Let me start this by saying that it’s really not hard to fall in love with Splatoon 2. More than just a highly addictive and smooth third-person online shooter, Splatoon 2 is unlike any other competitive experience out there, dripping with personality and wistful to the max. The main mode “Turf War” places emphasis on having players play defensively as well as offensively. It isn’t all about getting the most kills for a change, and this is insanely refreshing.

Unfortunately, for me, I can’t see myself ever venturing into the League or Ranked matches that begin to unlock when you eventually hit level 10 when playing through regular. Largely because the competitive tendencies these matches inspire, seems to be at odds with the overall playful nature of the game’s core Turf War online mode. For me, Splatoon 2 is all about letting your hair down and having a blast, and as such doesn’t suit an undying need to achieve ‘Play of the Game’ in other online shooters like Overwatch or Call of Duty.

Splatoon Team of 4 preparing for battle

This limitation – which I realise I am placing on myself – means that I’ll likely never get to try out the different styles of play that both Tower Control and Rainmaker demand. You see, for some reason Nintendo has only seen fit to make these game modes only available in either League or Ranked matches. Regular matches are filled with wall to wall Turf War and nothing else. I’m fine with this for the most part. Already having pumped well over 20 hours’ worth of gameplay into Splatoon 2, the push and pull nature of Turf wall has not once gotten old, often being considered the best way to play by many.

I’m just not tempted to dive into the turbulent waters of League and Ranked play because I know that I’ll likely continue to feel this constant overbearing sense of judgement coming down on me. I don’t want to be given a rating between C and A+ for services garnered during online matches, instead rather take solace in the fact that as I continue to level up by numbered score the more personal development I’m gaining as a player.

DJ Octavio Splatoon

Splatoon 2 features enough stats and ratings to urge players to better hone their skills (weapon sets for example display a ‘fresh’ rating that decrease 0.5 for a loss and increase 1 for a win). These stats end up being numbers for numbers sake, and it just isn’t what Splatoon 2 does best. Where Splatoon 2 does shine in terms of rewarding online play is in the vast amounts of clothing and outfits to collect, all of which feature a randomised number of slots that can be filled or scrubbed the more time you spend wearing them. Incentives such as this work better within the ink-drenched utopia Splatoon 2 presents, rather than the glut of arbitrary ratings that go against the fun.