Nintendo’s new, fresh, off-the-hook multiplayer title has a few interesting design choices.
Splatoon 2 is one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played all year. Nintendo has already cemented their place as “Masters of Gameplay.” Yet they’ve also shown that they don’t quite get the whole “online gaming” thing. Splatoon‘s online modes get a little confusing, so I’m here to clear the air.
You can play Turf War to your heart’s content, getting great at the game mode on your own. Turf Wars are the “normal,” casual mode in Splatoon 2, found by queuing up for a Regular Battle. In it, you’ll use your ink guns to literally cover more ground than the enemy team. You can also shoot at the opponents to “splat” them. They’ll respawn in their base after a few seconds. Whoever has the highest percentage of the map covered after three minutes wins.
You can’t pair up with friends and climb your way through Regular Battles. For balance reasons, of course. You and a friend would be too coordinated compared to all the other fresh cats playing the game. You’d dominate without even trying. It’s unfair to everyone else. Even with casual play, you’d eventually face a “try-hard” group, in which case your fun would be gone, right?
You can join a friend’s Regular Battle lobby, or host a Private Match. Joining their Regular Battle matches means that the two of you can be on opposite teams, or on the same one. If you’re in the same room, this is fine. Otherwise, your friend may feel like another random player. Wanna use Voice Chat through Nintendo’s smartphone app? You’ll need to host a Private Match for that. Only your friends can fill that room. If less than eight people want to play (four on each team), you won’t be getting the full experience.
You can’t party up with friends in any of the “main” multiplayer modes, aside from League Battles. No worries though, League Battles unlock once you reach rank B- or higher in Ranked Battles. The Ranked mode opens once you hit level 10 in Regular Battles, quite a few hours into the game. Don’t worry, it’s worth it! You and your pro-strat friends belong there: facing professional teams and full-time streamers.
You can play Salmon Run, the fun little horde mode. In Salmon Run, you and a few buds team up to defeat waves of evil fish. You’ll steal their Golden Eggs, and hand them off to your corporate masters. You’ll earn pay for your work, and may even receive a bonus. If you don’t have four players to form a full party, never fear. You can team up with only a friend or two, then have matchmaking fill out the remaining empty slots. This is a feature that wouldn’t be handy anywhere else, right?
You can’t play Salmon Run at certain times, or on certain days. Look, who wants to work a part-time job every day? Go play Regular Battles by yourself! The playerbase and servers can’t handle those concurrent modes. It’s not like Amazon sold out of Splatoon 2 multiple times. Also, the Nintendo eShop didn’t crash on Splatoon‘s launch night. Don’t be silly.
You can and can’t play Regular Battles and Salmon Run any time you want, via Local Wireless Play. Try ’em out! You’ll be playing only with the people right beside you. You won’t level up if you play Regular Battles, and Salmon Run doesn’t provide the same rewards. The option to play is always there, though. However, I hope you don’t experience constant disconnects mid-match. None of my friends saw the Results screen. We have no clue why.
You can play Turf War to your heart’s content, again. Hey, it beats disconnecting every few minutes! Regular Battles are definitely fun. Try playing them with your friends without speaking. Or, play solo! You’ll hit level 10 in no time. You’ll also be good enough to reach rank B- in Ranked Battles. You and your next-level, pro friends will soon play Splatoon 2 together.
I can’t take much more of this. We can’t do anything to fix it. Nintendo can’t think this is a good idea. Splatoon 2 is SUCH a fantastic game and is a joy to play. But it frustrates at every turn, thanks to a litter of weird features and limitations. I want to play with my friends, and not lose to the one level 15 player on the other team. Why isn’t there a limitation against him? He’s more unfair than anything my pals and I will ever do.
You can play the Single-Player Campaign any time you like. It’s the perfect practice for learning how to use every type of weapon in the game. And for learning to play alone. Which you’ll probably be doing a lot of.