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Should You Buy Splatoon 3?

Splatoon 3 is the third game in Nintendo’s Splatoon franchise about squid and octopus children that can morph between a humanoid and squid form and use ink to battle each other in PVP and Octarians in the story mode.

The franchise has always been a popular online competitive game, perhaps one of Nintendo’s most popular online competitive games, being rivaled by Super Smash Bros and Pokemon Sword and Shield’s online ranked battle system, so what makes Splatoon 3 a title that can compete with two franchises that have existed for decades? One could boil the answer down to the popularity of third-person shooters and state that the genre lures players in, but it isn’t that simple because Splatoon 3 is not built like a normal shooter game, so let’s get into what is so different about it.

The Kid Form and Squid Form

The game’s fundamental mechanic is transforming between a squid and a kid wielding an ink weapon, and while this mechanic has not drastically changed since Splatoon 1 or 2, it has been improved upon slightly and remains the game’s most notable and different feature. In squid form, the player can reload their weapon and gain increased movement speed, along with being less detectable by enemy players, but the catch is that players can only swim in their team’s ink, not on bare terrain or enemy ink, giving the game a greater form of skill expression and keeping the mechanics fun and fair, even with the slight change to squid form. Nintendo has added a wall boost to make climbing up terrain easier and to provide a new angle to dodge ink on the run in Splatoon 3, and while this may be a small change, it certainly improves upon the game’s unique gimmick and provides players with more ways to express their skills in PVP. Overall, squid form makes Splatoon 3 a notable game and provides one of the best forms of player movement out of all the shooter games on the market.

Wacky Weapons

Splatoon 3 is a game about squid-kids and inking your opponents, so it is only fitting that a goofy and less violent game title would have some very unique weapons to go along with it. Splatoon 3 players can choose from simple weapons that resemble water guns, duel-wielding ink pistols, ink brushes, paint rollers, and even a windshield wiper katana and a ballpoint pen Gatling gun. Many weapons can also be broken down into a class similar to the classes of weapons in a standard shooter game, such as a shotgun, an SMG, LMG, assault rifle, or sniper rifle, but why would you use a normal weapon when you could instead splat your enemies with a bucket of ink? Overall, Splatoon 3 has a fantastic weapons system, giving players something to unlock as they play and accentuating their playstyles. Splatoon 3’s weapons truly do an amazing job of rounding out the game, and the good news for older Splatoon veterans is that the game has included new kinds of weapons, such as the splat-brella, a slug shotgun style weapon with an umbrella riot shield, and the splatana wiper, a katana that flings ink and can be charged to unleash a devastating attack at close range.

An Interesting Lobby System

In Splatoon 3’s PVP mode, a player will be matched with random allies and opponents for their first match, but then post-game, players receive the option to play again or to stop queuing for games, and what players often don’t realize is that the game queues you with any other player from your previous lobby that also selected to keep playing. This is quite unlike most online competitive games, and quite frankly, it is not one of the game’s best features because it means players who are dissatisfied with a lobby have to select to stop playing and re-queue for fresh teammates and enemies. Overall, this feature is very meh as it existed in previous Splatoon games and brought about the same issues as it does now for players who care about winning and losing matches.

Turf Inking

The primary game mode in Splatoon 3 is Turf War, where players can shoot their ink over the map to ink it, and the team with the most turf inked wins the game. This game mode has certainly withstood the test of time, and while turf war is always turf war whenever you select to play it, it is always different due to Splatoon’s rotating maps, meaning players don’t have to get bored inking the same map over and over again and have to adapt to learn how to play each map. Turf War has certainly withstood the test of time, as it has been Splatoon’s primary game mode since Splatoon 1 and is still loved by the player base of Splatoon 3, which is no surprise, as it provides a unique take on the zone control style games that are common among many shooter games, while still being drastically different and fun.

Special Weapons and Sub-Weapons

Before wrapping up with a short overview of the categories listed above, we have to dive into the special weapons and sub-weapon systems. Special and sub weapons can be used an unlimited number of times throughout a match, making the game hectic and fast-paced, keeping players constantly on their toes for game-changing abilities from the enemy, or allowing players to single-handedly turn the tides of a battle. The special gauge remains from Splatoon 1 and requires players to splat a certain amount of turf before being able to activate their special ability, meaning that players who perform the best in a match tend to have the tools to carry games at their fingertips more often than others. Splatoon’s special abilities range from ink strikes that players can call down from the skies, to an ink tank with rapid fire and a massive cannon, or to a hammer that can instantly splat your enemies while inking a ton of turf in the process, all of which are super fun to use, and the Splatoon special weapon system deserves a 10/10 for this.

Sub weapons use a massive amount of ink from your ink gauge, meaning players will have to reload by transforming into squids in their ink to refill their sub and main weapon shortly after the use of a sub-weapon. Some perks do allow for players to use less ink for sub-weapons, or even refill their gauge faster, allowing for a sub-weapon spam build that can devastate the enemy team, but leaving that player susceptible to a surprise attack since they will almost always be low on ink when spamming sub-weapons. Splatoon has always had a fantastic weapons system, and no matter how you choose to play, the game is inherently well-balanced due to how the ink gauge works, leaving players room for unique play styles as well as sufficient counterplay for each play style and weapon.

The last bit of the weapons section will shortly cover an interesting aspect of how weapons work and the agency players have to customize their character loadout. Splatoon is, of course, a very hectic game with a lot of super strong weapons and abilities. As such, each weapon comes with preset sub-weapons and special weapons that cannot be changed, and while this may annoy some players, it does keep the game super fair to play. The subs and specials being locked to a specific main weapon prevent synergies that are too powerful from entering the game, and while it may be more fun to fully customize a loadout, it is certainly more important for the game to be inherently easy to balance and keep fair for all players. So, while it may not be a perfect system, it is certainly better than the alternative, which would allow players to run any weapon loadout that they want, potentially wreaking havoc in games and forcing developers to nerf certain weapons more often.

Should You Buy It?

Should you buy Splatoon 3? If you like highly customizable characters, fast-paced third-person shooters, feeling unstoppable in a tank, nuking your enemies with ink bombs, fun, and unique gimmicks, and fantastic game balance, then Splatoon 3 is absolutely for you. The game can be played in story mode, casual PVP mode, ranked PVP mode, or cooperative PVE mode, and thus appeals to a large spectrum of gamers, so no matter what mood you are in or what kind of gamer you are, whether you are young or old, brand new to gaming or a veteran, Splatoon 3 is a blast, and the developers are only going to come up with more and more for the game as it ages, so if you are looking for a 10/10 game to play as a third-person-shooter enthusiast, then look no further and dive into Splatoon 3!

Written By

I am a PC and Nintendo Switch gamer, I play League of Legends, Splatoon 3 and various games from the Pokemon franchise. I am passionate about the League of Legends pro scene, critiquing popular new game releases, and learning about new technological advancements. I stream League of Legends content on @queenswrath711

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