Splatoon 3 Review-In-Progress
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Splatoon 3 Review-In-Progress

A kid-friendly competitive multiplayer shooter was a strange concept when Nintendo introduced the very first Splatoon. The unique zone-control mechanics made combat important but somewhat incidental to the chief goal of covering everything in sticky goop. Painting the battlefield gave an immediate and intuitive visual sense of who's winning and losing without the need for a clunky scoreboard. That elegant design was the kind of delightful surprise that Nintendo has become known for. After two games and a major expansion, Splatoon 3 serves as a refinement and compilation of everything that came before it. It's less novel this time around, but it's still a delight and all comes together as the most robust Splatoon game yet.

Splatoon 3 assumes that you don't know all of this, of course, starting you off with a short tutorial that teaches you the basics of splatting before dumping you into the main hub area, a new city called Splatsville, in the heart of the desert Splatlands. From there you're encouraged to explore to learn more about all of the gameplay options and sites to visit, which is a little overwhelming at first. The city isn't terribly large--it is mostly a hub area for other game modes--but it feels dense with activity and nooks to explore. You can jump into the single-player campaign, co-op Salmon Run, or competitive multiplayer as you please.

The single-player serves as the best starting point for new players, since it gives you more opportunity to hone your splatting skills than the brief pre-Splatsville introduction. It's much more than a glorified tutorial, though; the campaign is lengthy and makes excellent use of mechanics to iterate and present new types of challenges.

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