Stevens: Is Nintendo’s Splatoon 3 a hit or miss?



The release of Nintendo’s Splatoon 3 excited many fans; however, critics speculate how different the sequel will be from its predecessor.

Levi Stevens , Staff Writer

Nintendo recently released the newest edition in its colorful, third-person shooting series, Splatoon 3. With the previous game’s existence on the same system, the Nintendo Switch, many observers are curious about the features that separate the game from its predecessor. After all, the previous game did receive frequent updates that could have made major changes and not warranted the creation of a sequel. However, I’m here to tell you that Splatoon 3’s steps forward are greater than any updates could have accomplished. 

This game revolves around competitive online gunplay on a four-versus-four map. Depending on the game mode you’re playing, you may find yourself painting the map in a battle for turf or fighting for control in a mode similar to king of the hill. 

First, the gameplay was changed drastically to suit a more aggressive and competitive experience. As a frequent player of Splatoon 2, the change feels drastic on a competitive level. Players will likely be relieved to see the removal of some of the most polarizing abilities from the previous game; these abilities are known as specials. Specials allow players to unleash powerful effects after charging them via turf control. Removed specials include ink armor, bubble blower and stingray. These abilities allowed players to stand in the backlines and fight from across the map, which felt like a way to avoid actual combat in the game. Splatoon 3 replaced these with much more confrontational abilities to keep players in the action rather than standing on the sidelines. 

In addition, this game’s competitive ranking system is surprisingly advanced. Among all the competitive games I’ve played, I have never seen one where individuals are rewarded based on their skill rather than their losses or wins. When your teammates may be flunking, the game can recognize your efforts by rewarding you with rank points rather than making you lose them. I love this system because I can consistently rank up from my own skill level. 

On a visual level, the game was also improved greatly. Bubbly animations bring the game to life even in minor details. One of the details that caught my eye was the spawning animation. When the game starts, each team jumps out of their spawn pads to do a unique animation with their weapon. These small touches combined with the increased customizability make for a much more lively game compared to the previous. 

Not to mention, the story mode of this game is more developed than any previous one. Interesting challenges, fun cutscenes and surprising twists fill this rather short adventure to make for a great experience. For players seeking a challenge, you can set your own difficulty by choosing a more challenging weapon for any level. Players are rewarded for these self-imposed challenges via the in-game currency. Although the extra rewards are pretty minor, it’s great that players can choose their own difficulty to suit their style while playing. 

The game’s zombie mode, Salmon Run, remains relatively unchanged for the better. Salmon Run revolves around slaying zombie-like salmonids to gather their golden eggs to meet a particular quota. The mode was already critically praised, so minor tweaks have been made to make the experience more fluid. One of these changes includes 24/7 availability of the game mode, which was requested by fans for years. This updated game mode keeps players on their toes by adding new bosses as well as a chance for an extremely strong boss in the “XTRA” wave of enemies. I thoroughly enjoyed my hectic experience with Salmon Run. 

Because of Splatoon 3’s competitive and graphical changes, the game also has the potential to become a popular esport. As one of the few new third-person shooter games, Splatoon 3 fills a unique void by not being a battle royale in the modern era. The team-based gameplay could really lend itself to becoming a highly competitive esport. However, to reach its full potential, Splatoon 3 will need to fix its frequent server issues. These issues are already being addressed with patches, so this is less of a concern. 

Overall, I think Splatoon 3 is a huge step toward creative, competitive perfection that justifies its position next to Splatoon 2 as a popular and exciting third-person shooter game.