Splatoon 2

An improvement in nearly every way on one of Nintendo's finest games in years, Splatoon 2 is only let down by a lack of big new ideas.

Key events

18th July 2017

Splatoon 2 review

Splatoon 2 might have just received its very last content update after nearly 18 months of post-launch support, but Nintendo's still not done with its multiplayer shooter. The company has announced that Splatoon 2 will be getting a special winter-themed Splatfest on January 4th.

Nintendo dates and details Splatoon 2's final content update

Nintendo has revealed that Splatoon 2's final planned content update (also known as Version 4.3.0) will launch on Wednesday, December 5th, bringing an end to almost 18 months of free post-launch content support.

Despite being a notable milestone in Splatoon 2's development, Version 4.3.0 isn't, admittedly, the most thrilling of updates; as outlined in the announcement video below, it's predominantly focussed on gear abilities, although new weapons are thrown in too.

On the gear abilities front, 4.3.0 introduces Bomb Defence Up DX - a combination of, and a replacement for, the current Bomb Defence Up and Cold-Blooded abilities. Clothing that previously came with either of those two skills will now feature the Bomb Defence Up DX variant instead, meaning that bearers will enjoy both reduced damage from sub-weapons and shortened durations for any position-tracking effects.

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Nintendo unveils Splatoon 2's final new stage, coming in October

Nintendo unveils Splatoon 2's final new stage, coming in October

UPDATE: New map, music, weapons out next week.

UPDATE 28/9/18: Nintendo has confirmed that Splatoon 2's next big update, better known as version 4.1.0 to its friends, will arrive next week - bringing with it the recently unveiled new Skipper Pavilion stage, the Booyah Bomb special weapon, and more.

Elsewhere, Nintendo's 4.1.0 update introduces a number of additional sub and special weapons, all part of Splatoon 2's new Kensa Collection series, plus two new music tracks - Chopscrewey and Entropical - from newcomer band SashiMori. All this will be free to Splatoon 2 owners, and arrives on October 2nd in North America and a day later in Europe and Japan.

ORIGINAL STORY 27/9/18: Earlier this year, Nintendo announced that it would continue supporting its Splatoon 2 with new content until the end of 2018. With that deadline closing in, the company has now revealed the final new map to be added to superlative online shooter before support formally ends.

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Nintendo puts a firmer date on its paid online service, but still remains coy on details

Nintendo is still being infuriatingly coy about its paid online service with just over a month to go until its release - though it's just reaffirmed what few details are out there while sharing the tiniest bit more.

A new detail has just emerged via the company's official Twitter accounts - first from the US, and then replicated by the European account this morning - with the service now confirmed to launch in the last half of September.

There's the ability to upload save data to the cloud - if the software supports the feature - the ability to play some NES games with added online features - what those games will be are anyone's guess, though given Nintendo's apparent eagerness to disappoint I'm fully expecting a re-release of Urban Champion with online co-op - and the dedicated app for your phone, which is already out there and in its current form remains woefully inadequate.

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Splatoon 2's Octoling expansion releases this week, Octoling amiibo incoming

Never one to miss the opportunity for a surprise announcement, Nintendo has revealed that its promising Octoling-themed expansion for Splatoon 2 will be launching on Switch before the end of the week.

The Octo Expansion, as it's matter-of-factly known, brings a heap of new additions to Splatoon 2, including a sizeable new story campaign, and the long-awaited arrival of playable Octolings. You can get a taste of what's in store via the announcement trailer:

Nintendo notes that launch times for the expansion will vary depending on your timezone. Those in the US, for instance, will get it tomorrow evening, Wednesday June 13th, and it arrives in the UK on Thursday morning, June 14th.

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Splatoon 2's Octo Expansion promises to completely redefine what this brilliant game can do

There is an easy kind of brilliance to Nintendo at its best - although I'm sure there is nothing easy at all about creating this sort of impression in the first place. Anyway, it's down to a sort of pulling together of all parts of a game's design, reeling things in until what you have in your hands in rich and coherent and easy to understand. Last week Nintendo was showing off its forthcoming single-player stuff for Splatoon 2, and the sense throughout was of that richness, that coherence, and weirdly enough, the welcome surprises it can allow for.

Coherence! You already see this sort of thing in Splatoon in the way that ink becomes territory and territory becomes safety, a speed boost, and the ability to refill ammo. Splatoon's latest offering is a suite of single-player levels called the Octo Expansion. It's based around the conceit of a trip on the underground, as far as I can tell, each new mission starting with you standing before turnstile gates and paying to pass through into...what next?

Oh man, great stuff awaits, all of it familiar, all of it surprising. Take the Baller, a stand-out power-up from the multiplayer, in which you get to spend a few glorious seconds rolling around inside a massive hamster ball before triggering it to explode in a shower of ink. The genius of the Baller in the middle of a match is not just that it's handy but it's so desirable: you want it so much, and when you get it, it's yours for a matter of seconds and then it's gone.

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Camp Triggerfish returns tomorrow in Splatoon 2's massive new 3.0 update

Nintendo has announced that Splatoon 2's major new 3.0 update will launch tomorrow in the UK, bringing with it more fashion options, a new map, additional songs, plus a huge variety of tweaks, changes, and bug fixes.

In terms of specifics, much of 3.0 will remain a mystery until the update launches tomorrow. However, Nintendo's anticipatory patch notes promise over 100 pieces of new and returning gear for purchase in Inkopolis Square, two new songs for some extra aural variety during multiplayer games, the new X Rank for Ranked matches, and the appearance of a familiar face in solo mode's Tentakeel Outpost if certain conditions are met.

Additionally, Splatoon 2's 3.0 update will introduce four new weapon load-outs for the Foil Squeezer, New Squiffer, Glooga Dualies Deco, and the Neo Splash-o-Matic, and marks the return of the original Splatoon's excellent Camp Triggerfish map.

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Playable Octolings are coming to Splatoon 2 in first paid expansion

Playable Octolings are coming to Splatoon 2 in first paid expansion

And plenty more for free in version 3.0, coming this April.

Splatoon 2 is getting its first paid DLC with the Octo Expansion, coming later this year.

It'll introduce a new playable character, Agent 8, who stars in their own single-player campaign, and it'll mark the introduction of playable Octolings.

That's not to say free support is ending for Splatoon 2, with version 3.0 due to land late in April, bringing with it 100 new pieces of gear and three maps in the shape of returning classic Camp Triggerfish as well as Piranha Pit and Wahoo World. On top of that, a new rank will be added to ranked play, with X rank now serving as the ceiling for skilled players.

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FeatureNintendo on giving Splatoon 2 another fresh lick of paint

Hisashi Nogami on updates, the plaza and what exactly those jellyfish are doing.

It's been five months since Splatoon 2 launched on the Switch but, as is increasingly the case in Nintendo's approach to its online-focussed games, work hasn't slowed in the slightest. Last week saw the launch of Clam Blitz, an all-new and extremely frenetic ranked mode which brings a football flavour to the colourful chaos of Splatoon. It's extremely strategic, and quite brilliant. We got offered the chance to fire some questions to Hisashi Nogami, Splatoon's producer, to talk about updates, music and much more.

Splatoon 2 is getting a champagne gun tomorrow!

'Mwaaaaa-aaarrrrrhhh, the French champagne...'

Big news everyone! Splatoon 2 is getting a champagne gun tomorrow. It's called the Squeezer, and it looks like it works a bit like, well, champagne. Here's the tweet from the Japanese Splatoon 2 account:

If you had asked me at the start of this year what I thought a year spent playing multiplayer games would look like, I probably would have talked about muting people and about the frustration of being shot from halfway across the map by someone I couldn't even see. Crucially, I wouldn't have thought of Hearthstone or Diablo or any of the other multiplayer games I have always loved, because multiplayer - online multiplayer - for me still meant the unexamined cliches I had carried with me for years. Multiplayer was something I did not do, so the multiplayer games I already played all the time must be something subtly different.

It is so rare in games to go to war for something you believe in. And yet going to war is such a big part of the deal with games. You go to war against demonic entities in Doom. You go to war against space fundamentalists in Halo. Games are filled with rogue states and splinter groups, with orcs and Chaos creatures: all kinds of things that need a generalised shoeing. But these things are so numbingly removed from real life, so good-versus-evil that it's hard to feel like you have much skin in the game.

One of the original Splatoon's best maps is coming to the sequel this Saturday

Kelp Dome, one of the finest maps in the original Splatoon, is coming to the sequel this coming Saturday - and it's being joined by a couple of new surprises, too.

Kelp Dome is being joined by an all-new map, Snapper Canal, as well as a new weapon dubbed the Tenta Brella. It works along similar lines to the recently introduced Splat Brella, but offers much more defensive coverage when fully unfurled.

These new updates are part of a rolling service of free new maps and weapons for Nintendo's competitive shooter, which - in case you didn't know - is kind of a good time.

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I read a wonderful thing once about ants, and it made me love them more than I did already - and I already really loved ants. This thing I read - I cannot remember the source or the specifics - talked about how ants construct their nests, how they achieve a level of intelligence together that no single ant actually possesses. The thrust of this, as I remember it, is that ants are very good at counting. As they wander off in the morning to do something useful, they count the number of ants they see doing the various things they are doing, and through this counting, the ant who is looking for something useful to be a part of builds up a sense of where they are most needed.

Splatoon 2 sales overtake Crash Bandicoot in the US

Splatoon 2 sales overtake Crash Bandicoot in the US

Tekken 7 drops from top slot to 20th in one month.

Splatoon 2 may have come in second in the UK sales charts behind Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, but in the US that order was flipped for the month of July.

These figures come according to analyst group NPD, and it's worth noting that these are calculated based on dollars sales. So bear in mind that Splatoon 2 is a more expensive game that Crash Bandicoot, costing $60 rather than $40.

While exact sales figures aren't known, we do know that NPD was only calculating physical sales for the top-ranking Switch releases, while other platforms were factoring in digital sales (with the exception of Overwatch's Battle.net sales not being included).

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Splatoon 2 has more than its share of issues. Its lobby system is a mess, its map rotation system can frustrate and if you want to play alongside friends there's a ludicrous number of hurdles you have to jump over, and you'll probably end up stumbling over half of them anyway. It's far from perfect, then, but at moments like this weekend's inaugural Splatfest, you'd do well to convince me this isn't as good as gaming gets in 2017.

Splatoon 2 gets its first patch, fixes ticket exploit

Nintendo has just released the first major patch for Splatoon 2, and it fixes a recently revealed exploit that allowed players to farm EXP boosting tickets.

That's not the only change, mind, with version 1.1.2 also coming with a couple of bug fixes as well as some buffs and debuffs for weapons. More specifically, the number of points needed to max out the specials gauge has been changed for a handful of weapons, and Nintendo was even kind enough to provide a table going into what values have been altered. And hey, here it is!

WeaponBefore ⇒ After

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Splatoon 2 review

A couple of years back, there was a struggle to place a label on the original Splatoon. Was Nintendo's colourful Wii U exclusive a shooter or wasn't it? I came away perfectly content with the answer that it was simply a Nintendo game, in the very best definition of the term - something new and exciting and unlike anything else you've played before.

Splatoon 2

Publisher: Nintendo

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Digital FoundryHow Splatoon 2's Switch tech improves over Wii U

It's about more than just the resolution.

We're no strangers to Splatoon 2, of course. It was one of the very first Switch titles we played at Nintendo's launch event - and the chances are that if you own the hardware, you would have participated in one of its 'test fire' pre-launch beta tests. We've had the opportunity to play the final version of the game and can now address some of the burning questions fans are posing. Specifically, to what extent is the engine technology an upgrade over the debut Wii U title - and what resolution does the game deliver in its final form?

It is, if you want to look at it one way, simply more of the same. Splatoon 2's single-player doesn't offer up any big twists or surprises on the original's formula (okay, there is one delicious plot twist that I'll let you discover on your own), but that's not to say it doesn't have the ability to delight you over the course of its adventure.

Nintendo's Online app for Switch is launching on July 21st

Nintendo's Online app for Switch is launching on July 21st

And here's your first (brief) look at it.

Nintendo's Online app for its Switch console - the only way to participate in voice chat in online matches - is launching on July 21st alongside Splatoon 2.

It'll be our first real taste of Nintendo's online service, which is undergoing a free trial this year before it becomes a paid service in 2018.

Today's Splatoon 2 Direct showed a lobby system that will be familiar to players of Arms, with avatars visualised on screen as they dance around a virtual room.

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Splatoon 2 neon green and pink Joy-Con release date moved forward

Back in May, Nintendo UK listed the neon pink and green Joy-Con, themed especially for Splatoon 2, for launch in autumn.

Splatoon 2 launches in the UK on 21st July - so it would have been a long wait for the game's tie-in controllers.

Now, Nintendo UK has updated its release schedule: the special Splatoon 2 Joy-Con arrive on 28th July, the week after the game they're supporting.

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Splatoon 2 Switch bundle sells out in Japan, but you can still buy the cardboard box

In Japan, Nintendo's Splatoon 2 Switch console bundle has already sold out - but you can still buy the pack's cardboard box.

Nintendo will sell you the cardboard box for the bundle, flatpacked, with nothing else, for 540 yen (that's about 3.75).

Splatoon 2 will launch in Japan on 21st July, and the Switch bundle included the console, game, plus green and pink Joy-Con controllers. Oh, and the box it comes in.

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Nintendo finally unveils the last Smash Bros. amiibo

Nintendo finally unveils the last Smash Bros. amiibo

Plus three new Link figurines, and three more Splatoon figures.

The last few Super Smash Bros. amiibo have been given a release date - nearly three years after the game launched for Wii U and 3DS.

Final Fantasy's Cloud, Bayonetta and Fire Emblem's Corrin were all shown off in last night's Nintendo Direct broadcast. Each of the three will come in two variants, and all six will launch here in the UK on 21st July.

These figures were confirmed a long while ago - and there's been no reason given for the long wait. Some had suspected Nintendo was waiting on the launch of a potential Super Smash Bros. port for Nintendo Switch.

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Splatoon 2 release date slated for July

Splatoon 2 release date slated for July

New four-player PvE mode Salmon Run revealed.

Splatoon 2 is coming to Switch on 21st July, Nintendo revealed tonight on a Nintendo Direct stream.

While the squid-based sequel doesn't look a whole lot different from its predecessor, it does have at least one major new game mode called Salmon Run.

This four-player co-op mode tasks a team of squid children to collect "Power Eggs" on a man-made island, then bank them in a basket. The problem is the eggs' parents, the Salmonid, aren't too happy with these rapscallions making off with their young. As such, they'll be on the offensive as you try to snatch their eggs.

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Nintendo Direct announced for this week

Nintendo Direct announced for this week

Focused on Arms and Splatoon 2.

Set your alarms, pop on your Pikmin onesie and gather round your electronic devices! A new Nintendo Direct will be broadcast on Wednesday, 12th April at 11pm UK time.

Fresh details on Splatoon 2and Arms have been promised - two of Nintendo Switch's biggest upcoming exclusives.

We don't yet know the release date of either game, although both are expected in the first half of this year. It's a safe bet we'll find out when each of them will launch.

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We still don't have a final date for Splatoon 2 beyond a vague summer window, but we do at least have a better idea of what to expect from Nintendo's sequel to 2015's beautifully fresh online shooter. The past weekend's global testfire was, in what seems typical of Nintendo's approach to online, an eccentric and not exactly straightforward affair, with six hour-long slots spread across three days (and, if you were playing in the UK or Europe, often at ungodly times too). Still, two maps and four load-outs gave us plenty to chew over.

Splatoon 2 doesn't feel like a proper sequel just yet

It's a simple fact that not enough people played Splatoon. Blame it on the Wii U's poor uptake, the game's toy town veneer putting people off or it just being a bit too slight at launch; Splatoon was a stand-out classic, but there aren't anywhere near enough people intimate with its charms.

Perhaps Splatoon 2 will change that - should the Switch prove more successful than the Wii U, which is a fairly low bar to leap - and right now it feels like a reintroduction rather than a retooling of the original. That's fine, and it's always nice to have an excuse to return to Nintendo's mercurially messy multiplayer game.

Right now, all that's being shown off is Turf War, the staple mode from the original Splatoon where players win territory by splashing it with colourful ink. There are a few additions, mind, most noteworthy of which is the Splat Dualies, a new weapon that requires a subtly different skill set to the existing arsenal.

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