Some Thoughts About Splatoon 3

Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law.

Lately I’ve become obsessed with Splatoon 3. I’ve recently upgraded to the Splatoon 3 edition OLED Switch and got the matching Pro Controller to boot. Plus I couldn’t help myself and got several of the Amiibos including Deep Cut and Off The Hook among several others. It’s hilarious the way Big Man doesn’t fit in the box and has to scrunch up so much in it when you scan him in. It’s little touches like that which set Nintendo apart from other game companies in terms of fun and whimsy.

Recently, I picked up a ton of new Switch games, but Splatoon 3 is all I ever want to play anymore. My favorite game mode is salmon run, which I really enjoy. When you have a team that actually knows what they’re doing, it can be great fun. Though, if you don’t, it can easily become and exercise in frustration. Still, I find myself playing it for hours upon hours non-stop.

The game could really use voice chat support so you can instruct team mates that haven’t quite mastered the nuances of the game yet and so you can collaborate better by being able to communicate with your team in real time. I understand that there’s the concern of what people might say but the obvious solution is just to ban children under 13 from participating altogether, like most online things do. It is the law after all, and for good reason. Nobody that young is really developed enough to actually understand what’s going on in a meaningful way and they’re way too vulnerable cognitively at that age to be safely exposed to internet things. That’s just my opinion anyway. Yes, I know the target audience of Splatoon is generally younger than most other similar online shooters but why should children get to ruin everyone else’s fun? Though, I’m admittedly biased. I don’t like being around other people’s children and have no desire to have any of my own, or at least not at this stage in my life, but I digress. At the very least it would be nice for them to add at least 2 more canned phrases beyond just This Way/Help & Booyah. Maybe “Thanks” and “Teamwork”? Just a suggestion and I’m sure there’s plenty of other equally good options you could include. It would be nice to be able to better communicate with your team. If it were up to me, they would add an emote wheel like the have in Portal 2 and Animal Crossing. Stuff like “ink over here” where it puts the pop-up over the area it’s referring to, or “watch out”. Again, just a thought.

Anyways, being a heavily team based game mode, salmon run can seriously be screwed up quite quickly if people aren’t being team players. If it were up to me, it really shouldn’t count against you when you fail because someone ditches the team in the middle of a run. Maybe they should put tazers in the Switch controllers so if someone tries to abandon their team prematurely in a salmon run they get tazed. Haha! I’m joking of course, but it is very annoying when someone abandons you to the hoards of the salmonoids in the middle of a particularly hectic run. Even just being one player down can seriously impact the difficulty of the later phases.

On the topic of salmon run…Hey, um, Mr. Grizz? Yeah, don’t get mad when your team fails because your idea of good weapons includes a pencil and a toothbrush. The pencil is especially ineffective.

I wish the game was a little better at deciding on the current loadout because when you’re randomly assigned a weapon that is poorly matched for the game mode it can be frustrating both for you and your team who must rely on you. In my experience, the absolute worst is the pencil. It’s supposed to be a sniper rifle kind of thing, but it’s particularly useless in salmon run. The game mode is way too hectic and generally only the basic salmonoids are even particularly vulnerable to it. Worse, when you’re forced to use it, you generally get splatted a lot because you get overwhelmed way too easily. Plus the one type of boss salmonoid that you’d think it would be perfect for, the steelhead, it’s useless on because it doesn’t do enough damage in a short enough time to actually destroy the bag before he launches it. I hope whoever it was who added the pencil to salmon run got fired.

Also why in the world do you use ink to throw an egg? That makes no sense at all and it’s really frustrating considering the number of boss salmonoids that require bombs to kill. Maws for example can only be killed by a well timed well placed bomb right in his mouth right before he jumps out, but then you grab an egg and can’t even throw it because you don’t have enough ink. Plus why do bombs use up so much ink in the first place? You can’t even throw two of them without ducking down in squid form under friendly ink (or on dry land if you don’t mind it taking forever to replenish) first.

Sometimes the game throws way more bosses at you at the same time than you can possibly take down. There should never be more bosses in the level than players. Having more is just plain unfair. At high tide that number should be halved. And there should never be two of the same one in the level at a time. Also the supply of ink you have runs out way too fast and takes way too long to reload. When any of the boss salmonoids that spread a lot of bad ink around are spawned, running out of ink can be a death sentence because there’s nowhere to reload.

We’re squid and octopus people, so why in the world can’t we swim? Water shouldn’t be an instant death, especially in squid mode. That makes no sense at all. At least have a countdown timer or something. Even just 3 seconds would make a huge difference in removing a huge cause of needless frustration. Dying because you were in squid form on a grate walkway and fell through into the water is never fun.

On a multiplayer-related note, you can tell a lot about a player by what they choose as their name and the way that they write it. If they write it normally with proper capitalization they’re almost certainly going to be a lot better than the ones who write unpronounceable nonsense, can’t spell correctly, can’t correctly capitalize their name, or use weird characters.

Additionally, the tutorial doesn’t cover the king salmonoids so most players don’t seem to understand how to fight them. This is not fun. I’ve yet to beat one for that exact reason. It took me several attempts to figure out you’re supposed to use the gold eggs against them. The game giving you small eggs for shooting them despite it not doing meaningful damage doesn’t help. Then also throwing so many boss salmonoids at once is also bad because you get overwhelmed easily. Then also the round timer is way too short to really accomplish the goal. Then the game teases you about it by having an entire store that’s completely useless without beating one. And you don’t even get to fight them all time time so you don’t get a chance to really get the hang of it.

Why are the grillers the smartest enemy? They’re overpowered honestly. You practically have to sacrifice someone as bait to get a good shot on the tail. Also the steelheads are overpowered as well. It barely gives you enough time to get a good shot off before it throws the bag and with several of the weapons it randomly assigns to you, it’s impossible. It should really have a longer delay before it throws them. Even just a small amount would make a huge difference.

In any case, Splatoon 3 is a lot of fun but it can be rather frustrating depending on the kind of people you get matched with on your team. This is especially true in salmon run. The quality of player can easily make the difference between success or failure. No matter how good you are at the game, there are always scenarios where you have to rely on your team and if they don’t know what they are doing they can get you pay cut after pay cut after pay cut and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Still, I love the game and have been spending most of my free time playing it and enjoying the heck out of it, and I’ve got a lot of free time thanks to my current temporary semi-retirement, but that’s another topic entirely. It’s a great game and I hope Nintendo only continues to expand and update it far into the future so I can continue to enjoy it as long as reasonably possible.

Love is the law, love under will.

You lip-sinc, we drip ink.

Splatfully,
Vanessa

P.S. Shout out to Chong for being the best person I ever played with.

The More Things Change

Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law.

I went to the movies today to see The Strangers Chapter 1. While leaving the theater, I happened to notice a poster for the upcoming Borderlands movie. When I got home I looked up the trailer and I’ve got mixed feelings about it.

I recently got a Steam Deck and I’m still several days later blown away with what that little guy can do. I’ve had a Switch for a good while now but compared to the Deck, it’s starting to look a little dated.

In any case, prompted by the movie poster I decided to go back and play Borderlands 2 again. It’s sparked some thoughts.

The Vita version of Borderlands 2 had to be compressed down to work on the hardware and still occasionally dropped frames. Now I can run the full PC version on my Steam Deck on max settings. It’s amazing what they can do with electronics these days. I originally played it using a combination of the PS3 and Vita versions. At the time it had a feature where you could transfer your save back and forth so you could play it on the Vita when away from home and then on the big screen when you were in front of your TV. It was a nifty little feature and it frustrates me that they got rid of it. Now though, the Deck can do both jobs. Play it portable, then dock it and play it on your TV. I’ve got a Steam Controller that I use for it.

For those wondering, the VR version of Borderlands 2 isn’t great. The controls are nonsense (at least with the index controllers) and it drops multiplayer support in favor of having a time slowdown mechanic. Not a choice I would have made. Playing co-op was hair the fun of that series.

I really wish companies would go back and fix up the VR games they released by using what Half-Life Alyx had to teach on the subject. That’s how you do a story driven VR game the right way. Borderlands 2, Skyrim, and Serious Sam VR all really deserve an update to fix their wonky mechanics. Borderlands needs the controls fixed up. Skyrim needs the combat fixed up to be more like Blade and Sorcery, and Serious Sam needs cleaned up in a lot of ways.

Unfortunately we all know that it’s not gonna happen because there’s no profit motive to drive them to care. The pursuit of profit is why we can’t have nice things.

As for the deck, the one feature I wish it had would be to support creating an ad hoc network that you can then play local multiplayer games with. Other handhelds can do this so why not the Steam Deck? Just a thought.

Love is the law, love under will.

Having fun,
Vanessa