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Written by  :  Harmony♡ (20656)
Written on  :  Sep 26, 2018
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
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A new gold standard for DLC

The Good

The Octo Expansion is a major content package that enhances the Splatoon 2 experience, and there's something in it for every type of player. Front and center is the long-requested addition of playable Octolings, as well as a number of other customization options for the player's avatar. For those interested in the lore of Splatoon's world, the included story mode is sure to satisfy; it's an even longer campaign than the one featured in the base game, and it furthers the existing plot while also raising some new and interesting questions. Although it is much darker than previous entries, it still contains plenty of the lighthearted moments that have become part of the series' charm. Fan favorite characters like Pearl and Marina get plenty of time in the spotlight, and the brand-new additions to the cast are largely lovable as well.

The gameplay itself is incredibly challenging, even for veteran players, but the difficulty rarely feels cheap or overly punishing. There are no surprise traps, dependency on RNG, or any of the other tricks subpar developers are known to use in place of real difficulty. Instead, challenges are centered around mastery of specific weapons or techniques, knowledge of the physics system, and skillfully executed inputs. Lest less experienced players worry, however, there is always the option to skip a level that one has failed too many times. Players who choose this option will be able to move on in the story at the cost of some in-game currency, but will miss out on certain rewards this way. Levels can be replayed at any time, so nothing is permanently lost by skipping one and coming back later. This system is a great compromise that allows players of all skill levels to enjoy the campaign to the best of their abilities.

The campaign's finale is an extended sequence of seven extra-long levels. The gameplay here is an especially intense test of everything the player has learned, set to some of the best tracks that have been produced for the series. Capping it off is a cathartic and totally unique final boss fight that feels like a celebration of everything Splatoon is.

The Bad

Not all levels are created equal. There are a handful that are simply rehashes of boss fights from the base game, and others that mimic the gameplay of specific multiplayer modes. While these fights do have some differences from their original iterations, they still feel uninspired; it would have been preferable to patch these into the main game as rematches, and create brand new challenges for the DLC. The fee for skipping or retrying these levels is also incredibly steep, enough so to outright discourage players who aren't certain they can win the first time around.

The aforementioned ending sequence features no stopping points and must be completed in one sitting, which is sure to frustrate anyone who struggles to find time for an extended gaming session. When replaying this segment later, there is no level select, which is also annoying when you only want to test yourself on one of the specific challenges.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, despite a handful of flaws, Octo Expansion is a huge content package full of things fans of the series will love. No matter what you're looking for - more story content, extended gameplay, a way to test your skills, or new ways to deck out your multiplayer avatar - you'll find it here. And incredibly, all this is available in a single download that costs just 1/3 the price of the base game. In an age where developers are increasingly derided for using DLC to line their pockets while providing minimal new content, this is a shining example of how to do downloadable content right. A must-have for anyone who loves the Splatoon series and wants more out of it.

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