Monday, June 15, 2015

Nintendo's Online Shooters: Splatrophy & Blast Ball

Last night Nintendo streamed the Nintendo World Championships 2015, which had its ups and downs. But in general I like that Nintendo is trying to do something with multiplayer shooters

Splatoon immediately caught my "splattention" at last year's E3 and it seemed like a fresh concept, Nintendo's unique take on the multiplayer shooter genre. However, down the road they made so many mistakes with this game that I won't buy it, until there have been some improvements. It does look like a lot of fun and I want to play it, but Nintendo made some choices here that for me personally are inacceptable and are an absolute no-go, especially for a full priced game.

When it comes to online shooters I'm kind of old school, my favorite always has been Unreal Tournament, which I play up to this day. For me this first person shooter game has been unmatched in terms of content, gameplay, weapons, environments and fun. With Unreal Tournament you usually get around six gametypes and 60 to 80 maps, as well as ten very different and unique weapons. And they're currently making a new one, which is looking very promising.

But if you're used to the standards of the old school PC shooters, something like Splatoon is hard to swallow. Only seven different stages at this moment? And you can only play two at a time online? Who thought, this was a good idea? A shooter lives from the variety, even though some fan favorite maps will be played all the time, variety is what keeps the game interesting. At least it's good that they're releasing additional stages for free and don't let you charge 3€ per stage like some other overhyped Nintendo game... But some of the DLC seems to be on-disc-content, where it's really silly that it wasn't available from the start with this little content.

And they're releasing content on a regular basis, which can be very important for a game like Splatoon. Trying new maps is usually what kept me playing Unreal Tournament for years, so it's a good thing that Nintendo has realized this principle. However, as of now there is just not enough content to justify a purchase.

I also don't like the amiibo practices... it seems like a good chunk of the singleplayer options is locked behind three different Splatoon amiibo, which just sucks and is very expansive for the players, who only want to play and get the locked content, but not the figurines. Especially the squid amiibo from the Special Edition is very expansive right now. Nintendo at the moment has a huge problem with creating these bubbles, where the supply absolutely doesn't meet the demand, which then results in these awful markets of highly limited products, where some people try to earn money with the desperation of some fans. (With Majora's Mask 3D Nintendo got the numbers right, at least here in Germany the special editions are nearly sold out, but you can still get them for the original price.)

The only solution for me here would be amiibo cards. If they were cheap and available enough (including the squid), I might give Splatoon a chance. And the amiibo cards would fully unravel the true nature of amiibo: they are just special keys that you have to buy to unlock content. An unnecessary hassle and even a step back from DLC.

I'm also interested in Blast Ball, which got shown for the first time at the Nintendo World Championships last night. It looks like a mix of Metroid Prime Hunters and the Death Ball modification of Unreal Tournament 2003 or Frag Ball in Xonotic. It really, really smelt like a new first person handheld Metroid, from the logo over the visual design. And there was also the fact that they coupled it with Super Metroid. Maybe it's a minigame in a new Metroid. Maybe it spawned from a handheld Metroid title that then got turned into its own game and franchise. We'll see.

However, as of now the game itself didn't seem to offer too much, it seemed more like a small eShop title. Even Death Ball from Unreal Tournament didn't offer that much, it was just a fun, small mod. But it's not like you can do any complex stages with a game like this... Well, right now I just want to now what its relation with Metroid is. Because just look at the logo:

This was taken straight from Metroid...

Talking about Metroid, for me the best multiplayer shooter Nintendo could make is a new Metroid Hunters on the Wii U. Metroid Prime Hunters was an excellent first person multiplayer shooter (the singleplayer was garbage, but the multiplayer was great), however, the Nintendo DS wasn't really the best platform for it. It lacked the good graphics and controls. But if they made something like this one Wii U, it could have great potential.

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