The original Luigi’s Mansion was the Gamecube launch title that no one wanted: read anything regarding the game from the time it was released, from fan reactions to even professional press reviews, and you’ll find that a lot of people dismissed the game for what it wasn’t: a Mario game. But while it certainly is fair to complain about a Nintendo console launching without an appearance by at least one of the company’s primary mascots (*cough*3DS*cough*,) those who were willing to give Luigi’s Mansion a shot were probably pleasantly surprised; while it certainly wasn’t perfect, nor was it on par with any of the “main” entries in the Mario series, it was a fun, original, and charming adventure, and there are some who would even argue (and fairly convincingly, I might add) that Luigi’s Mansion was and is the best game about Ghostbusting, actual Ghostbusters games be damned. Now Nintendo is hoping to recapture the original game’s charm with Luigi’s Mansion 2 for the 3DS.
Anyone who has played the original Luigi’s Mansion will be immediately familiar with its sequel. The basic method of capturing ghosts (stun them with a flashlight, then suck them in with Luigi’s vacuum cleaner as the ghosts struggle and toss Luigi around the room,) remains the same, but the controls have benefited from a little streamlining: while the original game required you to aim with the second analog stick (very awkward to do with the game’s fixed, side perspective,) Luigi will now automatically lock on to a ghost as long as he’s facing in the same general direction. Luigi can still manually aim his vacuum by tilting the 3DS, but haters of motion control (or people who play their 3DS in public and don’t want to look insane,) will be happy to know that this feature is entirely optional.
The game is also quite a looker: the original game was an early demonstration of the Gamecube’s power, and its sequel likewise demonstrates that, when placed in the right hands, the 3DS is capable of some pretty neat graphical effects, including impressive lighting and shadows cast by Luigi’s flashlight, as well as some cool physics as the ghosts drag Luigi across the room, knocking over furniture and other objects. The 3D effect was also quite pronounced, and made the game’s diorama like presentation look genuinely better. Luigi’s Mansion 2 is one of those increasingly rare examples that shows us that when Nintendo feels like it, they can still put out a visually impressive game.
Nintendo is also promising that Luigi’s newest foray into ghost hunting will be significantly longer than the original game, with multiple mansions (instead of the original game’s singular location,) to explore. This, coupled with the new controls, should alleviate the two genuine criticisms people had about the original Luigi’s Mansion: its short length and its unintuitive control scheme. Luigi’s Mansion 2 was one of the better 3DS games at Nintendo’s booth this E3, and something would have to go horribly wrong during development if it doesn’t end up becoming one the 3DS’s best games period when it’s released early next year.