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.