18| Splatoon

Released: May 28th, 2015

Available On: Wii U

Splatoon is the game that Nintendo fans, and gamers in general, had been waiting almost fifteen years for. The biggest criticism given to Nintendo is how they rarely create new IPs. Now before Nintendo diehards pull out the guillotine, let me explain what most people mean by this criticism. Sure, technically Nintendo makes new IPs, even frequently. Recently we saw Codename S.T.E.A.M. and there is the upcoming 3DS game Ever Oasis. However, what people mean are big budget new IPs that are clearly part of Nintendo's entrenched catalog of Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and what not. For an equivalent, take Ubisoft's Watchdogs. It was a huge big budget game developed internally by Ubisoft to be slatted as one of their biggest franchises. It was also highly praised at the time not only due to its seemingly unique concept, but that it was a big budget new IP for Ubisoft, as the company had been resting on its laurels every since Assassin's Creed. Sure, Ubisoft had made some new IPs around that time such as Child of Light and Grow Home, but they weren't that highly budgeted and clearly don't serve those who want something more meaty and part of Ubisoft's main catalog. This is similar to Nintendo's dilemma, they make new IPs, but they aren't planned to be as entrenched in Nintendo's main lineup as their other well known titles. The last game Nintendo released as a new IP that fit this criteria, was Pikmin all the way at the turn of the millennium. When Splatoon was announced, it was met with a lot of excitement just for being a new title that was part of Nintendo's main course.

At the time of Splatoon's release, it was initially met by skepticism to some. First off, it was a third person shooter where the goal wasn't to shoot the enemy, but rather to shoot literally everything else. "Paint the town red" isn't just an expression in the game, in fact it is the game. Each player controls a humanoid squid equipped with squirt gun-like paint weapons. The goal is to cover the map in as much of your team's paint as possible before the timer runs out. It sounds simple, but it is surprisingly fun and competitive. What's more, is that due to competitors being squids, the characters can actually jump inside and swim in their team's paint, being undetected by the enemy. However, if they manage to walk on the enemy's paint, their feet get stuck on it and thus they begin to walk very slowly, basically being the perfect targets. What's more, is that the game is developed around the Wii U's unique controller. The touch screen is used to have players instantly travel to other players across the map at any time with no interruption of the game. There is also the fact that the game uses gyro controls for superior aiming, proving that gyro controls are far more accurate and responsive than analog controls. If you took any one of these aspects of the game, you would have an innovative title, but when you add them all up together, you get ground breaking one.

As time has gone on, Splatoon has changed in many ways. Unlike  virtually every other game with updates, Splatoon not only hit the ground running, but began offering tons of new weapons and modes on a regular basis for free. It seemed Nintendo has taken a chapter out of Valve's Team Fortress 2 book in rather than creating a game with a bunch of paywall DLC, expansions, or yearly outings, focuses on keeping the title alive with free updates. And it seems to be working well as the game is one of the best selling titles on the Wii U and has a strong following. This isn't too surprising as many of these updates keep pulling people back into the game. Many of the new modes such as Splatoon's version capture the flag and payload are so popular that it is difficult to imagine the game without them. This goes ditto for a lot of the new weapon classes such as the paintbrush.

One thing that is to be said about the game is how cool and hip it is. Never since Jet Set Radio has there such a "cool" and "with it" title. From the Akihabaran inspired location, to the killer soundtrack, to the fashion focused design choices, the world of Splatoon feels very young and energetic.

Splatoon is a welcome in not just Nintendo's offerings, but gaming in general. In the modern age, it feels all of the best and most interesting games are happening in the independent scene. Boxed games are becoming less and less relevant to the gaming community as the titles feel more homogenous than ever. Splatoon is different, it breathes new life in the long stagnant shooter genre as it puts a focus on expanding territory and teamwork, all with a happy and energetic vibe. Splatoon is the game Nintendo needs if they want to stay relevant in the modern era of gaming. And if the title is a hint at things to come, the future looks very promising for the house that Mario built.

Posted by Punk Rebel Ecks Sat, 05 Nov 2016 20:08:39 (comments: 22)
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Sat, 05 Nov 2016 20:33:14
Now we're getting serious.
Sat, 05 Nov 2016 21:56:42
gamingeek said:
Now we're getting serious.

It was the top 20 where I really began to struggle to rank the games.

Sat, 05 Nov 2016 22:26:01
I can't help but wonder where Nintendo will take this "franchise" next.  Just as with Pikmin, their first offering is neigh on perfect and self contained.  And just as with Pikmin 2 & 3, I fear some of the magic will be lost with subsequent iterations.
Sat, 05 Nov 2016 22:50:59

I think the improvements will be with a meatier single player

Sat, 05 Nov 2016 23:22:45
I think future iterations of the game will have area effects as well. Maybe rain that could potentially wash away paint, and stuff like that.
Sun, 06 Nov 2016 08:53:47

I regret missing out on this entirely.

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 12:13:55

Oh Jesus...this game. lol

I might try it at some point next year. Tough for me to get into multi-player shit though...I've barely played Overwatch.

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 12:21:49
There is still a very active community out there. It is if nothing else the most popular console game in Japan and has been for a while. So there are always plenty of people playing it.
Sun, 06 Nov 2016 13:18:33
robio said:
There is still a very active community out there. It is if nothing else the most popular console game in Japan and has been for a while. So there are always plenty of people playing it.

Not even GamingGeek can fight for long against the demonic hordes of Japanese Splat-ninjas ... and he is an S ranked bona-fide Splat-god

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 13:40:10
bugsonglass said:

Not even GamingGeek can fight for long against the demonic hordes of Japanese Splat-ninjas ... and he is an S ranked bona-fide Splat-god

This is true. Those damned ninjas are what pretty much keep me stuck in rank A- limbo. Pretty sure they're psychic too. Tough to win against psychic ninjas... that can teleport.

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