Why Luigi's Mansion 2 Actually Makes a Compelling Case for the 3DS

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Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -

I realize that I may be putting myself on the lunatic fringe of gaming culture here, but it needs to be said: Luigi's Mansion is pretty great. Popular opinion seems to have landed on the GameCube launch title actually not being so great, but when has popular opinion ever been the guiding force behind anything correct? Most I've talked to seem to mark Luigi's Mansion not as a particularly bad game, but lame simply by virtue of being thrown to the GameCube launch slaughter by Nintendo in place of an actual Mario game. Despite our decades-long familiarity with the lankier Mario brother, one must confess that Luigi ain't Mario, and busting ghosts ain't stompin' on Koopas.

It's good to see E. Gadd back. It really is.

Still, judged purely on its own merits as a cartoonish ghostbusting simulation, Luigi's Mansion was a fun, simple, deeply charming little game that Nintendo went on to completely ignore for years following as if it were some kind of ghastly mistake that would bring shame upon the company were its name ever to be uttered again by human mouths. At least, that was the case until this year's E3, where Nintendo inexplicably decided to revive the long-dormant title and give it a proper sequel on the publisher's new handheld system, the 3DS. As a longtime Luigi apologist, I felt it deeply necessary to get my hands on this thing and see for myself that it actually existed. I can happily report back to any interested parties that yes, Luigi's Mansion 2 exists, and it's looking quite good.

Let me make one thing clear right from the get-go: This is Luigi's Mansion. New developer Next Level Games who previously did a bang-up job reviving another hibernating Nintendo franchise in Punch-Out!!, does not appear to have reinvented the vacuum cleaner here. The demo at E3 brought me right into familiar territory, with noted Professor of Ghostology E. Gadd briefing our perpetually terrified hero on the first of several mansions he'll be exploring in the name of ectoplasmic extermination, followed by gameplay involving flashing lights at ghosts, and then hitting them with vacuum cleaner suction. Sometimes the ghosts fight back, sometimes you are collecting coins, sometimes you are hunting for keys. This is very much the thing.

== TEASER ==
Do you prefer the Springsteen or Manfred Mann version of "Blinded By the Light?" Just curious.

Okay, so it's a familiar formula, I grant you, but it also still plays great, provided you can get behind the generally slower pace of the title. Maybe it's more a result of the deluge of recent titles in other Nintendo franchises than an actual testament to Luigi's Mansion 2's gameplay, but nothing about the game felt particularly rehashy or tired. It's been close to ten years since we played a new one of these things, and while it'd be great if Next Level could find a way to throw a few surprises our way--and perhaps they will, since I did only see a super early level, after all--I still enjoyed running around and chasing ghosts just like I did back on the GameCube.

Now, for the small matter of this story's headline. Let's face it: the 3DS is currently in a state of needing some damned video games, and while Nintendo did bring out some heavy hitting names at its press conference, including the likes of Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, and Kid Icarus, few of these titles--that have been shown anyway--seem to really do much with their 3D presentation beyond simply existing in 3D. Mario Kart in 3D is still pretty much Mario Kart, you guys.

Luigi's Mansion 2 isn't radically different in its handling of 3D, mind you. The game isn't some ludicrous revolution in how we perceive 3D. Rather, what I've seen so far is actually an intelligent way of effectively using 3D while keeping it entirely in the background. The game's camera maintains a fixed perspective, and the 3D is used to add depth to each room you find yourself in. With 3D turned up, hallways appear longer, objects in the room appear closer or further, and as you get your ghost hunt on, you get some nifty three-dimensional effects as you crawl ever closer to sucking that mean old ghost into your handy vacuum bag.

This is the part of the horror movie where the lady in the back screeches out "Gah! Look out behind you!" Except it'll be you doing that, and you'll feel dumb, because you can just make Luigi turn around.

It's great, because after a short bit, the 3D just seems like a completely natural thing. It's there, and it aids the visual presentation immensely, but it never goes out of its way to call attention to itself. It appears similar to the mentality Naughty Dog took on when adding 3D to Uncharted 3--find a way to benefit the visuals and the gameplay, and avoid unnecessary gimmicks.

It's a great-looking little game, currently only hindered by a somewhat erratic framerate. The game does tend to slow down when a bunch of ghosts materialize on screen, to the point where it actually becomes a touch unplayable. That said, Nintendo only has Luigi's Mansion 2 slated for a near-formless 2012 release date, so Next Level has ample time to clean up such impurities.

To Next Level, I also suggest they use that time to add some original quirks and unexpected elements to the gameplay, not to satiate the vocal minority of dismissive players who demand every Nintendo game be brand-new and totally familiar all at the same time, but in order to truly make it a work of their own. Punch-Out!! felt like Punch-Out!!, but it also had its own distinctive quality that made it stand out as not just another remake. Next Level is on a great path here, and it just needs to find the right balance between the classic and the original. Slavish dedication to a formula will only take you so far, after all--even if that formula hasn't been employed for the better part of a decade.

Staff
#1 Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -

I realize that I may be putting myself on the lunatic fringe of gaming culture here, but it needs to be said: Luigi's Mansion is pretty great. Popular opinion seems to have landed on the GameCube launch title actually not being so great, but when has popular opinion ever been the guiding force behind anything correct? Most I've talked to seem to mark Luigi's Mansion not as a particularly bad game, but lame simply by virtue of being thrown to the GameCube launch slaughter by Nintendo in place of an actual Mario game. Despite our decades-long familiarity with the lankier Mario brother, one must confess that Luigi ain't Mario, and busting ghosts ain't stompin' on Koopas.

It's good to see E. Gadd back. It really is.

Still, judged purely on its own merits as a cartoonish ghostbusting simulation, Luigi's Mansion was a fun, simple, deeply charming little game that Nintendo went on to completely ignore for years following as if it were some kind of ghastly mistake that would bring shame upon the company were its name ever to be uttered again by human mouths. At least, that was the case until this year's E3, where Nintendo inexplicably decided to revive the long-dormant title and give it a proper sequel on the publisher's new handheld system, the 3DS. As a longtime Luigi apologist, I felt it deeply necessary to get my hands on this thing and see for myself that it actually existed. I can happily report back to any interested parties that yes, Luigi's Mansion 2 exists, and it's looking quite good.

Let me make one thing clear right from the get-go: This is Luigi's Mansion. New developer Next Level Games who previously did a bang-up job reviving another hibernating Nintendo franchise in Punch-Out!!, does not appear to have reinvented the vacuum cleaner here. The demo at E3 brought me right into familiar territory, with noted Professor of Ghostology E. Gadd briefing our perpetually terrified hero on the first of several mansions he'll be exploring in the name of ectoplasmic extermination, followed by gameplay involving flashing lights at ghosts, and then hitting them with vacuum cleaner suction. Sometimes the ghosts fight back, sometimes you are collecting coins, sometimes you are hunting for keys. This is very much the thing.

== TEASER ==
Do you prefer the Springsteen or Manfred Mann version of "Blinded By the Light?" Just curious.

Okay, so it's a familiar formula, I grant you, but it also still plays great, provided you can get behind the generally slower pace of the title. Maybe it's more a result of the deluge of recent titles in other Nintendo franchises than an actual testament to Luigi's Mansion 2's gameplay, but nothing about the game felt particularly rehashy or tired. It's been close to ten years since we played a new one of these things, and while it'd be great if Next Level could find a way to throw a few surprises our way--and perhaps they will, since I did only see a super early level, after all--I still enjoyed running around and chasing ghosts just like I did back on the GameCube.

Now, for the small matter of this story's headline. Let's face it: the 3DS is currently in a state of needing some damned video games, and while Nintendo did bring out some heavy hitting names at its press conference, including the likes of Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, and Kid Icarus, few of these titles--that have been shown anyway--seem to really do much with their 3D presentation beyond simply existing in 3D. Mario Kart in 3D is still pretty much Mario Kart, you guys.

Luigi's Mansion 2 isn't radically different in its handling of 3D, mind you. The game isn't some ludicrous revolution in how we perceive 3D. Rather, what I've seen so far is actually an intelligent way of effectively using 3D while keeping it entirely in the background. The game's camera maintains a fixed perspective, and the 3D is used to add depth to each room you find yourself in. With 3D turned up, hallways appear longer, objects in the room appear closer or further, and as you get your ghost hunt on, you get some nifty three-dimensional effects as you crawl ever closer to sucking that mean old ghost into your handy vacuum bag.

This is the part of the horror movie where the lady in the back screeches out "Gah! Look out behind you!" Except it'll be you doing that, and you'll feel dumb, because you can just make Luigi turn around.

It's great, because after a short bit, the 3D just seems like a completely natural thing. It's there, and it aids the visual presentation immensely, but it never goes out of its way to call attention to itself. It appears similar to the mentality Naughty Dog took on when adding 3D to Uncharted 3--find a way to benefit the visuals and the gameplay, and avoid unnecessary gimmicks.

It's a great-looking little game, currently only hindered by a somewhat erratic framerate. The game does tend to slow down when a bunch of ghosts materialize on screen, to the point where it actually becomes a touch unplayable. That said, Nintendo only has Luigi's Mansion 2 slated for a near-formless 2012 release date, so Next Level has ample time to clean up such impurities.

To Next Level, I also suggest they use that time to add some original quirks and unexpected elements to the gameplay, not to satiate the vocal minority of dismissive players who demand every Nintendo game be brand-new and totally familiar all at the same time, but in order to truly make it a work of their own. Punch-Out!! felt like Punch-Out!!, but it also had its own distinctive quality that made it stand out as not just another remake. Next Level is on a great path here, and it just needs to find the right balance between the classic and the original. Slavish dedication to a formula will only take you so far, after all--even if that formula hasn't been employed for the better part of a decade.

Staff
#2 Posted by Funkydupe (3311 posts) -

pn

#3 Posted by TheFakePsychic (191 posts) -

Pretty excited for this game, not gonna lie.

#4 Posted by craigbo180 (1739 posts) -
@Funkydupe said:
pn
Stay classy.
#5 Posted by Buttonbasher (23 posts) -

Next Level Games, not Retro Studios.

#6 Posted by Funkydupe (3311 posts) -
@craigbo180 said:
@Funkydupe said:
pn
Stay classy.
For you, always.
#7 Posted by Coldplay619 (13 posts) -

Next Level Games are developing Luigi's Mansion D:

#8 Posted by hwy_61 (922 posts) -

Man, I gotta be honest. This fucking game is making me wanna buy a 3ds. GB brethren, talk some sense into me!

#9 Posted by Buscemi (1106 posts) -

Oh, Manfred Mann's version for sure.

#10 Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -

I JUST FIXED THE NEXT LEVEL/RETRO THING. Sorry guys, got confused. Retro is making Mario Kart tracks.

Staff
#11 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

No. I cannot be excited about a 3DS game. Especially not a sequel.

Luigi's Mansions was pretty damn good. I fire it up every year or so.

#12 Posted by 1960sSpiderman (20 posts) -

I'm probably in the minority that's excited for this as well. Then again, I also liked Mario Sunshine and would be excited about a follow up to that.

#13 Posted by CarpetRemnant (374 posts) -

I totally totally loved the original Luigi's Mansion and can't wait to play this one. I've always been a fan of the underdog and a strong supporter of Luigi as the superior Mario Bro.

#14 Posted by Funkydupe (3311 posts) -

Don't buy a 3DS. Snap out of it.

#15 Posted by Towers (96 posts) -

Manfred Mann

#16 Posted by hwy_61 (922 posts) -

@Funkydupe: Yeah, you're probrably right...

#17 Posted by Master_Funk (732 posts) -

Some cool games coming for 3DS to warrant a purchase

Also, Springsteen's original any day.

#18 Posted by Funkydupe (3311 posts) -
@elsuperdonut said:

@Funkydupe: Yeah, you're probrably right...

Probably. Then again, you might get a Street Pass one day and it'd be totally worth it.
#19 Posted by Afroman269 (7387 posts) -

Oh man, this is making me giddy with glee. I'm going to disappointed if there isn't a "MARIO!!" button.

#20 Posted by Rincewind (252 posts) -

Bustin' makes me feel good.

#21 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

Now I feel as though i should go download the Luigi's Mansion trailer from the e-shop.
 
Or really any of those trailers, I bet they would look a lot better in 3D.

#22 Posted by nighthavok313 (19 posts) -

EARTH BAND!

#23 Posted by hwy_61 (922 posts) -

@Funkydupe: I don't know about that dude. That would require me to walk around the mall...and the mall makes my face hurt.

#24 Posted by shadyspace (458 posts) -

@alex: Still got a "Retro" in your second-to-last paragraph, chief. Otherwise, a fantastic write-up. Really looking forward to this game.

#25 Posted by AlisterCat (5536 posts) -

I cannot wait. So far off.

#26 Posted by VicRattlehead (1398 posts) -

wait people don't like Luigi's Mansion? well fuck you people i don't like you

#27 Posted by Genjai (300 posts) -

reinvented the vacuum cleaner

Best line in the article! Loved it! Great Job, Jerem.... errrr.... Alex!

#28 Posted by airules (128 posts) -

Does the time between nintendo games relate to how little they change? If you don't release a follow up for 10 years is releasing a game with very similar base mechanics more acceptable? If luigis mansion 2 (as it looks in it's current form) was a launch title for wii would that have been as exciting? In the same way would pikmin 3 have been such a constant source of drooling if it came bundled with the wii instead of the long wait?

#29 Posted by Funkydupe (3311 posts) -
#30 Posted by Zippedbinders (985 posts) -

This is probably the first "must have" title for me personally for the 3DS, not that I wouldn't enjoy other games, but I'm going to definitely need one to play this.

#31 Posted by afrokola (547 posts) -

Springsteen, hands down. Also, Lugi's Mansion 2 is super exciting for me! A system seller, really.

#32 Posted by RedSox8933 (2428 posts) -

I love Luigi's Mansion with all my heart, and I'm buying a 3DS for Luigi's Mansion 2.

#33 Posted by Kjellm87 (1728 posts) -

Fans have been begging and finally it happend. Never though it would.

#34 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11630 posts) -

Listen Alex, I'm totally with you on that Luigi's Mansion is an under-appreciated game. That's perhaps by virtue of the fact that it lasts exactly long enough before its premise and gameplay mechanics reveal themselves as the shallow vacuum tedium they are, more easily seen upon repeated playthroughs. 
 
Know what other Gamecube launch title could use an actual sequel? Rogue Squadron II. Yeah, technically there was Rogue Squadron III, but the problem with that game is that about a third of the levels are really bad on-foot sequences, and then there's that Endor speeder level that lasts forever.

Online
#35 Posted by GioVANNI (1285 posts) -

This, Super Mario 3D, and OoT are all making the 3DS a must-buy for me.

#36 Posted by paulunga (1993 posts) -

The problem with Luigi's Mansion wasn't that it wasn't good. The problem was that you could finish it in under 2 hours. I'M NOT EXAGGERATING! Bust out your dusty Gamecube/Wii and see for yourself. Hell, even 100% you'll get at most 4 hours out of it.

#37 Posted by ckeats (489 posts) -
#38 Posted by Enigma777 (6071 posts) -

Pass.

#39 Posted by paulunga (1993 posts) -

Oh yeah, also, the original DS' library sucked donkey balls for the first 6-12 months, too. I'm patient enough to wait that long.

#40 Posted by Zor (654 posts) -

Now if they would only make a Waluigi game...

#41 Posted by koopi (30 posts) -

I LOVED the first on GameCube. I'm definitely getting this. I hope they fix the framerate ... plus, I hope Luigi can call Mario like in the first game. :D

#42 Posted by ManMadeGod (1559 posts) -

I am glad that the 3d stuff works so well. I was shocked when Nintendo showed this game off during the E3 conference. Definitely a reason to buy a 3DS.

#43 Posted by MeatSim (10834 posts) -

I thought Luigi's Mansion was okay it was just way to short.

#44 Edited by rmanthorp (3913 posts) -

LM looks good, loved the first one!

Moderator
#45 Posted by dungbootle (2457 posts) -

Luigi's Mansion was pretty good.

#46 Posted by Ohvee (145 posts) -

@paulunga said:

The problem with Luigi's Mansion wasn't that it wasn't good. The problem was that you could finish it in under 2 hours. I'M NOT EXAGGERATING! Bust out your dusty Gamecube/Wii and see for yourself. Hell, even 100% you'll get at most 4 hours out of it.

It's really not that much of a "problem" when it is still a great experience. Sure, you always want more of a good thing. I found myself replaying it every couple of years and still having a great time.

#47 Posted by Shmio (21 posts) -

Grounds to buy a 3DS?

#48 Posted by Jensonb (1742 posts) -

Add me to the list of people who disagree with the prevailing consensus Just like Alex, I loved Luigi's Mansion and when I saw Luigi's Mansion 2 in Nintendo's Presser, I went flipped the fuck out. And the fact it'll be a game I can play on my 3DS just sweetened the deal.

I seriously love the 3DS hardware (Especially the wicked sick 3D screen. I almost always have mine on full blast just cos I love looking at it), and I've had fun with the couple of launch titles and the built-in software (And 3D Classics Excitebike) but I'm ready for some of the big hitters to start coming out.

Got a pre-order in for Zelda, can't wait to get stuck into that on Friday. And obviously, Mario Kart and Super Mario are eagerly anticipated. And I've had MGS: Snake Eater 3D pre-ordered since before I got the system.

#49 Posted by Norusdog (344 posts) -

no.  no it doesn't

#50 Posted by PXAbstraction (338 posts) -

Totally agree on Luigi's Mansion being criminally underrated. Perfect it is not but it's a fantastic game. I don't know if this alone could get me to invest in a 3DS though.

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