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Game of the Year 2015 Intern's Pick: Splatoon

Splatoon's art style, gameplay, frequent updates, and more help this game surpass the standards most shooters are held up to in recent years

Hey guys, David here! Some of you might know me better as RR-sama, that jerk that goes around ruining your childhood nostalgia, and stirring up controversial topics from the gaming world. As for today, I'm here to talk about my personal Game of the Year, Splatoon.

A mix of late 1990s and early 2000s style, paintball, and... kids that are also squids? Splatoon was a game that I was honestly skeptical about when I first heard about it. In fact, I was thinking about passing the title by completely at first. However, after spending almost $80 for a Canadian copy of the game (you lucky United States patrons, you..) I can honestly say that I don't regret it a bit.

So what's so great about this game RR-sama?

Let's first start with the aesthetics of the game, shall we?

Splatoon art style is a beautiful homage to the days of 1990s skate-punk and the early 2000s street art scene. Where a lot of modern shooters try to aim for realism, Splatoon goes in the complete opposite direction - and then some. From the vibrant colors to the comical designs of the Inklings themselves, Splatoon offers a one-of-a-kind experience that we could only expect from Nintendo.

The game also benefits from running at a constant 60 frames per second while at 1080p resolution. While it may not seem like a big thing at first, seeing everything running at a smooth framerate while simultaneously looking so darn beautiful makes this game extra enjoyable with friends or strangers online.

The music isn't half bad either...

Splatoon makes no secret of its heavy inspiration by the skate-punk scenes as the battle soundtracks are reminiscent of those one would expect from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater or SSX. Since Splatoon's Inkings don't speak any human language, the game's music uses garbled sounds that are supposedly the language of the Inklings. While one would expect this to ruin the soundtrack, it actually makes for an interesting mix of metal, punk, and pop tracks that are internationally enjoyable to the same degree.

What truly makes this music great, however, is that none of the tracks feel out of place. Nintendo has successfully managed to make music that suits an action packed environment, while simultaneously preventing it from sounding too serious. This, in conjunction with the Inkling lyrics, really helps to immerse players in the game world.

Okay, how about the game itself?

Gameplay in Splatoon is what really makes the game deserve the Game of the Year title -- at least in my eyes. While my fellow interns and GameSkinny journalists have vouched for various triple-A titles, Splatoon was a sleeper hit that presented gameplay that simply hasn't been seen before.

Sure, elements such as a "teleport" action, or third-person shooting aren't exactly 'new' per se. However, the concept of fighting for land instead of kills, as well as various other mechanics revolving around the use of ink instead of traditional projectiles makes Splatoon unique in the multiplayer shooter scene. The game also shares many similarities to MOBAs that help make this game feel like something new, as opposed to the newest version of what we already have seen before.

The game has truly come a long way since release. While other shooters like Star Wars: Battlefront offer Season Passes and other paid content after launching with a bare bones game, Nintendo has promised to keep releasing free content up until January of next year. With new maps, weapons, and battle modes, it's no wonder so many Wii U owners have flocked to this game as their go to multiplayer experience.

Anything else you'd like to add, RR-sama?

Not really. I think I've made my case clear enough to close it. Free content, beautiful art and music, and compelling gameplay. Seems like everything a Game of the Year needs. If you want something that's been done before, call on MGSV, Fallout 4, Bloodborne, or whatever fits your fancy. But if you want something that's truly unique, Splatoon is where it's at.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be getting back to preparing for the upcoming Splatfest. In the meantime, you can find the other Game of the Year picks by other GameSkinny interns by following this link. This is David Fisher - a.k.a. RR-sama, your Rewind Review master - signing off!

Published Dec. 5th 2015

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