The Nintendo Switch has already seen some big releases this year with Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Kirby and the Forgotten Land. That momentum continues when Splatoon 3 releases on September 9th. With Splatoon 2 releasing more than five years ago, what does the sequel bring to the table? Here are 13 things you should know before picking it up.
The world has been turned a bit upside down since the outcome of the final Splatfest with Splatsville being a chaotic city and the Splatlands consisting of a blazing hot desert. However, the campaign is set in Alterna, a snowy region with a rocket ship and other unique sights (including a trippy neon city).
As the new Agent 3, players work with the New Squidbeak Splatoon (with characters like Craig Cuttlefish, Callie and Marie returning) to fight the Octarians and investigate the return of the Mammalians. Along with donning a Hero Suit – which has two different styles – you also have a small Salmonid, known as Smallfry, accompanying you throughout the story.
Splatsville the main hub where players will congregate for multiplayer. It has a variety of shops and structures, though Nintendo has yet to outline all of the different buildings. Ammo Knights, where one purchased main weapons in Splatoon 2, seems to make a return but it’s yet to be confirmed. At the very least, one should be able to see other players’ levels, their most recently used weapon, and other stats much like in Inkopolis Square.
As usual, players will customize their very own Inklings and Octolings from the outset. After selecting a style, they can customize skin tones, eye colors, eyebrow shapes, hairstyles, and legwear. The Smallfry also has a customizable hairstyle. While many options and gear from previous games return, there are four new legwear, two new skin tones, 11 new eye tones, four new hairstyles each for Octolings and Inklings, and much more to choose from.
In terms of gameplay, many of the same mechanics from previous games still apply. Players have two forms – Humanoid and squid or octopus form – with the former used for shooting enemies and walking around in third person. The latter allows for swimming through ink and traversing different terrain quickly. It also serves to refill one’s Ink Tank (which is used for your weapons) and dodge attacks. Switching between the two forms when necessary and overwhelming the enemy, be it in competitive multiplayer, co-op or the campaign, is the key to victory.
Squid Roll and Squid Surge
Some new moves have been added to mix things up with the Squid Roll and Squid Surge. Squid Roll allows players to leap out of Ink and do a barrel roll while Squid Surge lets one quickly traverse walls covered in Ink, jumping out when reaching the apex. Both moves offer some invincibility frames, which are ideal when going on the offensive.
Splatoon’s core multiplayer mode Turf War returns and once again sees two teams of four players fighting it out. The rules for Turf War are more or less the same – cover the stage in as much of your team’s Ink as possible before, earning points before the timer runs out. Of course, you’ll want to eliminate opposing players as well, lest they invade your turf.
One new mechanic in Turf War is in how players spawn into the match. New Spawner Drones are employed, which allows for designating a location for each player to launch to at the beginning. When splatted, you’ll respawn at the drone and choose a new location to respawn. Interestingly, classic spawn points can be seen in the Scorch Gorge stage, though whether they’re used or not is unknown.
New and Returning Stages
Thus far, Nintendo has confirmed the return of Turf War stages like Museum d’Alfonsino, with some statues in the centre removed and changes to the rotating platforms. New stages include Mincemeat Metalworks, a metalworks facility over an evaporated ocean created from scrap metal to produce more scrap metal; Undertow Spillway, a former flood bypass that’s seen renovations; Eeltail Alley which is set in an alley in Splatsville and offers multiple bridges; and Scorch Gorge, which is seemingly set in the Splatlands with multiple different platforms.
In terms of weaponry, Splatoon 3 offers a diverse, ink-splattering arsenal. Main weapons from the previous games all return in addition to Sub weapons like Splat Bombs, Burst Bombs, and Curling Bombs. New weapons include the Tri-Stringer for firing three ink strings at once and the Angle Shooter, which throws a projectile that bounces off walls and tags enemies.
Then there are the new Special weapons like Trizooka, which fires three Ink blobs with a large blast radius; the Crab Tank which can fire quickly or unleash a powerful cannon shot along with rolling around in ball form; and the Zipcaster for quickly grappling onto surfaces. You can even absorb incoming Ink with the Ink Vac and fire a retaliatory shot. Other weapons have been spotted throughout various footage so expect even more fun ways to mess with your opponents.
In multiplayer, players can customize their nameplates in different ways, using different banners and backgrounds for the same. One can also use two words of custom text for their nameplate, selecting from a limited pool (which expands with new options over time). Overall, it’s a stylish way to denote each player’s name before a match and in the main hub, which is always welcome.
Salmon Run Next Wave
Splatoon 2’s popular co-op PvE mode returns with some interesting twists in Salmon Run Next Wave. Objectives appear roughly the same with players defeating Salmonids and collecting eggs to fulfil each wave’s quota. In Next Wave, however, players can use Ink to throw Golden Eggs to other teammates or even directly into the basket. Along with new stages (like Sockeye Station), there are new Boss Salmonids in addition to those returning from Splatoon 2 and a new, terrifying antagonist named King Salmonid.
Cloud Saves for Offline Data
Cloud saves on Nintendo Switch are tied to Switch Online, if the game in question supports it. However, as with some other Switch releases, Splatoon 3 is a bit complicated in its use of cloud saves. They’re only used for offline data, which means multiplayer doesn’t support it at all (according to the game’s Nintendo eShop listing, at least). It’s an improvement over Splatoon 2 which didn’t support cloud saves for anything but still annoying, especially if you want to shift multiplayer data between different Switch consoles.
In terms of installation size, Splatoon 3 isn’t a major departure from its predecessor. According to the game’s Nintendo eShop page, it requires approximately 6 GB of space. By comparison, Splatoon 2 required 6.1 GB. While subsequent updates could result in this increasing down the line, it should remain fairly compact overall.
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