If you’ve been playing video games for any length of time, then you’ll know Nintendo has brought us some of the best experiences out there, like Mario, Zelda, Metroid Prime, and more. But, Splatoon 3 adds a lot of new features to the squid game and is a landmark moment, proving why it’s Nintendo’s best series ever.
Splatoon started out on the Wii U, which was a console that only approximately 12 million people actually bought in the end. The fact that so few people got to experience the console is a shame because it was actually a good console that was killed by poor marketing. Regardless, the console spawned Splatoon, but due to its low sales numbers, not a lot of players got hands-on with the game.
Then, in 2017, Splatoon 2 dropped on the Nintendo Switch and we saw more people pick the game up in the middle of the series. It improved on the original game in a number of ways, particularly by adding new weapons like the Dualies, which spray ink like Uzis and allow your Inkling to roll around mid firefight.
But something that people always overlooked was the fact that Splatoon is more than the sum of its multiplayer parts. Each Splatoon game has a fun campaign that follows an storyline started in the original. When we do get around to talking multiplayer, there are a plethora of variations to keep you occupied, from Turf War to Splatfest.
And a big part of Splatoon’s multiplayer offering is its ranked mode, which allows you to pit yourself against other squids around the world and gain and lose rank. This is unusual behavior for Nintendo and one of the reasons Splatoon is the best Nintendo series ever.
It’s not just the gameplay that makes Splatoon so good, however; it’s the characters and world that the Japanese giant has carefully crafted. It began with Inkopolis and its idols Callie and Marie from the original game. Walking around the city streets and viewing everyone else’s drawings made you feel connected to the world. As did checking in with Callie and Marie every day and finding out what maps were in rotation.
When you actually get in game you realize how Nintendo took the traditional shooting game and not only made it family friendly, but added smart design decisions. For example, in a normal shooter the fastest reflexes win; in Splatoon, it’s also about painting the map your team’s colour. Have skill? Get splatting those opponents. Want a more relaxed experience? Grab a Roller and get going. The genius is in the way that it’s the team who covers the majority of the map who wins, not splats.
Then, you have the fresh gear that can be accrued at shops around the place, more weapons than a Call of Duty game, and some of the kookiest characters any game has ever had. It makes the gameplay about so much more than yelling profanities and sitting in the corner with a shotgun with flame rounds (looking at your Call of Duty Vanguard).
Now, with Splatoon 3’s expansion of everything that came before, it is this writer’s opinion that Splatoon can categorically be considered the best series Nintendo has ever created. Recon Mode allows you to hop into a map and try moves and plan your tactics, more customization options mean more ways to bring your style to the squid games, and the continuation of the series’ story in Return of the Mammalians shows Nintendo’s commitment to damn good storytelling.
Splatoon 3 might appear like a game for kids, with its vivid colors and child-like Inklings, but beyond the facade is an experience so well-thought-out, deep, and original that it is Nintendo’s magnum opus, and I won’t accept any evidence to the contrary. Booyah.