Friday, May 15, 2015

Splatoon Testfire Impressions

I was able to participate in all three Testfire demos. I shared the first with a friend. Yes. I chose to share a 1-hour demo of one of my most hotly anticipated games. He does not have a Wii U, but wants one. I thought Splatoon would be the ultimate push. Anyway, I absolutely loved the game. The most fun I have EVER had in a multiplayer game. My friend enjoyed it as well. Very easy to pick up and play. Fast paced and frantic action. All this at a framerate that is smoother than the coat of ink you are putting down…60fps.

The gyro controls took some getting used to, but quickly became natural and far more intuitive. I wish other shooters on the Wii U took advantage of this option. However, I still used the right stick to make hard left/right turns for convenience. There is also an option to adjust the sensitivity which is great. The camera correction button is awesome and very handy in those weird situations.

The action can get extremely hectic at ANY time. There is never a dull moment…even when you are off by yourself taking over turf. Why? Because someone eventually shows up to undo all your hard work. There were many times I was rolling down the street laying ink only to notice someone was rolling right behind me just out of sight. Talk about wax on/wax off.

The roller was and will be my primary weapon. Nuff said. Lol. It is the easiest to use and kill with. Just roll over your enemies. Barely any need to aim. Their only weaknesses are their horrible range and running speed, but that can be solved by using squid mode to move around and sneak into range. Stealth is the best way to use them. Even the sloosh (ink throw) range is very poor…falling short of the typical shooter. Also, using the sloosh to ink walls in order to swim up them is not as easy as say…the shooter or charger due to is largely horizontal coverage. I easily earned 2-3 specials per life while using the roller. I even managed a triple kill. I think the roller is crucial for turf war and I can already see many smart players combining it with faster running speed buff to run down opponents. I tell you nothing is more frustrating than not being able to catch the enemy roller directly in front of you.

I only played with the Charger twice and got a few good shots in, too. In my opinion, their primary advantage is from high ground, narrow walkways, and quickly inking walls to scale as all it takes is one charged shot. It is a weapon that demands patience. If on the ground, try to keep your distance and pick off unwary opponents. Please do not use them like you would in COD. Why? Because their range is not infinite. If someone is quite a ways away from you, even a fully charged shot will not reach them. They are also one shot kills. Think of the Charger as a weaker slower version of the Inkzooka special weapon. They cannot fire as fast (at least not while a dealing one-hit splat) and their ink line (which also appears to be a tornado/wave, only smaller) does not travel as far.

The shooter is the all-around weapon. Never truly at a complete disadvantage regardless of the situation. Whether low, mid, or high ground, it can cover turf while taking out opponents. Spray n pray is not only easy, but strongly encouraged. In close quarters, they can easily strafe and retreat while making it rain. Their only real weakness (although slight) is the time it takes to cover turf while creating a path for movement and needing multiple hits to take out opponents.

The sub weapons were fun, balanced, and very easy to use. The Ink Grenade was powerful and could easily take out opponents within range while the balloon grenade could be used multiple times per tank, but had less splatter range and required two near direct hits to erase the opposition. The special weapons were very useful and balanced as far as I could tell. The bubble shield is great and grants invincibility just long enough to fend off an attack or two. From what I can gather, it seems to last roughly 5 seconds which is more than enough to send a few bad squiddies back to home base. It is most beneficial if activated just before being attacked or when around teammates. The Killer Wail does not release or eradicate any ink, but its infinite range and power allow it to potentially eliminate any opponents within it line of sight no matter the distance or obstacles. Overall, the special weapons are very similar to the killstreaks of COD and they are more satisfying to use. However, the best things about the weapons are gravity, ballistics, and stalemates. This makes them fun to use. For example, I used the roller the most. Anytime an opponent using a roller and I had a head-on collision, it resulted in a stalemate. Basically, we both died…regardless of the amount of ink left in the tank. Now if you hit them from behind, of course you win. In COD, two opponents cannot kill each other with a melee attack. In every case, there is a winner and a loser if both attempt to knife the other at the exact same time. The shooter, which is basically an assault rifle, has ink with a decent drop-off. No more impossible shots from across the entire map. There were also times when I flattened an opponent with a roller and was also killed by the last few ink bullets they let off before dying. In other words, nothing in this game seems to be overpowered. In short, there will be many “If I die, you die” and “Im taking you with me” moments. Trust me!

Now comes the controversial voice chat issue. I can confirm that voice chat is truly not needed, but could yield a slight benefit…with friends. Let me explain. There were times that I truly wished I could provide info or instruction to the teammate on my screen. With all the frantic action, by the time I could relay and beneficial info to them it would either be too late or the situation has changed. Furthermore, there is no onscreen status that lets you know how much a particular teammate has contributed thus far. In other shooters, you can check to see which teammate is underperforming or which opponent is clearly carrying the team. Not in Splatoon. In short, this is a game where there is VIRTUALLY no time for talk or to strategize. Short rounds with no clear indicator of who is winning combined with frantic action forces you to focus on the task at hand. Want to know what is going on? Glance at the gamepad map and keep it moving and even that can cost you. Lets say you did notice a particular part of the level that was completely covered by your opponent, no one can simply superjump there unless a teammate is already there or close by which CAN defeat the purpose. I can tell you that there were a few times I jumped right into death. However, I would love to talk trash to my friends while playing and I can…because I will be using Hangouts. See? Problem solved. Its like using a mod for a PC game.


Overall, this game is worth more than $60. Why? Because its focus is FUN. Pure and simple. Those complaining about upcoming features, I see nothing wrong with Free-LC. I let my wife play the entire 3rd Testfire demo. She has played COD MW3, but is not a fan of shooters. She picked it up, learned the controls, and literally mopped the floor with the competition using the roller. She was even the top player a few times. She loves the game so much, she even watched the Splatoon Direct twice afterwards. So I consider this a minute one purchase. This IS a shooter for EVERYONE. So, put aside your inhibitions and get splattered.

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