Splatoon: First Impressions

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Nintendo on Thursday released a Direct video to announce the final details before releasing the game later this month. What was cool was that Nintendo released a demo of the game called the Global Test fire. This is a temporary demo of the game that ran on hour slots today on Saturday, and I got into the action myself.

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The Test Fire demo showcased three levels and four weapons. You can pick between the basic three main types of weapon, the Splatter shot, a rapid fire weapon, the Splat Roller, an oversized paint roller, and the the Splat Charger, a Sniper Rifle that shots ink at long distances, but no spread. I found myself using the Splat Roller the most as it really covers the ground well seeing as it is a bit paint roller, it’s attack isn’t so great, but at the end of the day your team win if you have covered the level in your colour of ink, not deaths, so it makes sense that the Splat Roller was my weapon of choice.

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The demo starts off with a tutorial explaining the controls. This is handy seeing as it explains how to use the squid form and power weapons. Problem is, this game does use motion control, and weirdly it’s used for looking up and down. The default control scheme for this game is to look up and down, you tilt the game pad up and down, but to look left and right you use the right analogue stick, which was really weird and unconventional for a seasoned gamer like myself. Fortunately you can turn off the motion controls in the demo’s option, by doing this, the game feels like any other console shooter where the left analogue stick is used for movement whilst the right analogue stick is used for looking around. I guess the motion controls were added to this for unseasoned gamers and the Japanese, seeing as Japanese gamers don’t like using two sticks to play shooters like western gamers. At the least there’s an option to play it the way us western gamers are used to.

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The demo was entertaining, and I do want to get the game; but my real worry about the game is Nintendo’s decision to remove voice chat in game. Like with many other people on the internet, removing voice chat in a team based online game is going to be a problem. Even whilst playing the game, I honestly wish I could speak with my team mate to formulate a strategy to win the round. Instead you just end up doing your own thing, with your team mates doing their own thing, which can only cause issues if the team doesn’t really know what to do and take advantage of the game. I know that Nintendo is scared of Internet abuse and bullying, but it would make total sense if voice chat was included in the game, even if it was only in a friends game. Maybe the whole, well everyone has Skype now, excuse will be used, and we may very well have to use voice over IP to talk with fellow team mates. That that brings another issue, after each online game, you get put into a different team. So your friend who played with you in one round, might be your enemy in the next, or possibly into a different game all together!

The demo does feature a way to communicate via an on-screen prompt that you can activate using the DPad; but all we had on the demo was “C’mon” and “Nice”, which to be honest isn’t enough communication for me.

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I’m excited for Splatoon, but it won’t be the best shooter out there. It’s proof to show that Nintendo is finally giving a damn about online play, but there are of places that need to be added, smoothed out, polished. It’s not to say that it’s a bad game at all, but there are obvious, We’re Nintendo and we’re scared about this, on the game. Hopefully with this modern era of gaming being online and such, Nintendo will take advantage of it and update the game when they have the courage to finally introduce a form of voice chat into the game. Nintendo did introduce a 200cc mode for Mario Kart 8, so it’s possible, it really depends on Nintendo to do it!

I’ll definitely be getting this game, but I’m not going to expect everyone to like it just due to the lack of communication to other team mates.

Did you try out the Global Test Fire today? What did you think? Will you be getting the game? Tell me in the comments below!