Wednesday, 22 October 2014

First Impressions: Splatoon

Well who thought that we'd ever see this, eh? A shooter from Nintendo! I know, it's unbelievable! But, once you start playing it (or even when you watch a video) you begin to see how much of a Nintendo'fied shooter it is. And this is, by no means a bad thing...

While I'm slightly disappointed with the demo at EGX this is due to the fact that I had an assistant talking at me throughout the entire game, trying to get me to do things that didn't really fit with the situation I was in. For example, I was told to throw a grenade (this shoots a big blast of paint at the surrounding area) into a relatively small section that was already covered in some of my teams ink. The other reason is that any attempt at gyroscopes (which is used to aim) is nigh on impossible when the gamepad is attached to the stand for security reasons.

But other than this, I did manage to have quite a good go, and test some things out. The first thing is that the ink itself looks amazing and feels amazing to shoot at the ground and other players. I didn't get a go at the other weapons, other than the normal rifle (super soaker?) but the rifle seems powerful enough anyway. And the reloading system is brilliant (which is good as the rifle doesn't have very much ammo). To reload, you have to turn into a squid and swim across your ink which solves three problems simultaneously. It means that you don't have to stop moving in order to reload; it adds another reason to turn into a squid and it prevent tanky players from camping in one place without moving. The squid itself is a great addition to the normal shooter game mechanics and adds a lot more flow and movement to the game as well as being tactically viable.

Another mechanic which is much better once you used it is the squidport (telesquid?). This is where you press a player and launch yourself into the air towards them. I wasn't really sure how this would work (or how useful it would be) when I first saw it in E3 but I found that (among other, more strategic uses) it can, simply, be used as a way to get into the action quickly. And this is needed as, one of the only problems I found with the game itself, the games are very short. I'd expect that this will be better once you've gotten used to the game and just want a quick go before doing something else (or if you want to fit lots of games into a short amount of time) but when trying to learn how to play the game, the matches are way too short. However, this does keep people on their virtual feet and moving all the time.

Overall, Splatoon looks to be a great take on the tired shooter genre, with fun visuals and brilliant game mechanics. I can't wait to get back into the ink!

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