Video Game Review: “Splatoon 3”


Credit: Elizabeth Zhong

Join WSPN’s Kris Poole-Evans as he reviews the best video games to play.

Kris Poole-Evans

Warning: Contains spoilers for “Splatoon 3”

In terms of video game releases, it’s looking like it will be a good couple of months. The new “Pokémon” game, “Sonic Frontiers,” “Slime Rancher 2” and, finally, “Splatoon 3” are on this list of new video games to try. Most recently, “Splatoon 3” was released on Sept. 9, 2022, and sold 3.45 million copies in the first few days. Splatoon is one of those games almost everyone knows of, and I’d say it’s safe to consider the franchise a household name. The game is currently one of the best-selling video games and is also breaking records in Japan. Like the two previous Splatoon games, “Splatoon 3” is a third-person shooter game. While most people play it online, there is a storyline you can play through on your own time.

The storyline begins with Cuttlefish, a returning character from the other games, enlisting the player to help return The Great Zapfish — yes, it’s been stolen again — to Splatsville. The Great Zapfish is the source of power in all the Splatoon games, and the storylines continue to start with it going missing. In previous versions of the game, DJ Octarian and the Octarians, a species of Octopi set on terrorizing the Inklings, a species of squid, are usually the ones who take The Great Zapfish.

However, it seems DJ Octarian is not the villain this time around as he’s just as confused as our main cast to find out The Great Zapfish is gone. Cuttlefish designates you, the player, as “Agent three” and sets you off on a mystery mission. When Cuttlefish falls down a hole, it’s revealed that there is a secret area underneath the city. With both Cuttlefish and The Great Zapfish missing, your mission then morphs into a multi-rescue mission. Of course, in typical Splatoon fashion, you’re up for the challenge. Later on, you meet the Captain and Agents one and two, who are revealed as the famous idol duo: Squid Sisters, a.k.a Callie and Marie.

I had been anticipating this game for weeks, so I finished all 11 hours of the story on release. Since I had been out of practice with the Splatoon interface for a few years because the last time I played the series was in 2019, it took me longer than usual to get through each level. That being said, “Splatoon 3” is a surprisingly difficult game. I replayed a few levels after completing the story and found that I was still struggling with some of them. I really enjoyed the challenging aspect of it, but the last boss battle before the final act almost brought me to tears. It’s always a humbling experience to get slapped in the face by a game marketed for kids.

I also think that “Splatoon 3’s” social media” platform is a hilarious addition to the game. Players can make a drawing on their switch and have it displayed above their avatar’s head for others to see in Splatsville. However, you can only have one active post at a time and must delete your previous post in order to make a new one. I think it’s genius when games have features like this because it’s not only a good advertisement, but it’s nice to be able to see the interests of the people I’m playing with. It’s also cool to see the artistic talents of the people I’m playing with. While most people resort to a simple sketch with little to no detail, some players create shockingly good artwork.

Another aspect I noticed in the game was the music. The music team really put their whole heart into this game, especially the turf war music. Winning is fun and all, but it’s hard to be upset about losing when the song sounds that good. The music also gets you going and helps you complete the, sometimes tedious, levels. I didn’t find the levels during the story to be tiresome per say, but playing every single level back to back for hours would have been rough were it not for the music.

Overall, the only issue I have with the game is the online play mode. It’s pretty buggy and disconnects far too often. As of right now, Nintendo has made no move to fix it or even to address it. Since a large part of “Splatoon 3” is the online aspect, it’s aggravating that it only works 40% of the time. We know for a fact that Nintendo has the time and resources to fix it, so what’s the holdup? Of course, when the game does work, it’s endless fun.

Overall, I give “Splatoon 3” a solid 9/10, only taking off a point because of the online issues. The graphics in “Splatoon 3” are super nice and visually pleasing. They make playtime so much better. This game excels in almost every category, and I honestly think “Splatoon 3” has the potential to be an award winner.