Preview Splatoon 3: We played the Nintendo Switch multiplayer game! Our impressions
While the previous episode was released the year of the console’s launch, Splatoon 3 is about to land for this 2022-2023 school year. A few weeks before the game’s release, we were able to try several modes of this highly anticipated Nintendo Switch title and we give you our first impressions.
- A solo mode accessible to the Octo Expansion
- New weapons to renew the multiplayer
- Salmon Run, still effective but few new features
While relatively recent, the Splatoon series quickly established itself as one of the essential franchises in Nintendo’s catalog thanks to its unique proposal and its online multiplayer. Pou proof, two years after the release of the original game, the Switch was immediately entitled to its own episode with Splatoon 2, just four months after the launch of the console. A choice which is explained in particular by the fact that few people had played the first opus because of the disappointing sales of the Wii U. Five years later, the series returns with Splatoon 3, the back-to-school game for Nintendo which counts make the title live well over time. A few weeks before its release, we were able to try several modes and the least we can say is that we can’t wait to get our hands on the final product.
By the way, what is Splatoon?
Splatoon is a third-person shooter developed by Nintendo in which the player embodies Inklings, half-human half-squid children. Designed primarily for multiplayer, players compete in maps and shoot each other with paint strokes. To win a game, the goal is to cover a larger area than the opposing team with your colors. If the game offers different types of weapons, they all recharge when the player turns into a squid to dive into the ground and fill his ink gauge.
A solo mode accessible to the Octo Expansion
During our play session, we were able to try out the three main modes of Splatoon 3, namely the campaign, the multiplayer confrontation and the co-op mode called Salmon Run. So we started with The Return of the Mammals, name given to the solo adventure of the title, in which we play the character of Number 3 who joins the Swordfish squadron to face the Octarian army. We then find ourselves in Alterna, a sort of ice floe which serves as a hub and which is invaded by the shaggy mush, a surface covered with hair, which must be overcome to progress in the adventure. To achieve this, we harvest salmon eggs in each level which are used to be spent to allow the Salmioches, a kind of small fish that accompany you, to destroy this material to unlock new accesses.
From what we were able to experience during our session, the levels each offer different activities that allow you to become familiar with the mechanics and weapons of the game. If most of them are above all action phases in which you have to come to bout all the enemies to win, some levels rely more on thinking to complete them. And then, some courses require you to play with a certain weapon, which allows you to familiarize yourself with it. So it looks like the campaign has some welcome level variety for new players. So, in broad outline, Splatoon 3’s single-player mode is very reminiscent of Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion, but more accessible. It remains to be seen what happens as we progress.
New weapons to renew the multiplayer
Like its predecessors, the heart of Splatoon 3 remains above all its multiplayer, in particular these online clashes. Among the eight new maps of this third opus, we were able to try two, namely the Canyon aux Colonnes and the Balibot Suburb. As usual, the latter offer an effective level design that encourages players to meet often, which creates constant clashes. Beyond that, this episode introduces new moves that may seem trivial for newcomers, but which could prove to be formidable in expert hands. First of all, we discover the Vrille Calamar which allows you to jump in the shape of a squid when you are on the ground to propel yourself in the downpour direction and thus protect yourself from enemy fire. Then, the Squid Breaker allows you to charge your jump on a wall when you are in squid form to project yourself high in the air. Subtle movements therefore, but which can be important for the most relentless players of Splatoon.
These multiplayer games were also an opportunity to try the two new weapons presented during the Splatoon Direct, namely the bow (called the Piercer) and the katana (called the Shard). As for the first, the latter seems to have a very special place in this episode since it appears on the cover of the title. Joystick in hand, the bow allows you to shoot horizontally on the ground and vertically when you jump it. Regardless of your position, the Piercer launches three projectiles at once and this shot can be charged to create three charges that explode after a few seconds. A weapon with a very particular functioning therefore but pleasant to take in hand. As for the katana, things are less obvious. In its principle, the Éclatana projects waves of paintings in front of him and can be charged to make a more powerful attack, accompanied by a small dash forward. Unfortunately, the latter does as much damage in melee as it does from a distance and its charging system is not so easy to learn. It remains to be seen what happens in the long term, but it is clear that this katana requires some time to adapt.
Salmon Run, still effective but few new features
Finally, the last mode we were able to get our hands on is none other than Salmon Run which allows four participants to play cooperatively. As a reminder, the goal of these games is to survive against legions of Salmonoids, while coming to the end of Salmonoboss which drop golden eggs once defeated which must be brought back in a basket to access the next wave. And since each player can only carry one egg at a time and several are needed to move on to the next stage, this requires all participants to be active during the mission. Finally, to add a unique side to each attempt, the weapons are distributed randomly with each new wave. A terribly effective mode in its simplicity since each game is made up of three waves, which makes for short but intense game sessions. For all these reasons, the Salmon Run was acclaimed from its first introduction in Splatoon 2.
In Splatoon 3, the Salmon Run has a few new features, although these are not legion. On the one hand, the title incorporates new Salmonoboss like the Couverclard or the Big Ball, but also Salmonarques, even more powerful, new enemies like the Salmotori. Another subtlety, it is now possible to throw the golden eggs so that they reach the basket or send it to an ally so that he can drop it off for you. Aside from that, it must be recognized that Salmon Run is not the game mode that has been the subject of the greatest number of novelties, even if its basic principle remains devilishly effective. Enough to disappoint the most hardcore fans of Splatoon.
Splatoon 3 is a continuation of Splatoon 2 by adding some new features that will please fans. After the success of the Octo Expansion, the solo mode of this episode was greatly inspired by it to offer a more accessible but smart way to learn the basics of the game. On the multiplayer side, the latter remains as effective as ever and brings some niceties like new weapons and moves. Same observation for the Salmon Run, except that the lack of major novelties of the latter could still disappoint some. Thus, Splatoon 3 promises to be the culmination of the Splatoon formula by offering the most complete experience possible, without revolutionizing it. In any case, you can still participate in the free online test of the Splatfest World Premiere which will take place this Saturday, August 27 between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., the demo is already available on the eShop