Unpopular Opinion: Luigi's Mansion 3 is a bad co-op game!

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bakoomerang

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I only recently got a Switch, and was looking for something that my wife and I could play together. She doesn’t play a lot of games, so it couldn’t be anything too hardcore, but hopefully still something that would be fun to play for both of us. After hearing the glowing praise for Luigi’s Mansion 3 from the GB crew, we decided to give it a shot.

Now, 18-ish hours later, we’ve finished the game, and not only do I think the game itself isn’t that great, I think the co-op is straight up bad!

I should mention that I let my wife play as Luigi, and I jumped in as Gooigi once he became playable. Initially I thought it would be a good idea for her to play as Luigi so she could get used to the controls, thinking we could switch when co-op finally unlocked. But by the time we got there (which was way longer than I was expecting!) she was holding her own as Luigi, and I figured if we swapped it would end up with me doing most of the heavy lifting and her just tagging along, which didn’t seem like it would be very fun for her, so we decided she should continue as Luigi. Maybe that backfired a little bit, because I soon found out that playing as Gooigi really sucks (at least for someone who’s already used to playing games)!

Anyway, here’s some of the reasons why I think the co-op in this game is bad:

  • It feels tacked on. It doesn’t feel like the game was designed from the ground up to be co-op, more like an afterthought (highlighted by the fact that you can’t even play co-op from the start).
  • Clunky implementation. You have to go into the menu and manually change it to co-op every time you boot the game up. Why couldn’t it just detect if there was a second controller connected?
  • Gooigi has less hearts but can just respawn on death infinitely, so what’s the point?
  • Gooigi doesn’t get the same prompts to interact with key items like Luigi does (we actually got stuck a few times when we’d seen the thing we had to interact with, but I had been the one to walk up to it and wasn’t given the prompt so we thought we had to look for something else)
  • The camera follows Luigi, so Gooigi’s range of movement is restricted.
  • Gooigi can’t even open doors himself!!
  • Gooigi being killed instantly by water is mostly just an inconvenience (outside of a few specific puzzles/fights). Some levels have puddles randomly strewn about for no apparent reason other than to be annoying.
  • Most bosses completely ignore Gooigi and focus all their attacks on Luigi, so it’s usually easier to just de-spawn as Gooigi during attack phases. Not fun.

Outside of the bad co-op there were also a bunch of things about the game that brought the whole experience down for me even more:

  • The controls are bad. Character movement is sluggish, and aiming the vacuum is imprecise.
  • Bosses are annoying. You have to go through a whole process just to get them in a state where they’re vulnerable to attack, which is usually way more of a chore than it should be because of the previously mentioned bad controls, and if you miss your chance to do damage you have to go through it all again before you get another shot.
  • Golden bones. On the one hand they’re great because it means you can brute force your way through bosses, so even if they’re bad (which most of them are) you only have to do it once. On the other hand, it basically eliminates the stakes during boss battles so there’s no real tension.
  • Repeated and/or unskippable cutscenes. Speaking of golden bones, by the end of the game you can have up to 10, which is kind of nuts, and every time you die you have to watch the same 30 second animation of the dog reviving you (which wasn’t skippable as far as we could tell), and then you’re right back in the game exactly where you left off but with full hearts. Why not just have it auto-refill your hearts when you hit zero and let you keep playing? Other examples of having to watch the exact same cutscene every time were when you inserted a new button into the elevator, and every time you unlock a door with a key (although that one was skippable at least).
  • Unnecessary padding. IMO the game length would have been fine without the annoying backtracking you have to do chasing that damn cat around, or when the professor inexplicably sends a toad out into the ghost infested hotel by itself to fetch something!? (Although to be fair that part did lead to some of the biggest laughs we had while playing the game – firing that toad around like a pinball never stopped being funny!)
  • Money is everywhere – and is meaningless. You can get money from just about every object in the game, and 95% of secrets end up with you getting either money, or occasionally a gold ghost from which you have the chance of getting… even more money. But by the midpoint of the game you already have more money than you’ll probably ever need, and there’s really nothing to spend it on besides gold bones (for better or worse as I mentioned). I guess it would come in handy if you wanted to buy the trackers for the gems and ghosts, but I had absolutely no desire to go back and find all that stuff.
  • Gibberish voice acting. If you go to the bother (and presumably cost) of getting someone to record gibberish for the spoken dialogue, then why not just have them say the actual words??

I think overall, I was just expecting it to be better. There was a lot of support for it among the GB staff during the GOTY discussions before it was eventually cut, and it sounded like it would be an ideal game for my wife and I to enjoy together. But by the time we finished it I found myself actively disliking it, which was definitely not something I was expecting when we started.

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Jarp12

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#2  Edited By Jarp12

My opinion of co-op and MP games is very unpopular.

I do not like to play games with other people. Game time for me is alone time. Now I do play the occasional MP game such as CoD:MW and SoT but that's about it and when I was playing WoW way back when, I played solo as much as I could minus a dungeon here and there and never did raids.

I do want Luigi's mansion though.

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BoOzak

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#3  Edited By BoOzak

I cant speak to the co-op since I played the game solo but to your last point, the giberish voice acting is generally a few repeated weird noises. I imagine they do this so they dont have to do voice acting for various languages. The idea that the voice actors were presented with a script and just opted to yap randomly is quite amusing though. It could also be that some people find it charming. I dont really mind either way, I find it works for some games and doesnt for others. (I hated it in Travis Strikes Again for example)

I enjoyed the game overall but I found that some of the sequences that relied heavily on Gooigi kind of sucked to play by yourself. I also feel like I would have liked the game more if the mansion was more sprawling instead of being level/floor based. Much like Dark Moon it felt like it was designed for a dozen or so short play sessions which isnt how I like to play games.

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Sweep

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#4 Sweep  Moderator

Bummer. I was tempted to pitch this game to my partner, but as we both play quite a lot of videogames it seems like whoever ended up having to be gooigi would find it a pretty frustrating experience.

It sounds more like a mode for young kids that removes any meaningful impact on the game while being super forgiving. I'm sure there's an audience for that but it's not what I'm looking for.

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jeremyf

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I really enjoyed the game actually, playing exclusively in co-op. I was Gooigi and did feel some of those frustrations with his limited agency. The handicaps are there if you're playing with a younger/less experienced player. So if Gooigi keeps dying, there's nothing to worry about. It was more disheartening towards the ending of the game because I wanted to get as much money as possible while Luigi just wanted to mainline. Yes, the money is pointless, but it's fun to collect! Other than the padding, I liked everything about the game and its personality. My guess is I enjoyed it more than if I had to play alone and keep swapping between Luigi and his goo twin. Just my 2 cents.

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Pooch516

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Yeah, my wife bought this for us based on the Beastcast talking it up, but not having a second player for the first hour + kind of killed our steam. I still want to go back for it, but it kind of sucks to have to wait so long to get the second character.

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BisonHero

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Interesting to hear Jeff B and Vinny have such a different overall appreciation of the co-op in this game compared to this thread. Has Nintendo discovered peak parent-child asymmetrical co-op? At least it’s still an improvement over the joke co-op in Mario Galaxy and Mario Odyssey.

Also, as someone who played Luigi’s Mansion 2 on 3DS, that game also had the needless padding where at various points in the game, you have a McGuffin needed to advance and then this fucking ghost dog steals it and you have to backtrack all around just for the purpose of extending the game. I feel like this aspect of the game was universally criticized by me and every review I read, so it’s fucking UNFATHOMABLE to me that they just copy-pasted the design doc and still have some fucking ghost pet steal your stuff and waste your time with backtracking.

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Ginormous76

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@bakoomerang: Going to take this point by point. I played as Gooigi, while my wife (who we've played basically every co-op Nintendo game together with her as Player 1) was Luigi.

*It may not have been originally intended, but I'm glad it exists, and works well.

*This is the case in basically every Switch game. Not sure if this is a system issue or just the way people make the game.

*Not sure if you wonder why the low health or why even let him die, so I don't know how to respond. Gooigi also recovers health automatically.

*This is the case in many co-op games. Personally, I would rather this than the Lego approach (really messes with my head).

*What do you mean it's easier to despawn as Gooigi?

*The controls could be better, this was pretty heavily addressed on GB.

*This is the case in Mario games too. So, do you not like those?

*It's starting to sound like you want a challenging game and not just a fun game. You should try Dead Nation. I think it will hit just about everything you're looking for based on your complaints.

*Yeah, some of these were annoying for sure.

*Cat backtracking was annoying, and so were the cat fights. The toad part was fantastic though.

*Money both is and is not meaningless. The ending you get depends on how much money you have at the end. I don't remember the thresholds.

*I can go either way on the gibberish.

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Ginormous76

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#9  Edited By Ginormous76

Interesting to hear Jeff B and Vinny have such a different overall appreciation of the co-op in this game compared to this thread. Has Nintendo discovered peak parent-child asymmetrical co-op? At least it’s still an improvement over the joke co-op in Mario Odyssey.

My wife and I had a ton of fun playing Odyssey co-op with me as the hat. My wife played about 90% of the game by herself and then struggled with The Dark Side of the Moon. We started a new game to play in co-op with me as the hat, and boy, it was fantastic to just wreck bosses as Cappy.

@pooch516 said:

Yeah, my wife bought this for us based on the Beastcast talking it up, but not having a second player for the first hour + kind of killed our steam. I still want to go back for it, but it kind of sucks to have to wait so long to get the second character.

This could have been done much better. I agree that it was too long until co-op could begin.

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