Enlarge / Marie with a sniper rifle? Things get weird in Splatoon 2. (credit: Nintendo)

When Splatoon launched on Nintendo’s Wii U in 2015, it should have shipped with a “wet paint” sign.

This was Nintendo’s first major online shooter in nearly a decade, and despite the obvious innovation and fun on offer, it wasn’t ready for online prime time. Weapon balancing, content, modes, and matchmaking with friends were all in short supply.
Splatoon 2, out this week on the Switch, could very well have ended up being the “gussied-up port” I expected when the game was announced earlier this year.
It sure looks and sounds the same as the Wii U version, and with two years of patches under its belt, that wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
But in the odd tradition of other beloved online shooters, Nintendo has opted to not only slap a “2” onto the title but also revisit enough of the series’ nuts and bolts to merit the numerical bump. Splatoon 2 is a bona fide sequel, if barely, but that jump in number matters when I offer it as an unqualified recommendation for the next purchase most Switch owners should make.

The game has its glaring issues, but Splatoon 2 absolutely executes on the promise and innovation of the original game.
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