Splatoon fans can breathe a sigh of relief as Nintendo's upcoming third-person shooter Splatoon 3 is almost here. The most recent Splatoon 3 Direct showcased a boatload of new details about the upcoming post-apocalyptic title. With the livestream lasting for 30 minutes, the Japanese publisher left no stone unturned.
From brand new characters to updated improvements of the general formula, there is a lot to cover. It should go without saying that Splatoon fans are in for a real treat.
Dive into the world of Splatsville in Splatoon 3
This time around, Nintendo is taking their fans to a massive metropolis known as Splatsville. This massive hub has many sights to see, from its zany aquatic denizens to interesting features. Some of the latter include:
- Mailbox: Create and share drawings and messages online
- Crab-N-Go: A fast food service, whose delectable menu offers mouthwatering dishes that can offer buffs, like increased cash rewards
- The Shoal: Access this area for local-play across various battle modes
- Photo Mode: Capture the marvels of Splatsville in this extensive photo mode
- Recon Mode: Approach the Recon guide to take a stroll around multiplayer maps for the sake of familiarity
The single-player portion is called "Rise of the Mammalians", taking Agent 3 to the homeworld of the Octarians. Engage in unique and creative levels as players familiarize themselves with the basics of gameplay as well as gunplay in this mode. Furthermore, Nintendo has confirmed that Splatoon 3 will be receiving paid DLC content in the future.
Ready for some multiplayer action?
While fans are bound to have a good time with the single-player mode, multiplayer is really where it's at. Turf Wars is Splatoon 3's term for PvP matches, allowing players to climb up the ranking system. Much like the previous two entries, this game is not a traditional TPS experience. Players can use a variety of weapons, from blasters to rollers, all of which utilize colored ink in various ways to take down enemies. Additionally, this also covers territory by painting the environment with the team's color of choice. This map control, in turn, helps with gameplay as players can turn into squids and dive into 'friendly ink' to recover 'ammo' and also gain a movement boost while hidden from enemy vision. New additions include:
- Squid Surge: Grants a short but powerful boost to a Squid swimming through ink
- Squid Roll: Allows jumping and dodging through ink while in Squid form. Players can also somewhat counter opponent ink when dodging (signified by glow), so perfecting the art of dodging is essential.
Of course, ink from the opposing team can damage players standing in it, so area control is the name of the game. Essentially, the team with the most areas covered in their ink wins. On that note, a total of 12 new maps have been unveiled so far. These take place across various locales of the game and include many battlezones, such as:
- Scorch Gorge (The Splatlands)
- Eeltail Alley (The Splatlands)
- Museum D'Alfonsino (Greater Inkopolis)
- Hammerhead Bridge (Greater Inkopolis)
As always, Nintendo is expected to add new maps throughout the game's lifespan in the form of free updates, possibly even throwing in new weapons. A new multiplayer battlemode called Anarchy Battle also debuts in Splatoon 3. It features four different modes to battle in, each with unique objectives and on a rotational basis:
- Splat Zones
- Tower Control
- Clam Blitz
There are also plans for new modes called X Battles (for high ranking Anarchy Battle players) and League Battle (consisting of teams decided by Anarchy Battle results).
With new additions like a Test Range, Ghosts (in-lobby hologram notifications of online friends), and Battle Replays, Splatoon 3 seems to be the most feature-rich multiplayer game from Nintendo so far. In fact, lobbies even have a Locker feature where players can show off their acquired gear, weapons, photos, and cosmetics for others to see.
Gear up for battle
Weapons are a major part of Splatoon 3 and fans will be relieved to know that all the basic weapons from the previous two entries will be returning. However, there are new ones, like the crossbow-esque Stringer, that can be charged up for devastating effect. Or the Splatana, a deadly weapon that is effective at long ranges with its blades of ink, and even close up with a charged slash. Additionally, there are Special Weapons which can be used once a meter has been filled up after inking enough territory.
One useful example of a Special Weapon is the Tacticooler, a beverage-wielding fridge that doesn't just quench players' thirst, but also buffs them temporarily in combat. Or the Wave Breaker, which sends out damaging waves of energy that reveals enemies' locations if they are hit by them. Finally, the Reefslider allows players to charge and ram into any opponent unfortunate enough to step into its linear path of destruction. Other returning Special Weapons include the Tenta Missiles, Ink Storm, and Booyah Bomb.
Special Weapons are also, by default, paired with main weapons in shops, so players should keep a lookout for a combo that suits their playstyle.
It's shopping time
Speaking of which, there are various shops scattered throughout the city that players can check out. Weapons can be purchased at Ammo Knights, albeit with a special currency called Sheldon Licenses. Leveling up in battle and being proficient with one kind of weapon are some of the ways players can get more of these Licenses. One License can be turned in for one weapon equal to the player's level. However, offering the shopkeeper more Licenses than the default cost may reward the player by acquiring a higher level weapon sooner.
But there is more to Splatoon 3 than just guns; keeping it fresh is the other half that makes this game what it is. In other words, players can dress up their character as they wish by visiting various attire stores. These include headgear, tops, footwear, and even other customization items, with each shop owned by a curious and peculiar NPC. These cosmetics also have bonus skills on them, such as faster running or increasing the effectiveness of Squid Surge. An NPC known as Murch can be visited if players want to swap one skill with another. However, doing so seems to require a resource called Ability Chunks.
Players can also easily save their weapons and attire loadouts and swap between them.
Players can take personalization to a whole new level in Splatoon 3 with even more customization features than just fashion. This includes player lobby Splashtags, with changeable background banners, badges, titles, and emotes. These can be earned through a catalog system by spending points earned in battles, and this catalog will change every 3 months over a period of two years starting with Splatoon 3's launch. This system seems to be slightly similar to Nintendo's other multiplayer game, Nintendo Switch Sports.
New minigame: Table Turf Battle
A new mode called Tableturf Battle is making its way to Splatoon 3. Engage in tactical grid-based battles driven by deck-building elements. Players must tactfully utilize the shapes atop their card to cover as much area on the map as possible. With over 150 cards to collect, there are innumerable possibilities. Players will initially receive an in-game starter deck to begin their 1v1 competitive journey. Taking turns, it can be played at the Tableturf Dojo in Splatsville.
Salmon Run is back
The iconic Splatoon 2 horde mode has now returned on popular demand from fans. Players will once again battle the oncoming evil Salmonid forces. This 4-player co-op mode requires collecting the eggs dropped by defeated foes. More powerful foes called Boss Salmonids can drop Golden Eggs which are needed to finish the objective. However, players must be on the lookout for the King Salmonid, a massive boss fight surfing on the waves of a time limit that must be defeated at any cost. A mode called Big Run will also occur periodically.
Splatoon 3 is headed to the Nintendo Switch exclusively on September 9, 2022.