With the release of Splatoon 3, the five-year tenure of Splatoon 2 has come to a close although it had a fantastic run all things considered. This was Nintendo breaking new ground after the original Splatoon failed to make as great of a wave due to the Wii U being a failing system. Similar to how Mario Kart 8 Deluxe breathed new life into the game following its release on the Nintendo Switch, Splatoon 2 was the same as the original game. It became a staple in Nintendo's catalog, combining urban culture with simple and fun gameplay and colorful (no pun intended) characters.
The concept of a sequel wasn't the matter of if it was going to be in development, but rather, when. Earlier this year, Splatoon 3 was officially announced which begged the question for several players who spent half of a decade on Splatoon 2. What would happen to five years worth of progress? There's very little that the series could do to make it different from its older sibling's counterpart with the exception of new weapons and game modes of course. A new triple-team battle and a 24/7 Salmon Run mode were great additions, sure, but would the transition from Splatoon 2 to Splatoon 3 be difficult?
That depends on the circumstances given to the player. As someone who has played quite a bit of Splatoon 2 on and off since 2018, I had a digital copy on my personal Switch with save data already in the console itself. Splatoon 3 gives players the option to transfer their data from Splatoon 2 to the new game with bonuses granted to the player for doing so. Anarchy Battles, which are usually unlocked at level 10, are automatically unlocked for Splatoon 2 players, acting like the game's Ranked Battle mode. They are also given 3 golden tickets to be redeemed for any weapon at the Armor Shack.
The problem is that for most save data, if you have a Nintendo Switch Online Membership, you can back up your save data on the cloud, making the process of downloading and uploading save data a simple procedure. Unfortunately, the Splatoon series is one of those games where you cannot upload your save data to the cloud. I suppose this was done as a preliminary precaution to discourage people from cheating their rank online. There is a trick players can use if they are stuck in a similar unique situation as I was.
Remember, I have save data from Splatoon 2 on my personal Switch. I wanted to obtain the bonuses from Splatoon 3 but it's on the work Switch. Before one reading this asks "Well why don't you record gameplay footage from your Switch?" I will answer that I am using a Switch Lite which cannot go into docked mode. Fortunately, you can transfer save data from a source Switch to a target Switch by going to the system menus and doing so. The only thing is that both Switches must be close to each other and connected to the internet.
Regardless, I was able to do so and obtain my benefits with ease. It's important to do this step before starting a new game in Splatoon 3 or else you won't be given a chance to do so afterward. In order to gain access to the gold tickets and Anarchy Battles, the player must play at least one regular Turf War match first. The Splatoon series' core gameplay lies in Turf War, where the objective of the game is to cover most of the map with your team's ink. You can attack and even splat the enemy team but the winner is dependent on who is able to cover the most turf first.
The series has been around for seven years and one would think that completing the objective wins games over simply getting the most kills. But here we are in Splatoon 3 and there are players who still don't quite get the memo. Their mistake, my win condition as I say. It's also baffling how much the enemy runs headfirst into enemy fire or isn't aware of their surroundings, but, again, their mistake my win condition. I was able to help my team win my first game in a commanding fashion and it was enough to get me my three tickets. Unfortunately, I couldn't celebrate by changing my Octoling's drip as I wasn't level 4 yet.
That's right, you can create an Inkling and an Octoling from the beginning as the latter needed the Octo DLC from Splatoon 2 to do so originally. Most of the clothing in Splatoon 3 is now gender neutral, meaning everyone can wear every clothing and almost every hairstyle by default as well. It's a minor addition to customization, but it shows proof that Nintendo is giving players the chance to express themselves freely.
As with the other Splatoon games, the meat is the story mood which isn't as different as the previous games. Again, your main enemies are the octos and, again, there's a terror that has been kidnapped. This time, you aren't alone as you have a pet critter named Smallfry that acts as the game's "grenade." This little guy can latch onto far away objects, access switches from a distance, and bite at their enemies with reckless abandon. They are also used to clear roadblocks that may bar your path. It's a minor addition but a welcome one as who doesn't want a cute companion by their side?
Ultimately, Splatoon 3 takes almost everything from Splatoon 2 and builds upon it, improving it in every way. I say "almost everything" because I'm incredibly biased and I miss Off The Hook. Marina and Pearl are leagues above Shiver and Frye but over time I can find myself getting used to Deep Cut. Personal biases aside, Splatoon 3 seems to be the perfect follow-up to a game that took Nintendo's fanbase by storm. Here's to intentionally another five years of Splatoon.
Splatoon 3 is now available on the Nintendo Switch