Last weekend I downloaded the Octo Expansion for Splatoon 2. The DLC promised to be a robust single-player experience in a generally multiplayer focused series. That promise was upheld, but it left me wanting more. I finally felt like Splatoon had legitimately challenged me, like it has provided the experience that I’d been wanting from it since its inception, and in an instant it was over. Then I realized something dangerous. I have a stable internet connection now. Single player is no longer a requirement.
Let me back up a bit. Back when Splatoon was released for the Wii U it brought me a sort of bittersweet excitement. I was ecstatic that Nintendo was releasing a big brand-new, big budget intellectual property, but disappointed that it would be principally online-oriented. See, at the time I was living with my parents for the summer, and they lived in a fairly remote area with terrible internet access. Even more frustratingly I had just come home from college, where I had fantastic internet (at least for someone accustomed to a terrible connection). By the time I got back to school my enthusiasm for Splatoon had faded, leaving the lackluster single player campaign to dominate my memory of the game.
Skip ahead a few years to the announcement of Splatoon 2. Nintendo revealed the title at their inaugural conference for the Switch, at which point I was hyped out of my mind for just about anything that was announced. While the original had been a bit of a disappointment, I resolved to fully experience the sequel and enjoy the game online as the Big N intended. After all, it couldn’t release exactly when I couldn’t properly play it again right? Unfortunately that’s precisely what happened. While returning home wasn’t a requirement for me this time around, I had just spent six weeks traversing Colorado in a brutal geologic field camp. I needed to escape that state for a while. So again, it was back to my parents’ house right as Splatoon 2 came out. I bought it, of course, and was pleasantly surprised by the higher quality solo campaign. My frustration remained though, as the turf wars and splatfests eluded me once again.
I gave up on the game for a long while, mostly due to the Mario Odysseys and Xenoblade Chronicles 2s that were coming out and occupying my free time. I didn’t really give it a second thought until, just recently, the DLC brought me back. While I’m living in my own apartment. With a decent internet connection. And I thought I had little free time before….
The fact that I can come into the online modes for the first time a year after the game’s release and still have fun is a testament to Splatoon’s excellent core design. I’m certainly not an all-star in any of the PVP modes, but the turf-covering mechanic means that I don’t have to be great to be useful. So long as I can cover as much ground as I can with ink, I don’t even have to engage the enemy to help my team win. Plus, the PVE mode, Salmon Run, is extremely comparable to the single player. So my lonely experience with the game up until this point is a huge boon in the addictive cooperative horde challenge.
I suppose the point behind all of this is: Splatoon is fun. Shocker, right? I surely must be the first person to realize this. Sarcasm aside, I’m just thrilled to finally be able to dive into such a unique and interesting multiplayer phenomenon. Even if it is at the cost of what little time I’ve got.