October 14, 2018

Luigi’s Mansion 3DS - Review

When Luigi’s Mansion first released for the Gamecube, I played it in that launch week and made it to the final boss, without a single death, but died fighting him. The reason I remember it, was at the time I had no memory card, so could not save my progress, which meant I had to start over, not wanting to do it then, the game being remade on the Nintendo 3DS was the perfect chance to experience the game over.

The game starts out with Luigi following a bright and cheerful map, indicating the path to his new mansion, however the closer he gets, the more dark and ominous things become. After walking inside, he is quickly overcome with fear as ghosts appear around him and after making a getaway, he encounters Professor E. Gadd, who is attempting to defeat a ghost, using his invention the Poltergust 3000, which is a modified vacuum. After the two make a move back to the Professor’s lab, Luigi explains why he is here, and the Professor explains what is going on and tasks Luigi to clear the mansion of ghosts, so after donning the Poltergust 3000 and picking up the GameBoy Horror, Luigi steps back into the mansion, but things are not all what they seem inside.

The mansion is full of ghosts, some are quite basic, some require a bit of skill to defeat and some require a heck of a lot of patience and then, there are the bosses. Your basic ghosts like to jump out of the ground, usually behind Luigi and they move to you, but a quick flash of the flashlight stuns them and lets Luigi taken them down. As the game progresses, you will encounter some ghosts, that are imbued with elemental effects, and you need to use the right effect to counter them, before you can stun and defeat. However, the best ghosts are the ones that are using the rooms, as if they were alive, the Nanna ghost sitting in a rocking chair knitting, the couple in love, dancing around the ballroom, and beyond (ghost pun), each of them requires you to complete a specific action in order to trigger their stunning window. Sometimes it is simple as pulling a curtain open, other times you need to combine multiple takedowns and more, to get them angry.

Though while not as complex, there are a whole host of Boo’s that are all around the place, that you need to track down as well, however they only become visible to searching, once you have returned lights back to the room, something that happens when you catch all the other ghosts located within. It is this mechanic that you are going to get used to a lot in the game, as each room requires the same actions to be undertaken, in order to clear it. Some rooms have many ghosts, some have a single one, but not all rooms need to be cleared. In fact, there are a host of rooms that are, what one might call bonus rooms and are not relevant to your progressing in the game, though doing so will get you a better reward in the end. The boo’s though can be tricky to track down, for the most part, they follow the same pattern, they appear when you find them, claim a boo themed name, like Booigi and then proceed to roam around the place, but as you collect them, they will start to flee the rooms, making you chase them down.

The problem with the game is that it is short, even with this being only the second time I played the game, and beat it, it still did not take me a full 2 hours. A lot of the time you will invest in the game is making your way back up to rooms, from the lobby, you can return to the lobby by using the GameBoy Horror on a mirror, but you have to manually trek all the way back. The boss battles, bar the final one are interesting, requiring you to take stock of the skills you have learnt up to that point and use them against the ghost of the moment. The final boss however, is more on pure luck than anything else, whilst it is possible to die, something I did on the Gamecube one and once here, it just depends on how, playful, the final boss is. This time, beating the boss occurred on my second try, so its not that difficult, in fact the most difficult thing is the controls, they are confusing and awkward as heck to use.

The game enables motion controls, if there is a way to turn it off, I did not find it, the problem is that Luigi can move in a 3D space, but the controls don’t allow for that. Sure, if you have a New 3DS or New 2DS or, a Circle Pad Pro, you can use the secondary stick for some slight aim options, but that takes a whole lot of patience to master. Because the game forces motion on you, if you move the 3DS in any sort of up or down pattern, then the aiming can move off your target, it is honestly a bit of a nightmare. The other issue is that when you press X to interact with things, it is also the same button that you use to make Luigi call out to Mario, the problem with this is that sometimes, Luigi would call out for Mario, whilst the icon to prompt opening a door was there, or he would bang on the door, instead of opening it.

From a presentation point of view, the game looks like the Gamecube version, which is a shame as the sequel, New Moon perfected the style a lot nicer. This is not to say that the visuals are bad, not by a long shot, just there is a lot more detail than the 3ds is really capable of showing off and it ends up becoming lost to the action. If you play the game with the 3D enabled, you are in for a treat, most of the time, as the game really looks amazing with that enabled, especially when walking to or from the camera, the extra sense of depth adds another layer to the atmosphere. The audio is once again a standout for the game, as Luigi hums along to the games main themes, whenever the lights are out, the ghosts are suitably ghost like, with a lot of boos and wu-ahs! thrown in for good measure.

If you never played the game originally, then you should give yourself the chance to enjoy it now, though anyone who complete the game before, should be a little cautious of this spooky tale, as there is nothing new to it, to reward you for venturing back in. The game plays really well and offers an enjoyable experience, but its overall length and lack of modern controls will like frustrate rather than satisfy.

Review copy supplied by Nintendo

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