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Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion (Switch) – Review

PhantomZ2 dives deep into Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion for Nintendo Switch. As the first paid DLC for the series, is it worth the $20?

Pale Summer moonlight shimmers on the seafloor.

An octopus, unaware that dawn will bring capture,

Rests within a trap, dreaming fleeting dreams…

Splatoon 2 is a very fun and interesting multiplayer shooter, where you ink up stages by competing against Inklings all around the world in Turf Wars, Ranked Battles, and League Battles. The game is constantly updated for free, with new weapons, fashionable gear, and new stages. However, Splatoon 2 received its first purchasable DLC – the Octo Expansion. Which is not only an expansion of the world by finally including Octolings as playable characters but as it also expands upon the story of both the first game and more of the second game. However, is it worth the $20 price tag? I’m PhantomZ2, and I’ll be acting as your conductor as we head deep underground into Splatoon 2: OctoExpansion

Story:

Now before moving into the details of the story, I do want to express that players can play the Octo Expansion before even touching the main story of Splatoon 2. However, if you haven’t played Splatoon 1’s story or aren’t aware of it – here is a short recap: the story followed Agent 3 and her stopping the Octarians and DJ Octavio’s evil scheme. Splatoon 2’s story takes place 2 years after Splatoon 1’s main story – and Octo Expansion takes place somewhat in between.

Onto the actual details, Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion tells the story of an Octoling who was knocked out during a battle between Agent 3 – the protagonist in Splatoon 1. Although an Octarian would be seen as an antagonist, the heavenly voices of the Squid Sisters song have cleansed that. As the Octoling awaken, thanks to Cap’n Cuttlefish’s graceful presence, Agent 8 (the Octoling) and the Captain find themselves within the Deepsea Metro and in order to escape and reach the promised land – Inkopolis Square, they’ll need to collect the four Thangs. However, they won’t be alone as Pearl and Marina are here to assist in the journey! With Pearl’s fresh rhymes and Marina’s hacking skills. It’s now your mission to regain Agent 8’s memories by completing stages and reaching the surface.

Now let’s be honest, there are a lot of details I’m leaving out and that is for the sake of spoilers. Octo Expansion goes in depth of developing the story continued from Splatoon 1 and the backgrounds of Pearl and Marina. This is what part of makes Splatoon 2 feel more like a sequel to Splatoon 1 and further explains why exactly things are the way they are now – such as Marina’s origins.

Gameplay:

In terms of gameplay, the controls are completely the same as the base game. In terms of what you’ll be doing, that’s the big kicker. To start off, stage choice goes based on a train system. Each train line has their own set of levels, and some lines will actually have a station with its own Thang. At each station, will be a set of weapons or a required weapon that’ll be equipped for the level. Completing a stage with a weapon will grant CQ Points, but it also costs CQ Points to start the test. Lose all of your lives, and you’ll have to pay the test fee again to continue. Aside from the normal challenge of the levels, this also challenges the player by making them decide if they’re prepared to take on certain stages. Which is a great idea, as these levels can be very difficult! Some levels will be boss fights from the main story, using maybe only an Inkjet and some levels will require securely guiding a giant 8- ball all the way to the goal.

Although it is understandable if players would want to use weapons they’re more comfortable with – I personally prefer the challenge of using weapons I’m not familiar with. Not only does it make the levels fun and more fulfilling when I complete them, but it also teaches players how to use the weapons – thus increasing their skills when they play online.

Completing each stage grants a Mem Cake, a fragment of Agent 8’s memory. Collecting a set of Mem Cakes within a train line will grant players with fashionable gear when they talk to Iso Padre. However, if you want to completely skip all of this – just to play with Octolings in multiplayer, you can. It may be a long and boring process, but when losing all of your lives twice on any stage – grants the option to ask Marina to hack into the stage and register it as completed. Players will still receive the stage’s reward points and can move forward to the next level, but the Mem Cake won’t be complete. This can even be done for the final boss, so the choice of just wanting to not play the Octo Expansion is there for players as well. Octolings don’t feel any different as well, so if you were already a pro when playing as an Inkling – you’ll still be as great of a team player as before.

Presentation:

The presentation of the Octo Expansion is just as great as the normal game. But, as a New Yorker myself – I was completely excited by the amount of detail and resemblance to MTA Train Station’s we have here. Not only that, but with the recent surge of Lo-Fi and Vaporwave aesthetic music on YouTube, Octo Expansion’s use of that aesthetic felt even more well-timed and personally makes me more interested in its use of the style. Neon lights and random triangles used this way are something I wholeheartedly welcome. This music is just as great as ever, but most tracks give off a very deep and ambient feeling – truly emphasizing and making the journey to the promised land even more interesting.

Verdict:

If it wasn’t obvious by now, Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion is definitely worth the $20 price it was given. Not only does it make the game even more challenging for those who didn’t get that in the main storyline, but it also builds up the lore of the world that so many people were curious about. I’ll definitely be returning within these depths to face off what lies once I 100% it. With this, I give Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion, 5 out of 5 stars.