It has more than really good marine animal puns.
It’s currently Twinfinite’s Game of the Year week! All week long, our Editors and Writers will be nominating games from this year that stood out in 2015. Today, Staff Writer Andres Ruiz tells us why Splatoon is worthy of being Twinfinite’s 2015 Game of the Year.
It takes a lot of guts to attempt to reinvent a genre, but that didn’t deter Nintendo from creating Splatoon. New intellectual property from Nintendo is few and far between these days. Giving almost complete creative freedom to the younger development teams within the company, a project like Splatoon was both ambitious and risky. This, however, is what lends so much to the heart and soul pervading the title, and why it’s a worthy contender for Game of the Year.
Since entering the video game business, Nintendo has tried their hand at nearly every game genre out there. One genre they rarely ever dabbled in though, has been the competitive shooter. It would be unlike them to do anything like anyone else, so the functionality of the Wii U’s GamePad brought a new opportunity to capitalize on its unique functions. The biggest variance from the shooter genre was the use of the controller’s gyroscope for precision aiming, which has been toyed with in Resident Evil Revelations on the 3DS. It worked great then, and it works great now, but it certainly has a learning curve.
Learning curves play an integral role in Splatoon, as it never wishes to just ambush you with intensity, overwhelming the average player unfamiliar with the game. On top of its primary multiplayer component, the single player campaign is the stuff of champions. It effectively works as a glorified tutorial to prepare players for online matches. Each level tries something different, teaching you new techniques around every corner.
It is also well worth mentioning that Splatoon has one of the most well-crafted, creative, and heart-pounding final boss battles that has ever graced the gaming world. I wouldn’t dare reveal any details about it; it’s just something you have to experience for yourself. Don’t even YouTube it, trust me.
Core content aside, the suitable amount of customizability only enhances the experience that much more with tons of outfits and accessories for sale that change in availability every day, giving an incentive to return, but also giving the hub a more organic feel. With tons of different weapons to choose from, the possibilities are insurmountable as you gain buffs best suited to your style of play.
This is all without mentioning that there is an almost weekly release of downloadable content at absolutely no charge. No $50 Season Pass, or any other long term commitment. Since its release, Splatoon has received a handful of new game modes, maps, and attire, frequently keeping the game fresh and rewarding players.
Also, tactics in Splatoon do not take a hit from a lack of voice chat. In fact, Nintendo was able to masterfully dodge the potential toxicity of online communication, preserving their family friendly image without letting it impact gameplay. The game is simple enough where each teammate will silently establish offensive and defensive roles in a matter of seconds, at the start of each match.
A single strategy hardly ever works for the duration of an entire match, so the game also pushes you out beyond your own boundaries, testing different waters—or inks? Nevertheless, with a full view of the map on the GamePad and simple yet intense action abound, it’s easy to see what your next objective should be in the heat of battle.
At the end of the day, each win feels immensely satisfying thanks to these mechanics. What many thought would feel restrictive, actually seemed to broaden players’ horizons constantly, and that’s a pretty magical thing.
None of this is even yet taking the musicality and aesthetics of Splatoon into consideration. The soundtrack is as fabulous as it is bizarre, making excursions through the various maps and campaign levels a rhythmic treat. The bizarre blend of melodies inspired by hip-hop, rock, and a collection of indescribable sounds and racket, somehow creates a superb symphony of the surreal.
The game’s visuals complement the tunes excellently with vibrant and resplendent environments and animations. From your player Inkling, to the enemies, to the ink-coated carnage you will leave in your wake.
Inside and out, Splatoon made its debut and didn’t even make waves; but rather a tsunami of surprise as players got to try the game out for themselves, only to fall in love. From day one, Nintendo has offered a steady stream of content that has kept the game fresh and players finding more to love. In the shooter genre, when so much feels too alike, it’s beyond refreshing to find something that re-imagines the formula and continues fueling the imagination.
Splatoon was risky, but the product was well worth it, showing that even Nintendo’s next generation of game developers has what it takes to make something that exudes fun in every which way. In all, Splatoon is certainly strange, but it uses its eccentricity to its advantage to innovate and create something not only exciting, but also memorable, which is invaluable in the world of video games. Above all things, though, it’s a joy to play. If a Game of the Year is determined by the sum of its parts, Splatoon is beyond qualified.
Keep checking back all this week for more opinions from Twinfinite on which game should be Game of the Year! And finally, next week, we’ll announce our Game of the Year!