On Friday night I had two options for plans, head to Sandton City for a night out, or sit in my chair with my feet up and play the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire on the Nintendo Switch. Well the latter was out of the question as gaming always comes first, and we all live by this code. Nintendo's Splatoon series has been more popular than ever now, with the sequel to the the 2015 ink-splatting hit in development for the Nintendo Switch. This weekend marks the Global Testfire where players will get to play the game in hour bursts across the a few days.
The question everyone is asking me, is how much fun is it on the Switch, and how did it work locally, seen as the original had a few issues with matchmaking? Well after a full hour of playing, and immediately going into a match without any issues, I was quite impressed by the entire experience.
The local experience
- Tested on: 30mbps download | 25mbps upload internet connection
Although the testfire was meant to go live at 9PM, I went into the game around 8:50 due to excitement, and tried to get in early. Around 8:55, the game unlocked and I was able to play the tutorial which was a very-quick little how-to for your weapons and character control. After which I then entered the multiplayer lobby where I chose my loadout, which in this case was one of four different weapons, and that choice determined my special ability, and grenade. Upon entering matchmaking I sat for around 4 minutes before I loaded into a lobby, which slowly filled up with players.
I was impressed by the seamless matchmaking, which just added people to the lobby, and when it was full we went into a match. The best thing about it too is that I was matchmaking with local gamers playing the testfire. It was clear that some of the media were in my lobby at times, as I recognized their usernames from Twitter. It was a relief to know that the local community would get to play together, without any matchmaking issues.
It was not all a smooth ride however, as often the lobby would be closed due to the 120 second timeout to find players, in which I had to then search again. This happened quite frequently, but it is understandable seen a it is a testfire, and perhaps our local matchmaking was a bit un-populated last night. Regardless, I was able to get into matches without a hiccup after that.
Connection wise, it was a blessing in disguise really. The original Splatoon was a slow-loading game, that took forever to get into a match, and seen a the matches only last a few minutes, the loading time was a bummer. Splatoon 2 is the complete opposite though, with extremely quick loading times which compliment the game's fast-paced action. Without any lag, I was able to play around 10 matched in 40 minutes, this is also considering we waited in a lobby for a few minutes here and there.
It was insane how quick and easy it all was, and how every match was seamlessly started. I often check my phone or sit on Facebook during loading times in games, as these can be very long, but Splatoon 2 did not give me a chance to think. All this goes hand in hand with the awesome netcode that lets the game load so fast too.
In matches, lag was non-existent. No rubber banding, no “I killed you firsts”, nothing. The experience was just flawless from start to finish, and provided a solid hour of intense, yet fun ink combat.
The only issue I had, which was a game breaker for me, is that often we would enter a match and someone would leave, or get kicked for inactivity. The game then does not matchmake a new player into the lobby, so you are a man down the whole match, and one person less means a lot less ground covered. I hope Nintendo fixes this and lets people enter a match that is ongoing. The matchmaking is fast enough to handle this, so I don't see why they would leave it out.
Same awesome recipe
In many ways Splatoon 2 is like its predecessor, and there often times where I felt like I was playing the original game. The testfire spanned across two map. One being a park, and the other a gym. If you ave never played Splatoon before, it is all about covering the most ground in your coloured ink. Each time gets assigned a color, and you have to use all the weapons and grenades in your disposal to paint the map in your shade. The opposing team can then also paint over your ink, which makes it this constant rush for coverage.
I loved the roller in the original, and in the testfire it was there, luckily. The roller sees you painting the ground in front of you as you walk across the map, and if you roll into enemies, you then kill them. Your ink is acid to the other team, and vice-versa, so while you are going about your mission to make a mess, you will also have to use these weapons and grenades to fend for yourself.
The roller set came with a cool special ability that let me jump in the air and slam down, throwing ink in all directions, and killing anything in my path, while the twin shooter, which was like two SMGs, and had a jetpack special ability that let me soar into the air and toss huge balls of ink at the ground below me. I am sure when the game releases, it will let you merge different weapons with different grenade and special abilities, but the testfire was limited to these combinations.
Diving into the ink to hide away, and then popping up and rolling over the entire team was so exhilarating, or just flying into the air and watching everyone run away from you as you tossed balls of ink at them. It was just pure fun, and even when I got killed, it was never a rage moment, as the game is casual, but at the same time you are determined to get that ground covered.
Splatoon 2 is coming out only on the Nintendo Switch this year, and I cannot wait to play the full game when it does. Did you play the testfire, or looking forward to the final release? Let me know in the comments below.