Splatoon 3 is a pretty great game. For those who were perfectly happy with 2, there’s a lot for them here as most of the returning stuff feels the same but fixed up.
For people looking for something new, there’s a surprisingly good story mode that gets weirdly dark at certain places, as well as new things like a card game/Tetris hybrid. There’s so much. But there’s one thing I’ve wanted since Splatoon 1 that they finally, FINALLY put into the game seven years later.
See, one of the mainstays of Splatoon is the changing of the maps. There are only two or three maps available in multiplayer at a time and every so often those maps change. When this happens it cuts away to a show in which the game’s host du-jours introduce each stage and give light commentary. Whether it’s the Squid Sisters in the first game, Off the Hook in the second, or the third game’s delightfully exceptional Deep Cut.
While having face time with these characters is fun, it gets old quickly — especially when you know what they’re going to say. It’s like a forced cutscene at random times. Even if you’re not playing the multiplayer mode and just trying to do stuff in the hub world like shopping or unlocking stuff via Amiibos, you’re still vulnerable to having everything stop while you watch the map update.
But Splatoon 3 quietly introduces you to the best thing ever. While Deep Cut is talking about the current maps, you might notice an indicator to press the Left Joystick down. DO IT.
In doing so, you turn the show into a podcast that your character can “listen to” while doing other things. Go about your business as the text of the show scrolls across the top of the screen. And when they announce the stages themselves, a small thumbnail appears in the corner in case you can’t remember which name goes with which stage. It’s all the information you might want mixed with actually allowing you to play the game, as opposed to being stopped randomly for the length of a short music video.
I cannot tell you how excited I was when I saw this. I think I reacted harder to this than to any reveal in the story mode. If the trailers would have only said, “you can now skip the map update videos” that would have sold me, instead, they snuck the feature in without saying a damn thing. Which ever resident cool guy at Nintendo quietly added this, put on their shades, and left the building in a dramatic anime fashion, thank you. Thank you so much.
Now I can skip as much as I want! Just…hopefully Frye doesn’t find out.