The Splatoon series might’ve been one of, if not the only competitive game I actively enjoyed, with its inception on the Wii U and the later sequel on the Nintendo Switch. So, of course, I was excited to see that it was getting yet another title. And as per the tradition, we got the Splatoon 3 Splatfest World Premiere demo, which is a free demo that was available through August 27 and aimed to have players, both new and old, come together and test out the new weapons and features of the new title has to offer before its release on September 9.
The demo version only allowed you to tackle two modes: Turf Wars and Tricolor Turf Wars, and even then, that was for a twelve-hour period, as the Lobby was restricted until the Splatfest began. So let’s start with the former because it doesn’t require much explanation. All you have to do is make sure that the map is inked with your color.
Pretty simple in practice, but in reality, it can get pretty chaotic, especially at the center of the stage. But even with all the bombs and Ultra Stamps, I didn’t notice a single slowdown, even in docked mode. It’s honestly nothing short of amazing how the Splatoon developers consistently deliver such a beautiful-looking game while also not skimping out on the optimizations.
Now, for the main star of the show, which is the Tricolor Turf Wars. Though it has the same objective, which is to claim the most turf with your ink, the placement of the characters is completely different. The currently leading Splatfest team will be facing two players of each of the runner-up teams, essentially turning this 4 versus 4 into a 4-2-2 type battle.
At the center of the stage, there’s also an item called the Ultra Signal, where if you manage to claim it, you can trigger a small dialogue with the team leader you’re representing. I wish I could say more, but unfortunately, the game barely allowed me to play it, even after selecting the option through the Lobby, as it would still place me inside a regular Turf War.
Furthermore, communication problems and long waiting times were both recurring issues. Out of the four Tricolor Turf Wars I managed to get matched with, two ended up getting cut short due to a connection error. And there were even times when the matchmaking would take sometimes 2 minutes to conclude or error out completely.
For what it’s worth, though, it is cool that you’re given access to test out your weapons while waiting for the full eight-player lobby to assemble, unlike its predecessors, which had you stare at the screen and make funny sounds with the controller buttons.
Several weapons were available to try out, including the brand-new weapon types that were revealed in previous trailers, which are the Splatana Wiper and the Tri-Stringer. And after playing with both of them, I personally LOVED the Splatana. It definitely isn’t ideal for Turf War, but for defeating opponents, it does its job scarily well. This was easily one of the best weapons I used in this demo. As for the Tri-Stinger…well, I would have something to say here, but none of our reviewers could tear themselves away from the Splatana long enough to try it out. I guess that says a lot, huh?
Of course, the clothing equipment couldn’t level up, so I’m excited for the full game, where I can try and build a clothing setup around it. Even though you could enter the shops in the demo, they would all boot you out because you’re perpetually stuck on Level 1.
Generally speaking, the Splatoon 3 World Premiere has only shown but a fraction of what Splatoon 3 has to offer in its full release. There’s still a lot of ground to cover, such as the Ranked Battles, the single-player campaign, and even Salmon Run and even the silly card game…all of which are modes that I’m going to have to leave for later when the full game releases. But given how it is looking so far, this was a solid demonstration, and I cannot wait for the game’s release.
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