Yes. Gosh, this was an easy post to write!
…Wait, you still have more questions? Okay then, fire away!
- Is there enough new content here to justify being labeled as a true sequel? Not only is there enough new content, but it’s good stuff with no filler.
- The single-player campaign feels about the same length as the original game thus far, but the ability to use different weapons (and the bonus of using a hero weapon in multiplayer if you beat all the single-player stages with it) adds replayability without making it feel too much like filler.
- The Salmon Run horde mode is challenging, choatic, and fun as heck to play, especially when teaming up with friends.
- The Ranked Battles have been changed up a bit to make them more competitive (Splat Zones are in more-contested areas, Tower Control features checkpoints that gave the defending term a bit more time to regroup), and the ranking system has been tweaked to let players skip entire ranks if their skill warrants it (for example, I crushed the competition in C- Splat Zone lobbies and was immediately kicked up to B-).
- The new maps are great, the old ones are expanded, the gear upgrade system now includes a way to specify what abilities fill those slots…I could go on forever.
Bottom Line: The game definitely earns its 2.
- How noticeable are the changes that push Splatoon 2 in a more competitive direction? There are two major changes that I noticed:
- The map designs are a lot more open and…well, square. There’s still a lot of verticality involved, but aside from Port Mackerel, the maps are widened to combat spawn camping and more open in the center to encourage more action (and even Port Mackerel has been widened and opened up a lot). This may give us a hint as to what maps might make the jump from Splatoon to Splatoon 2: Look for maps like Kelp Dome, Ancho-V Games, and Flounder Heights to reappear, while narrow levels like Walleye Warehouse, Arowana Mall, and Hammerhead Bridge will likely get left behind. (I’m curious to see if “split” levels like Bluefin Depot and Camp Triggerfish make a comeback.)
- I feel like the special weapons have been watered-down for Splatoon 2, and their impact on the game is more subtle than before. (They’re also noticeably slower, in order to give players around you more time to react.) How this makes you feel will be determined by whether you were more often on the sending or receiving end of these specials in the original game.
- I’m new to the Splatoon franchise! Will I enjoy the game, or just get wrecked by the Wii U veterans? Both, actually. Because everyone is at Level 1 right now, I’d encourage brand-new Splatoon players to start by taking a week or two to master the single-player mode, and avoid multiplayer until the experienced players work their way out of the lower-level lobbies.
- I’m upgrading from Splatoon! Do my favorite weapons still work the same? If you’re not a roller main, you’re fine: Some of the sub weapons may have changed, but for the most part the weapons still feel about the same. If you are a roller main, however, your re-learning curve will be a bit steeper: In addition to the vertical jump fling (which is a pain to aim) and increased run speed, the weapon seems to consume ink a lot faster than in the original game, and its general fling power doesn’t feel all that powerful anymore. I didn’t find it nearly as fun to play as before.
- Is there any reason I should not buy this game? Actually, there is: If you don’t have a fast, reliable Internet connection, you should think twice about buying Splatoon 2. Just like the original, the game is heavily reliant on online modes, and Splatoon 2 threatens to be more punitive if you disconnect from a match. Without a network connection, you’re only left with the single-player mode, which isn’t enough to justify the purchase by itself.
Overall, despite some minor complaints, Splatoon 2 is a really fun game that I can’t recommend highly enough. If you’ve got a Switch and a sturdy network, Splatoon 2 is totally worth your time.