There have been some Directs about specific Nintendo games, most recently for the upcoming 9th generation Pokemon games, Scarlet/Violet, but i didn’t have much to say or add aside from it looking fairly good, clearly improving open world elements seen in Legends Arceus, like combining all traversal/mount Pokemon into the main legendary, which also look hilarious with the wheels in their body, etc.
But since Splatoon is basically the only multiplayer online series i care about and have actually devoted a lot of time towards since its Wii U debut (and i plan to continue, enough to buy the damn limited edition Pro Controller), i feel this specific Direct is the perfect occasion to sum up my overall feelings towards Splatoon 3 before it releases this early September.
Even more since i don’t plan a full lenght review, due to the nature of the game we’ll have to see how support and updates go, so more likely i’m gonna do a “XX hours into” piece and later a review for Splatoon 3’s 1th anniversary.
So, i’m honestly quite pleased with this Direct and the new info that we learnt from it.
If you’ve played Splatoon before, the Direct won’t tell you anything much in terms of new mechanics, the old ones mostly remain intacts (shops, changing abilities for the gear), there’s further integration to the Nintendo Online dedicated service app (in this case Splatnet 3), Amiibos are compatible (with new ones based on Splatoon 3 arriving later), the various modes/types of battle from previous games return (Salmon Run has been enhanced/expanded, as it was hinted at in previous teaser videos).. with a new type of mode for solo players (though it’s also available as co-op), Anarchy Mode, apparently a survival-esque type of mode.
Apparently as i’m going by how the game describes the “Anarchy Mode” when selecting it, the Direct just says more info will appear on the official site later.
Pretty much all the features from previous games return, often enhanced-expanded, with a lot of welcome QoL improvements and streamlining that you would expect for an online focused experience, like a lobby that lets you train, join other people’s games, and the new lockers room, my favourite as you get to decorate your locker with items, photos, weapons and stickers.
I would have loved a straight up small room you could customize, but this is also quite fun, and while we’re on the subject, customization has also been further improved.
The biggest change in terms of gameplay systems is the way you acquire weapons in Splatoon 3, no more by using the coins you obtain from playing (and playing the game ONLY, i feel the need to stress that nowadays) but by obtaining weapons licenses, earned by winning matches and ranking up weapons.
This is done mostly to diversify the unlocks of weaponry, and it’s balanced by now having to spend on gear and also the many items to decorate-costumize the locker with, and since the weapons did cost a lot to unlock in previous Splatoon games, it sounds like a QoL improvement that will retain the need to grind but in a less restrictive way.
In terms of content, i’m a bit surprised – and pleased – to learn all the old weapons (at least in their base form) will come back, same for the special weapons, alongside new additions like a charged bow and various support and offensive specials (my favourire being especially the “suicide inflatable shark bike”), and the game will launch with 12 maps on rotation, opting for a fairly balanced mix of fan favourites oldies and brand new ones.
We’ll have to see if they improve the rotation for these stages’ availability.
I DID almost had a heart attack when they talked about a “Catalogue”, because it sounded like there was gonna be a “battle pass”…… BUT WAIT, WAIT, this is NOT the case. Kinda.
There are gonna be catalogues with items for you to unlock, with some exclusive to that season’s, but the seasons themselves last 3 months, like actual seasons, and this isn’t a free-to-play live service garbage game. So we have the first (as far as i know anyway) battle pass that works as such but isn’t made to exploit FOMO in order to buy premium currency with real money.
Because the game doesn’t have “monopoly coins” of ANY kind.
And that i feel won’t change, due to Nintendo handling of Splatoon and Splatoon 2.
NO, thank christ this is (most likely) a real game, so once you pay for the game once. Yes, you still need a paid subscription for the online, but the actual game actually costs its “shell price” and nothing more, , aside a full on story expansion which was announced as paid DLC, but if the Octo Expansion for Splatoon 2 is anything to go by, the one for Splatoon 3 it’s most likely gonna be a reasonably priced and actual expansion to the game worth the money.
Sadly we don’t learn anything of substance about the story mode, beside this being – supposedly -the finale of the Splatoon story/saga. MMH.
On the flipside the new “idols-podcasters-announcers” that serve to relate new maps rotations for the various modes, news, updates, upcoming Splatfest etc. looks very cute. What can i say, give it up for the bipedal manta ray, Big Man.
And the card-collecting mini-game looks fun too.
Interestingly, the Direct also showed a planned roadmap for the updates coming later, which including advanced leagues/ranks for extremely levelled up players, the seasonal “catalogues” changing every 3 months for a planned period of 2 years, the aforementioned story expansion eventually becoming a thing, and as usual there will be a testfire event before the launch, this one planned for the 27th of August as a Splatfest to make one check out the new feature of these events, as in the final match that pits 3 teams on one map.
Honestly i’m genuinely hyped about the game, i was delighted by the Direct itself and the new stuff looks pretty good, so i walked away with renewed interest in one of my favourite series ever, one i’m glad Nintendo created at all.
Still pretty dang fresh.