While it might look a whole lot like Splatoon 2 on the surface, there are many new additions to Splatoon 3. The game takes a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude towards the core Splatoon game play but changes around the edges have refined the overall package.
From game-changing quality of life improvements to major changes to Splatfest and Salmon Run, Splatoon 3 is full of new details that every veteran player should be aware of before jumping in.
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Splatsville: A Brand New Hub
Say farewell to Inkopolis Square. Welcome to Splatsville. This is the brand new hub area in Splatoon 3 that — once you complete the tutorial — you will be dropped into every time you launch the game. In Splatsville, you can run around viewing the community’s messages and impressive fan art. You can also use the hub to navigate between lobbies for Turf War, Salmon Run, and the single-player, although this can be done much more quickly by using the menu to fast travel.
Regardless of its usefulness, Splatsville is a bustling community hub full of that Splatoon personality fans have grown accustomed to.
Salmon Run is Back for Good
Nintendo’s inclusion of Salmon Run as a limited time only event in Splatoon 2 seriously misjudged how popular the co-op wave based mode would become. Splatoon 3 directly addresses this issue. Now, instead of only having a short window each day, Salmon Run can be played at any time in Splatoon 3. The map selection for the mode is now on a cycle like in Turf War.
There will still be “Big Run” limited events every few months, but these events are no longer the only way to participate in Salmon Run. You can play the mode at any time by going to Grizzco (or The Shoal for local co-op).
You Can Play as an Octoling
Splatoon 2 didn’t add the option to play as an Octoling (the octopus equivalent of the franchise’s squid-based Inklings) until its post-launch DLC, The Octo Expansion. One of the rewards for completing the single-player DLC was the ability to choose an Octoling for multiplayer. Now, in the latest release, you can select an Octoling from the start. When you boot up Splatoon 3 the first thing you will do is create your character. This can be changed at any time so you can go back and forth between Octoling and Inkling at your discretion.
One of the biggest additions to Splatoon 3 is a slew of new weapons. Regular weapon highlights include the Tri-Stringer and Splatanas. Splatoon 3 also adds rad new special weapons like the explosive Trizooka and the grappling game-changer the Zipcaster.
You Can Swap Weapons Between Matches
In previous Splatoon titles, you would have to back out of the matchmaking lobby to switch your loadout. After every match in Splatoon 3, you are given the option to switch out your gear. If you’re having bad luck with a weapon or piece of gear, this allows you flexibility to change it out on the fly.
Entirely New Single-Player Campaign
This is the biggest and most obvious of the new details in Splatoon 3. The new single-player mode takes you through a brief tutorial area, before dropping you into a map broken up into 6 zones. As you complete missions, you will earn Power Eggs which unlock blocked paths in the stages.
There are a variety of objectives and challenges to these missions. For beginners, it is a great way to try out weapons and get used to the mechanics. And even Splatoon experts will find creative twists on gameplay they are familiar with in this mode. Plus, it is fairly lengthy, clocking in around 8-10 hours.
Abilities are tied to gear in Splatoon 3 and there are a ton of them. These passive abilities allow you to spec out your Inkling or Octoling at will by changing clothes. While many old favorites return, new abilities like Intensify Action and Sub Resistance Up expand the customization possibilities.
You Can Save Loadouts
Due to the variety of passive abilities in Splatoon 3, being able to easily switch loadouts is crucial. The new “Fits” menu allows players to assign a number of gear combinations to a slot. This means you can save all your best fits and easily switch to them on-the-fly or between matches.
Splatfests Have Changed
In Splatoon 3, Splatfests have received a major facelift. Instead of choosing from two teams, players now have the option to join any of three Splatfest teams.
Additionally, the fests have a new structure. Like in previous game the event itself lasts for 12 hours. But now, the first six hours are dedicated to traditional Splatfest Battles. However, the second half of the Splatfest introduces new mode Tricolor Turf Wars, where all three teams face off against one another.
In one of its best kept pre-launch secrets, Splatoon 3 also includes a collectible card game mode called Tableturf Battle. Once you reach level 4, head to the Tableturf Dojo (located in an alleyway to the right of the Lobby) where you will recieve a starter deck.
So far, this card game is only playable against NPCs in the Tableturf Dojo. That means it is more or less another single-player alternative to the game’s many multiplayer focused modes.