several stolen Zapfish, including ones powering the Octarians' war machines, such as the Octo Oven and the Octo Shower. They discover that Callie herself has sided with the Octarians after being brainwashed by their leader, DJ Octavio, who has escaped his imprisonment after his defeat in the first game and once more is using the Great Zapfish to power his new DJ stage, the Octobot King II. Marie arrives with Sheldon and frees Callie from her mind control, and together they help Agent 4 defeat Octavio once more. With the Great Zapfish safely returned to Inkopolis, the Squid Sisters happily reunite and resume their musical career.

Octo Expansion[edit]

The game's DLC opens with Cap'n Cuttlefish, the leader of the New Squidbeak Splatoon, discovering an unarmed and unconscious Octoling who has lost their memory. Having lost track of the protagonist of the first game, Agent 3, Cuttlefish decides to help the Octoling instead of attacking them after hearing them humming one of the Squid Sisters' songs while unconscious. Discovering that they are trapped in a subway-like testing facility called the Deepsea Metro, the two come across a talking telephone that identifies the Octoling as ‘Subject 10,008’, which Cuttlefish shortens to ‘Agent 8’. The Telephone informs them that in order to reach “the promised land”, they must traverse through the Metro to collect several objects known as ‘thangs’. Agent 8 is given assistance via radio by Pearl and Marina of the pop band Off the Hook. As Agent 8 clears tests in the underground facility, they obtain small items called Mem Cakes that serve as physical manifestations of their lost memories.

After completing several test chambers and collecting all four thangs, which combine into a large blender, the Telephone attempts to kill Agent 8 and Cuttlefish by tricking them into getting into it. However, they are rescued just in time by Agent 3, who is promptly knocked unconscious. Agent 8 then climbs through the depths of the facility towards the surface, via a hole that Agent 3 left in the ceiling, while Cuttlefish stays behind to keep watch over Agent 3. As they reach the exit, Agent 8 is confronted by Agent 3, who has been brainwashed by the Telephone and tied up Cuttlefish. Agent 8 defeats them, freeing them from their mind control.

After reaching the surface, the trio are retrieved by Pearl and Marina in a fleet of helicopters, and they begin celebrating. However, the facility itself begins to rise from the ocean, revealing itself to be an enormous statue of a human, which shocks everyone due to humans having been extinct for several millennia. From within the statue, the mangled but still functional Telephone introduces itself as Commander Tartar, an AI built by a human scientist prior to mankind's extinction who was programmed to pass the knowledge of humanity on to the next sentient race that emerged after the whole world flooded. While initially believing Inklings and Octarians to be this sentient race, Tartar was disgusted with both their societies, and instead reprogrammed itself with a new objective - to destroy all sentient life and create a new apex species from a genetic ooze made from the finest test subjects. As it prepares to fire an enormous solar-powered cannon from the mouth of the statue and destroy Inkopolis, Agent 8 and their group create a plan to stop it from charging. Together, they cover the entire statue in ink before Pearl uses a voice-powered Killer Wail weapon to finally destroy both it and Tartar. With the threat averted, the group finally returns to Inkopolis Square, where Agent 8 joins society with both the Inklings and their fellow Octolings that had already arrived.

Release[edit]

A limited-time global multiplayer demo for the game, known as the "Splatoon 2 Global Testfire", was released in March 2017.[7] A special edition of Nintendo Treehouse Live was streamed during the first session, in which members of the Nintendo Treehouse participated in the demo.[8] Similarly to the demo of the original game, it was only available to play for a specific time period, across six one-hour play sessions in one weekend.[9] Another demo session demonstrating the game's Splatfest events was held on July 15, 2017.[10]

The game was released worldwide on July 21, 2017.[11] In Japan and Europe, neon-green and neon-pink Joy-Con controllers and Splatoon-themed Pro Controllers were released alongside the game.[12] A game card-free version, which features a download code inside a game case instead of a game card, was also released in Japan, as well as a Switch hardware bundle including a download code for the game.[13] A similar bundle was released in the United States as a Walmart exclusive.[14]

New amiibo figures of new Inkling Girl, Boy and Squid designs from Splatoon 2 were released alongside the game. These figures, alongside previous Splatoon figures, unlock exclusive in-game clothing and music tracks, and allow the player to save a load-out of weapons and clothing to the figure so they can be readily accessed at any time. Inklings with these saved load-outs can be posed alongside the player for taking screenshots.[15] Amiibo figures of in-game music duo Pearl and Marina from the game's signature band Off the Hook were released July 13, 2018,[16] and feature similar functionality to those already released.[17]

Like the previous game, Splatoon 2 was continually updated post-release with free content. From launch, at least one new weapon was added to the game almost every week, while new stages and game modes were added at irregular intervals. In late April 2018, this changed to having a large group of weapons added every month instead, with new stages continuing to be added until October 2018.[18] While these regular updates were originally due to continue for around a year after the game's launch, with monthly regional Splatfest events being held for around two years,[19] the regular updates were later extended to last until the end of 2018.[20] The final content update to the game was released in December 2018, while balancing patches and Splatfest events will continue into Summer 2019.[21]

The series' first set of paid downloadable content, Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion, was announced in a Nintendo Direct broadcast on March 8, 2018. Released on June 13, 2018, the expansion provides a new single-player mode with 80 missions starring an Octoling (formerly of the evil Octarians) known as Agent 8, who attempts to escape from a cavernous subway system without their memories. For the first time, Octolings are playable in online matches if the expansion's levels are beaten. The expansion was made available to pre-order shortly after its announcement, with exclusive in-game clothing items available for doing so.[22] A new amiibo set featuring the Octoling Girl, Boy, and Octopus will be released on December 7, 2018.[23]

Promotion[edit]

Prior to Splatoon 2's reveal, clips of the game were featured in the announcement trailer for the Nintendo Switch.[24] Its unanticipated appearance led to speculation by the media and public over whether or not the footage shown was that from a port of Splatoon or a sequel.[25][26][27] It was also presented in the trailer in a way that promoted the game as an eSport,[25][28][29] following investments by Nintendo in Splatoon eSport tournaments in late 2016.[30]

Splatoon 2 was officially unveiled to the public during the Nintendo Switch reveal presentation held in Tokyo on January 13, 2017, where it was announced for release in Q2/Q3 2017.[31] The reveal was accompanied by a trailer featuring the game's new maps and weapons,[32][33] and an on-stage appearance of producer Hisashi Nogami in-character as a scientist from the Squid Research Lab, a fictional scientific group from the game, which appeared in various promotional material for the original Splatoon.[34]

Other media[edit]

A manga series based on the game and illustrated by Sankichi Hinodeya began serialization in Shogakukan's CoroCoro Comic magazine in May 2017.[35] It was published in North America by Viz Media in late 2017.[36] A motion comic adaptation of the manga was announced in July 2017 and released on YouTube the following month.[37]

Splatune 2, a two-disc official soundtrack featuring music from the game by Toru Minegishi, Ryo Nagamatsu, and Shiho Fujii, was published by Enterbrain, released in Japan on November 29, 2017,[38][39] and debuted at number eight on Billboard Japan's Hot Albums chart.[40] A second soundtrack album titled Octotune was released in Japan on July 18, 2018. This album features tracks added in the game's Octo Expansion DLC and other post-release updates, as well as a recording of the game's first live concert.[41] It peaked at number five on the Hot Albums chart.[42]

Similarly to the first game, a series of real-life concerts featuring the game's signature band Off the Hook have been performed in various locations. Their first concert was held at Tokaigi 2018 in Japan on February 10, 2018,[43] a second was performed at Polymanga in Switzerland on March 31, 2018,[44] and a third concert which featured a new song "Nasty Majesty" from Splatoon 2's Octo Expansion, was performed at NicoNico Chokaigi in Japan on April 28, 2018. Like the concerts that featured the Squid Sisters, Off the Hook appear as holographs with a live backing band, while the Squid Sisters also made an appearance.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic83/100[45]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid8.5/10[46]
EGM9/10[47]
Game Informer8.25/10[48]
Game Revolution4/5 stars[49]
GameSpot8/10[50]
GamesRadar+4/5 stars[51]
IGN8.3/10[52]
Nintendo Life10/10 stars[53]
Nintendo World Report8.5/10[54]

Splatoon 2 received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[45] Critics stated that Splatoon 2 retained what was great about the original game while adding new features to keep the game fresh.[50][53] Nintendo Life praised the improved single-player campaign.[53] Destructoid and Game Informer criticised the accessibility within the game's multiplayer modes—weapons couldn't be changed between matches at that time, though this was added in a later update, no split-screen play, and the Salmon Run mode is only playable online at certain times—but complemented the new weapons and gameplay.[46][48] The Verge blamed the lack of a built-in voice chat feature and ease of viewing the map for taking away from the multiplayer experience, yet still calling the game an improvement over the original.[55] GameSpot cited Splatoon 2 as "a fresh take on the already unique shooter" but pointed out that using a mobile app for voice communication made multiplayer more complicated than it needed to be.[50] Game Revolution and GamesRadar both praised the colorful artstyle and depth of the multiplayer combat.[49][51] IGN gave the game a score of 8.3/10—higher than the initial score of the original game but lower than its re-review—praising the "addicting" Salmon Run mode and improved graphics, while making similar complaints about the game's matchmaking system.[52] Electronic Gaming Monthly and Nintendo World Report both stated that the game felt "more like Splatoon 1.5" than a true sequel to the original, but nonetheless complemented the game's new additions.[47][54]

Eurogamer ranked the game 17th on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017",[56] while Polygon ranked it 43rd on their list of the 50 best games of 2017.[57] The Verge named Splatoon 2 as one of their 15 Best Games of 2017.[58] The game was nominated for "Best Switch Game" in both Destructoid's Game of the Year Awards 2017 and IGN's Best of 2017 Awards,[59][60] the latter of which also nominated it for "Best Shooter" and "Best Multiplayer".[61][62]

Sales[edit]

Splatoon 2 debuted second on the UK software sales chart in its launch week, behind Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.[63] It had 59% better first week sales than Splatoon and became the third biggest launch of a Switch game in that country.[63] In Japan, Splatoon 2 sold roughly 648,000 copies at retail within the first few days of its launch.[64] Including download copies, the game had sold over two million in Japan by early 2018, making it the first home console game to do so in the country since 2010's Wii Party.[65] The game shipped 1.56 million copies in Japan and 3.61 million copies worldwide in its first fiscal quarter on sale.[66] By September 2018, the game had sold 7.47 million copies worldwide,[67] making it the top-selling Switch game in Japan and the fourth best-selling worldwide.[68]

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Year Awards Category Result Ref.
2017 Golden Joystick Awards Best Multiplayer Game Nominated [69][70]
Nintendo Game of the Year Nominated
The Game Awards 2017 Best Family Game Nominated [71]
Best Multiplayer Nominated
2018 NAVGTR Awards Animation, Technical Nominated [72]
Game, Franchise Family Nominated
SXSW Gaming Awards Excellence in Multiplayer Nominated [73][74]
14th British Academy Games Awards Multiplayer Nominated [75][76]
CEDEC Awards Game Design Won [77]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ スプラトゥーン2 (Supuratūn 2) in Japanese

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External links[edit]