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Hands-On With The Splatoon Global Testfire Demo

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Having only had the Nintendo Wii U for maybe a month at this point in time, I still find myself not used to the flashing of the home button on the system’s controller. It usually wakes me up from my sleep and forces me to begrudgingly turn the system on just so I can turn it straight back off out of frustration. There has really only been two times wherein which the flashing has alerted me to something that I actually care about: The first is when Mewtwo was released as a playable character for the new Super Smash Bros., and the second time is when the Splatoon Global Testfire demo got released…that was today (the day of writing this article).

I first played Splatoon at Australia’s own EB Expo a year ago and I immediately fell in love. In fact, the main reason I bought myself a Wii U was to solely play Splatoon, but as usual that quickly changed when I remembered Virtual Console titles like Earthbound and Megaman Battle Network were available. Since then I’ve not gotten a chance to play this game again…until today. Nintendo released this demo and then made it so people can only play it during certain periods of the day. I was lucky enough to get on at a time when the servers were open and I managed to play about a dozen games before getting the boot. Long story short; they were the best dozen rounds I’ve played of any video game in quite some time.

Unlike the build I played at EB Expo, the demo allowed those who downloaded it to choose from four different weapons which essentially equate to three different class types depending on how seriously you take the game: You’ve got the Splattershot, the Splattershot Jr., The Splat Roller and the high-powered Splat Charger. The two Splattershot weapons are similar enough that you don’t really play any different when switching between the two. They’re the basic weapon of the Inklings and they fire the way they sound; sporadically. The Splat Roller is for those of you out there who like gaining ground and close-quarter combat. The Splat Roller lays thick paint as you walk and can also shoot medium-range projectiles. Possibly the hardest of the quartet to use is the Splat Charger that is, essentially, the Sniper of Splatoon; it’s long-range, slow to fire, and powerful enough to kill an enemy with a single round…definitely one for the experienced players.

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The game forces you, depending on which weapon you choose, to play differently than your teammates with the other weapons, and not in a bad way. By the time you’re first killed, you understand exactly what your chosen weapon can do, is made to do, and how you can wield it properly to do what it needs to do. The learning curve is steep enough to keep gamers interested but not too steep that it stops them from wanting to venture out and teach themselves how to use new weapons. I used all four of them and out of what we were given to use, I really enjoyed using the Splattershot Jr.; it was fast and quick to spread which means I could colour turf quicker and run rings around the enemy, attacking them from every side.

Speaking of turf; the game mode we played had two teams of four fighting for control of the battlefield. The rules were simple; cover the battlefield in your colour, destroy anyone that tries to stop you from doing so. It’s similar to your standard capture the flag match but on a scale I’ve never seen before. Without sounding to egotistical…I won most of the matches I played, but it was only by the end of my time with Splatoon that I truly got a feel for the gameplay system which, considering it was only about thirty minutes of game time, is actually very good in regards to finding your footing in a game of this type.

What I loved so much was the fact that I didn’t have to wait too long between rounds to be paired up with another seven people and thrown into a game. Splatoon allows you to kill time while a match is being set up by playing a mini-game on the Wii U system’s gamepad…but I barely got a chance to play it simply because of how fast it was getting me into a match. I hope that this wasn’t just some sort of demo fluke because this absolutely needs to be in the full release of the game. No longer will you be waiting to play an online game. It was on the verge of instantaneous!

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Splatoon also just looked and sounded absolutely amazing. You’ve all seen the screenshots, you’ve all seen the trailers, you’ve all seen the assets from this awesome game and you know that it is nothing short of video game mastery. The whole game has an urban, hip-hop feel to it that you just cannot shake even long after playing the game and it’s something so amazing. From the funky music to the visual attitude of the Inklings, it’s hard not to look at this game and think; “this is the pinnacle of modern gaming”. It had me humming some of the tunes even after I put the controller down and walked away. In fact, I’m still humming them now because, like any catchy tune, they burrowed into my brain and laid musical eggs that I don’t think any doctor in the world can remove.

Simply put; Splatoon rocked my world…once again! I remember writing a hands-on article for the game after I played it at EB Expo and the gist of what I said throughout the entire article has already been said in this paragraph…it rocked my damn world…again! I’m hoping what I’m about to say will explain everything I need to, and honestly I think it will because I’m speaking directly to a group of people exactly like myself: Playing the Splatoon Global Testfire demo today reassured me one hundred percent that purchasing an entire gaming console simply for one game was the absolutely best decision I could have possibly made. That’s how damn powerful this video game is. It’s amazing!

I just hope I get another chance to play the demo because the game doesn’t come out for another month or so and I don’t think I’ll be able to make it until then. Guess what, Nintendo? Buying Super Smash Bros.; you made that a necessity. Pre-ordering Xenoblade Chronicles X; I’m simply giving you the benefit of the doubt. Doing everything I can to get my hands on Splatoon…now that’s because you had it win my heart. Well done.

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