Splatoon has a lot of things that one might consider their favorite. Multiplayer is there for casual and committed players, even if the unranked modes were a bit underserved in the past. With the Octo Expansion, the single-player has slowly developed into something truly special. And then there's Salmon Run, thechaotic horde mode, which has been great fun since the beginning.
What else does Splatoon 3 have to offer? There's the multiplayer, which has been marginally improved, the singleplayer, which seems to be equally as thorough as the expansion, and Salmon Run, which has new monsters and challenges to face. Which is really irrelevant, as far as I can tell.
The foundationally rock-solid Splatoon series does not need to throw the baby out with the bathwater; it just needs a bigger bath. And, from my brief time with the game, that looks to be exactly whats happening. More space for all these excellent elements to breathe, more space for all these different components to better accommodate existing fans, and perhaps bring in new ones as well.
The first thing we see during the hands-on is the new single-player mode, Return of the Mammalians. There's a snowy overworld to roam around in, strange muck everywhere (I'm not sure what that is yet), and silver grates to jump onto to get into a level. I only saw the first three, but within minutes I had this sarcastic smile on my face.
Instantly, the level feels like the Octo Expansion, but with a different appearance. There's a little cube space to choose your weapon, clear PVC curtain strips between you and the level, and an immediate view of the challenge to come. The presentation of these places is crucial to getting to grips with the level, helping you to plan a route.
Once I enter its enchantingly legible playground of different walls to climb, contraptions to launch, and keys to collect. As before, this may not feel particularly new, but it feels just as tight and pristine as before. It feels somewhat more confident, almost, somewhat luxurious, ready to display slivers of all the tricks in its back pocket.
In another level, I get a look at a new tri-stinger weapon that has three shots to take on rows of enemies. Quick press to trigger three medium-damage shots and get a vertical line of enemies. Long press to trigger a sticky grenade shot that explodes after a few seconds.
Next up is multiplayer. You launch yourself down to a spot in the sky beyond the map, instead of spawning in a row with your teammates. From there, I was straight into my rhythm, playing the game as I always have.
What I was able to say in fact, within about 17 seconds, is that this game is very similar to Splatoon 2 in the best way possible. I mean, in the best way possible. And thats fine, considering that Splatoon 2s multiplayer is still a fantastic experience.
The main improvements that impact multiplayer are the quick dodge roll. This quick dodge roll should be great for surprised opponents in ranked matches.
The squid surge feature is also included, allowing you to leap up a wall after charging up for a second. I can't immediately see how this might dramatically alter things. You might surprise someone camping atop a tower, but you'll need some fine aiming at the same time (maybe Im not good enough!).
The other new multiplayer features are simple tweaks: automatic replays, a lobby to practice in while waiting for a game, more flexible private matches, new special weapons, and a sense that the game understands that Splatoon 2 was not perfect when it came to player experience outside of the gameplay.
Splatoon's most chaotic run is reached here, with new enemies with specific weaknesses and jankier music that make the whole experience seem like a dizzying head rush. Again, it feels like more of the same, except tuned more finer.
The new hub, Splatsville, feels more like a real place than any of the Inkopolis spots from previous games, while also being more striking. However, I noticed some new outfits that had me wanting to be a squid stylist for the first time.
So, at this point, its a shame to be unable to say much. However, if you like Splatoon, the third entry in the series shows no signs of putting a foot wrong. It's a surefire way to make the experience more pleasant and enjoyable.
If you don't like Splatoon, why don't you seek help from a doctor? You may be unwell. However, Splatoon 3 is designed to entice more players in and teach them the ropes more clearly, but it inherently feels like the same game. So, unless the doctor can fix you up, it doesnt appear like this game will change your mind.
For more information, check out our Splatoon 3 soundtrack feature, or ourSplatoon 3 idols and Splatoon 3 hairstyles guides.