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

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Avatar image for alex
Posted by alex (3510 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.
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
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
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
Avatar image for alex
#1 Posted by alex (3510 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.
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
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
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
Avatar image for funkydupe
#2 Posted by Funkydupe (3613 posts) -

pn

Avatar image for thefakepsychic
#3 Posted by TheFakePsychic (255 posts) -

Pretty excited for this game, not gonna lie.

Avatar image for craigbo180
#4 Posted by craigbo180 (1763 posts) -
@Funkydupe said:
pn
Stay classy.
Avatar image for buttonbasher
#5 Posted by Buttonbasher (24 posts) -

Next Level Games, not Retro Studios.

Avatar image for funkydupe
#6 Posted by Funkydupe (3613 posts) -
@craigbo180 said:
@Funkydupe said:
pn
Stay classy.
For you, always.
Avatar image for coldplay619
#7 Posted by Coldplay619 (15 posts) -

Next Level Games are developing Luigi's Mansion D:

Avatar image for hwy_61
#8 Posted by hwy_61 (1053 posts) -

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

Avatar image for buscemi
#9 Posted by Buscemi (1125 posts) -

Oh, Manfred Mann's version for sure.

Avatar image for alex
#10 Posted by alex (3510 posts) -

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

Staff
Avatar image for nintendoeats
#11 Posted by nintendoeats (6223 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.

Avatar image for 1960sspiderman
#12 Posted by 1960sSpiderman (27 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.

Avatar image for carpetremnant
#13 Posted by CarpetRemnant (392 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.

Avatar image for funkydupe
#14 Posted by Funkydupe (3613 posts) -

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

Avatar image for towers
#15 Posted by Towers (97 posts) -

Manfred Mann

Avatar image for hwy_61
#16 Posted by hwy_61 (1053 posts) -

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

Avatar image for master_funk
#17 Posted by Master_Funk (764 posts) -

Some cool games coming for 3DS to warrant a purchase

Also, Springsteen's original any day.

Online
Avatar image for funkydupe
#18 Posted by Funkydupe (3613 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.
Avatar image for afroman269
#19 Posted by Afroman269 (7440 posts) -

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

Avatar image for rincewind
#20 Posted by Rincewind (396 posts) -

Bustin' makes me feel good.

Avatar image for lordxavierbritish
#21 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6651 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.

Avatar image for nighthavok313
#22 Posted by nighthavok313 (19 posts) -

EARTH BAND!

Avatar image for hwy_61
#23 Posted by hwy_61 (1053 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.

Avatar image for shadyspace
#24 Posted by shadyspace (486 posts) -

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

Avatar image for alistercat
#25 Posted by AlisterCat (7497 posts) -

I cannot wait. So far off.

Avatar image for vicrattlehead
#26 Posted by VicRattlehead (1417 posts) -

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

Avatar image for genjai
#27 Posted by Genjai (311 posts) -

reinvented the vacuum cleaner

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

Avatar image for airules
#28 Posted by airules (138 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?

Avatar image for funkydupe
#29 Posted by Funkydupe (3613 posts) -
Avatar image for zippedbinders
#30 Posted by Zippedbinders (1185 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.

Avatar image for afrokola
#31 Posted by afrokola (538 posts) -

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

Avatar image for redsox8933
#32 Posted by RedSox8933 (2501 posts) -

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

Avatar image for kjellm87
#33 Posted by Kjellm87 (1735 posts) -

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

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
#34 Posted by ArbitraryWater (14786 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.

Avatar image for giovanni
#35 Posted by GioVANNI (1317 posts) -

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

Avatar image for paulunga
#36 Posted by paulunga (3165 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.

Avatar image for ckeats
#37 Posted by ckeats (496 posts) -
Avatar image for enigma777
#38 Posted by Enigma777 (6285 posts) -

Pass.

Avatar image for paulunga
#39 Posted by paulunga (3165 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.

Avatar image for zor
#40 Posted by Zor (749 posts) -

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

Avatar image for koopi
#41 Posted by koopi (31 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

Avatar image for manmadegod
#42 Posted by ManMadeGod (1625 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.

Avatar image for meatsim
#43 Posted by MeatSim (11151 posts) -

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

Avatar image for rmanthorp
#44 Edited by rmanthorp (4532 posts) -

LM looks good, loved the first one!

Moderator
Avatar image for dungbootle
#45 Posted by dungbootle (2502 posts) -

Luigi's Mansion was pretty good.

Avatar image for ohvee
#46 Posted by Ohvee (153 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.

Avatar image for shmio
#47 Posted by Shmio (25 posts) -

Grounds to buy a 3DS?

Avatar image for jensonb
#48 Posted by Jensonb (2045 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.

Avatar image for norusdog
#49 Posted by Norusdog (356 posts) -

no.  no it doesn't

Avatar image for pxabstraction
#50 Posted by PXAbstraction (394 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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