I never played the original Splatoon. I always wanted to, but I just never had a chance to try it out. I've seen people play it on YouTube quite a lot (the competitive nature of the game has always provided a fun streaming environment), so I'm familiar with what the game was like. However, you never really know what a game is going to actually end up being like until you get a chance to play it for yourself. Because of that, I was ecstatic to get a chance to play the Global Testfire when it started. I downloaded the beta almost a week in advance, and I eagerly awaited the moment I got to press the triggers and begin my first foray into Inkopolis.
About five minutes before it was scheduled to, the testfire began. I pressed the button as soon as I heard, and immediately I was in. I've heard that some people had some really bad server issues, but I personally ran into very few. After I was lucky enough to have the server gods smile down on me, it was time to paint. I chose the "Splat Dualies" weapons, because they're new, they remind me of Tracer from Overwatch, and that roll move is sick. The game began, and...I wasn't having fun at all.
The motion controls were way too sensitive for me, and I was having trouble seeing where I was going, much less actually doing well in the game. I played a few more matches, but I really wasn't feeling it. Begrudgingly, I turned off my Switch and took to social media to see what other people thought.
I immediately learned that I wasn't the only one experiencing these troubles. People that were gyroscopic veterans from the original Splatoon seemed to be doing fine, but newbies like me seemed to be having a bit of trouble. At this point, I was worried. I'm a Nintendo blogger, I have to review Splatoon 2 when it comes out, and I didn't see any possible way to do that if I absolutely hated playing it. I wasn't sure what I was going to do.
All of a sudden, I saw a tweet pop up that told me how to turn off gyroscopic aiming. I was so relieved. I jumped back in, and I had a lot more fun. I'm still bad at it, but it no longer feels impossible to get better.
Even though I had fun when I was able to play it, and I love a lot about it, there's still some criticisms to be made, which I'll tackle further on in this psuedo-review.
I love the music in Splatoon 2. It's just honestly so great. I absolutely can not wait for the game to come out so I can hear the entire soundtrack. The tracks in this game make me feel really happy, and also help me get invested and have an intense play session.
The visuals in Splatoon 2 are good, but they aren't that much of an improvement on the original. Instead of looking like the graphics of a brand new game, they look like they're from a port of the first game. In fact, I think similarities to the first game really have a chance of ruining it.
The gameplay in Splatoon 2 is shockingly similar to that of the original game. I've never even played the original and I can tell. It looks just like it, and it seems to play just the same. While there will undoubtedly be some new additions in the final game, the public's first time playing a game shouldn't be more of the same. It would probably bother me even more if I had played the first game.
The level design is also pretty bad. The levels in Splatoon 2 have a very boring design philosophy. The levels are pretty square and simple, with all of the interesting things that look fun to interact with are out of the level's bounds. For example, the huge rock climbing walls in Musselforge Gym would be so fun to actually be usable. Can you imagine climbing up to get a good vantage point on some enemies down below?
Many games use the "gate off all the cool stuff" design philosophy, but after the amazing world of Breath of the Wild, I guess I expect a lot more from games now, especially those from Nintendo.
I don't mean to insinuate that Splatoon 2 will be a bad game, or even that I didn't like it. I really enjoyed my time with it. I felt a little cynical while playing at first, but now that I can't play it, I desperately want to. If Nintendo polishes the motion control sensitivity and delivers some levels with fun things to do, I think we could end up with a real gem on our hands. I'm also really glad to see that Nintendo is really doubling down on making their new IPs just as good as their longstanding franchises, and with some more work, they could meet that goal.
I can't wait to get back into Splatoon 2. I'm happy that Nintendo's first new IP in such a long time has become a huge success, and hopefully ARMS will have the same luck later this Spring.
I'm not going to give the Testfire a score. It's an unfinished game in a limited state. Giving it a score would only make it easier to compare it to complete games. I'd be missing the point if I did that.