I splatted and swam through a quick session of Splatoon 2's new co-op mode today. I played in a quartet, and this might be how I play Splatoon multiplayer when the sequel launches in July.
Salmon Run puts 2-4 players on a platform out in the middle of dangerous waters. Players work as a team to fend off waves of enemies who emerge from the deep. The biggest enemies drop gold eggs, which you need to carry back to a basket. Each wave runs on a timer and has an egg quota. Maybe you only need to get one egg or three, but you'll still have to survive, say, an 80-second rush of enemies.
The game controls the same as regular PvP Splatoon. You run around and splat paint on the ground and at enemies, can turn into a squid to swim through painted surfaces and can charge up super attacks. One twist is that downed players need to be revived by their friends (who do so by shooting at the life preserver marking the downed player's position).
The enemy waves are increasingly tough, making verbal communication with other players key. You want to call out the location of bosses as they spawn in and want to warn each other about changing tides.
Salmon Run difficulty is measured in percentages, from 5% to 100%. At E3, they're defaulting the demo to 5%, which got hairy enough. A Nintendo rep showing me the game said that he and three savvy colleagues recently cranked things to 100% and made a bet that they'd survive 30 seconds. They lasted 25. Players just have to get better and maybe take advantage of new weapons that they unlock.
My time with the mode was brief, but I was encouraged that Salmon Run will be a good addition to a game whose PvP never quite hooked me (yes, I know it hooked everyone else).
In case you're wondering: Nintendo isn't showing off Splatoon 2's solo campaign at their booth at E3.
We'll have plenty more about Nintendo's E3 line-up in the coming days.