Ever since it was announced, Splatoon was advertised as a fun shooter with cool animations and lots of personality. It also advertised a unique game type to the shooter genre, where games are determined by the area you control on the map, not strictly kills.
But in actuality, this is how most competitive shooters are played.
In games like CS:GO or Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, area control is extremely important in higher levels of play, as well as movement, positioning, and general team tactics. These elements separate the casual from the competitive shooters. Glancing at Splatoon, it would seem that all of these things are not only implemented but showcased. Using your squid form is absolutely essential for getting around, games are won based on how much of the area you have covered in your own ‘goop’, and teams synchronize different weapon teams to be the most effective for the game type played. It would seem that Splatoon should be a competitive game, but where the game lacks are in its strengths. Though you win games by controlling more area, that area isn’t controlled by careful tactics or mind games, it’s by simply shooting your gun or rolling your paint roller. Though the squid provides new and interesting movement options, it also grants almost complete invisibility, making it semi-gimmicky.
The lack of mic support in Splatoon is also a hindrance to its competitive viability, crippling the amount of communication that can take place. It’s essential in any team game that you can openly communicate with teammates so you can set up good strategy and coordination.
So Splatoon a competitive game? No, it still lacks the actual tact, positioning and teamwork that CS:GO has. However, I think for anybody who doesn’t want to rush into competitive shooters but wants to understand some of the basics of higher level shooters, Splatoon is a good first step. Personally, my advice to anyone who wants to get into any competitive game, just get right into it, find your local community and grind it out. But if you wanna take it slow, Splatoon could be a good choice.