I didn’t play much of the original Splatoon. I came into owning a Wii U late in its life cycle, or rather, during its death rattle. It was pretty much gone by the time I got one. I enjoyed what I did play of the original Splatoon, but I didn’t play online ever and I barely got into the single player.
Still, I was excited when the sequel was set to come to the Switch. I got it on launch day, and for the most part, I’ve been enjoying it.
I have yet to finish the single player, but it’s a lot of fun, and very interesting. Each stage is unique and different, the bosses are fun, and even finding the levels to play is interesting. From what I have played of the original, this mode seems extremely similar to the original’s. But I suppose most people don’t play Splatoon for the single player. I’m finding this out.
Here’s the thing. I don’t play online multiplayer. Like…ever. I did have a lot of fun with Splatoon though, and for the first several days, that’s pretty much all I did in the game. Which is a massive first for me. And it was fun.
Until it wasn’t.
Here’s the problem. If you don’t play for a bit, you become severely underleveled. Which shouldn’t be the case. I would expect people to be paired up against those of similar level. But Nintendo doesn’t seem to get this idea. It pairs whoever with whoever else is on, and while this does mean faster matchmaking, it’s very disheartening for someone, like me, who doesn’t have the drive to play competitively, and who does other things with my time. I know Nintendo is terrible at the online multiplayer thing. It has been. This is just, honestly, the first time I’ve really encountered it.
Splatoon did a good job of making me want to play online at first. I really enjoyed the matches. They don’t last too long, even with the waiting time, and it’s pretty fun to play the different weapons, though I tend to find the one I like and stick with it.
And now, it’s rather reinforcing why I don’t like playing online. The deck is constantly stacked against me. I just recently got to level 10. I would normally feel pretty decent about that except I’m constantly being pitted against teams comprised of level 15 or higher players. More than once, I’ve been in a game where my team ranges from level 4 to 11 or 12, and the team we’re playing against is 15 to 30. That’s bull, in all honesty. You can fudge some of it in this game, making up the difference with luck or skill, but having most of the other team at least twice as high as your own, there is no way to make that difference up.
Leveling up unlocks better weapons and better gear that gives better perks. You can move faster or refill your tank quicker or do more damage or reduce how much ink your weapons use thereby allowing you to go longer without refilling. All incredibly useful, and if you’re close in level, then presumably your perks would be as powerful as the other team’s. It’s asinine and very discouraging to constantly be pitted against a team my team and I have no chance of winning against.
Most of the time, you at least cover 20% of the field, but in several games, that’s about all my team did because the other was just so much more powerful than ours. That’s super frustrating.
And I’m an adult. I can’t even imagine how demoralizing that would be for a kid.
If I were twelve, I probably would be in tears over it just out of sheer frustration. I’m not saying the other team should ease up, not that you’d know if you’re fighting a whole bunch of kids or not, but I’m just saying damn Nintendo, get some actual match making and pair me with people of comparable skill! Everyone else can do it, why is it hard for you?
If I had to speculate, I would imagine this is so that lobby wait times is minimal and greatly lessens the chance of a time out. I will say that there have only been a couple of instances where I was unable to get into a match, and most of them were because I was up late at night. Even so, I’d take that over getting trounced just because my team was half the level of the other.
The mode I really like, however, is Salmon Run. If I could get money and experience from this mode alone, I would absolutely do that. The idea of this one is that you and a team of three other people work together to gather as many golden salmon eggs as possible within a time limit. There are three waves of enemies, and if you fail one of them, the match ends. You fail by either not meeting a quota or everyone on the team dying. There are also basically a stream of mini boss battles as there are large enemies with specific gimmicks and ways of defeating them that you must deal with to get the golden eggs.
I love this mode. I do. I love cooperating with everyone rather than playing against people. I’m not a super confrontational person, which is probably why I don’t usually like multiplayer.
The problem with this mode is its strangely locked off half the time. It’s only available 12 hours at a time, and it seems random why and when. I really hate that. I haven’t really run into it much, except last week, during the two or three times I was able to play during the week, I was just in between Salmon Run sessions. It is really aggravating. Seriously, what is the point of that? I understand switching out the maps and things, but why would you lock off half of the game some times? Why can’t it just be available? It’s not clever, it’s just irritating.
I know that one thing I’ve heard people complain about was the lack of voice support. You can do it, but it’s through a separate app that you must get on your smartphone. I don’t understand why they did that except for the fact that Nintendo really doesn’t understand how to do good online multiplayer. As mentioned, I don’t play online like ever, but even I know that good match making and giving people a way to effectively communicate is important, if not necessary. There is a way to sort of communicate, mostly by boasting, calling for help, or trying to get people to come to you, but otherwise, there’s nothing really to do that. The fact that there is no voice communication doesn’t really bother me as I wouldn’t probably plug in a headset anyway, but I can see where others are coming from.
I still like it. I still enjoy playing it, but the longer I’m away, the larger that level gap gets, and the less I want to return to the multiplayer. The single player is still a lot of fun though.