Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion (Nintendo Switch) Review

DLC Title: Splatoon 2 – Octo Expansion
DLC Type: Story Campaign/New Character
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Price: $19.99 USD

Splatoon’s story and lore has always intrigued me. I knew that it was some sort of post-apocalypse early on thanks to Game Theory’s videos on the biology of the Inklings. Past getting into the series, though, I was kinda sad that Splatoon 2 didn’t really go into the backstory and the lore in its Story Mode, outside of just little references to the first game and its villains.

That is also why I recently got back into playing the game. During E3, Nintendo announced that the new Story Expansion for Splatoon 2 was about to be released, so I got interested and bought the DLC as soon as it dropped.

Now that I’ve had time to thoroughly play through this new mode, I’m ready to talk about it. Here is my review of Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion!

Story

Octo Expansion takes place in a subway system buried deep underneath Inkopolis. Awakening inside the subway with no memories, you play as an Octoling known as Agent 8. You come to find out that you’d been fighting with Agent 3, the protagonist from the original Splatoon game, when you both were attacked and fell into this subway system. Assisted by Agent 3’s captain as well as Pearl and Marina, you go through the trials of the Subway System Experiments in order to gain your freedom to return to the surface.

Story is the biggest thing I was looking forward to in this expansion. I liked it, but I was underwhelmed by how they did it. Across most of the DLC< you get background info through Chat Logs given to you every so often when you’re clearing stages. These mostly boil down to diving into the backgrounds of the characters supporting you ie Pearl and Marina, and very little is actually done to give you information on Agent 8, themselves.

Granted, the ending areas of the expansion do a great job of showcasing some of the lore behind humanity before they go extinct in a way that I think outdoes anything Splatoon 1 or 2’s story campaigns did. I just think that they set up the story point of Agent 8 being void of memories and didn’t do much with it.

Gameplay

As far as gameplay goes, not much has changed. Octo Expansion is still a third-person shooting game with platforming elements thrown into the mix.

The thing about this DLC, though, is that it’s like an extensive “Challenge Mode” of sorts. You’ve got 80 different stages you can play through in a constantly-unlocking map that put you through various combat challenges while you search for key items that are needed to reach the surface.

The difference between this and Story Mode is that it’s a bit less linear. You can go in any order you want as you clear stages to unlock nearby stages. It’s also much more challenging, with each stage pitting you against intricate challenges against enemies, platforming, and a lot of times, both. The objectives are also varied and few are just “get to the goal”. A lot of levels require puzzle-solving through escort missions, combat missions, rail-riding missions, or puzzles as simple as destroying crates to match a statue, very similar to how you make intricate statues in Minecraft.

To add to the challenge, you also are given choices between weapons to take with you, the rewards being much higher for clearing the stage with a more difficult weapon type. This ties into the Point System that this DLC uses. Every time you clear a stage, outside of collectibles, you earn points and every time you attempt a stage, you pay a fee in points. This means that you can only attempt stages so many times if you constantly fail them before you run out of points and need to go back to easier stages to earn them back up.

Thankfully, this DLC gives workarounds for that very situation. Once you attempt a stage twice and lose all of your lives both times, you are given the choice of letting the game auto-clear it for a third fee so you can basically skip that stage and move onto the next. This is useful with how intricate and precise some levels are, so you don’t have to just sit there and rage for hours on that one stage that’s giving you problems.

Given the sheer number of stages here, you can expect this DLC to last you quite some time. I didn’t clear anywhere near all 80 of the stages involved by the time I found all 4 Key Items and worked my way to the Final Boss and I’d logged a little over 8 hours by the time I’d gotten the credits. So, you should expect to spend at least that long over the course of this DLC Campaign.

If you’re an Online Player for Splatoon 2, do note that this campaign does allow you to play the game as a custom Octoling as well as an Inkling, along with gaining exclusive pieces of equipment/gear for clearing all of the stages in the campaign.

Summary

In conclusion, Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion gives a little something for everyone: Challenging Stages for mastering weapons and platforming, Lore Expansion, and new character customization and gear for Online Play. Granted, the story was a bit underwhelming for most of this campaign, but if you enjoy Splatoon 2, this is a great expansion to go with it.

9/10

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