Luigi's Mansion charmed and terrified gamers in equal measure upon its GameCube debut. The title turned the survival-horror genre on its head with some clever, kid-friendly stories born for a cult hit. In the years since the franchise first came out, Nintendo has ordered its share of sequels, but it took time for Luigi's Mansion 3 to come around. And after completing the game, all I can say is that the wait was well worth it.
The game begins as Luigi, Mario, and Princess Peach go on a luxurious vacation with their Toad escorts. The group arrives at a rather spooky hotel run by Hellen Gravely, but the owner is far from a respectable entrepreneur. The free vacation was a trap to ensnare the Mushroom Kingdom heroes in a hotel filled with ghosts, and it falls to Luigi to save his friends when they are captured.
In vein with the previous Luigi's Mansion titles, fans start the game off with that story in mind. They encounter various ghosts before unlocking some much-needed equipment. Professor E. Gadd comes in clutch with his newest Poltergust model called the G-00, and gamers are off on their journey.
From the very start, Luigi's Mansion 3 is stunning. The artwork rendered for the Nintendo Switch title is second to none. Gamers will be able to see every bead of sweat poor Luigi lets loose in the mansion, but the camera angles are set as usual. In some levels, fans will wish they could get a clear moving angle, but those moments are few and very far between.
In terms of gameplay, the biggest addition to Luigi's Mansion 3 comes with its portable, secondary player named Gooigi. As the game continues, fans unlock E. Gadd's gooey creation, which turns into a functional second player. Gamers can either control Luigi and Gooigi in turn or choose co-op to play with another friend. Despite some fans' concerns about this coming across as gimmicky, Gooigi proves to be an invaluable part of the game. Every level will basically require you to use Gooigi to unlock collectible gems and cash. A number of the bosses will also require Gooigi to be used, but this did prove frustrating on several occasions.
In a final-stage boss battle, the game requires you to use both Luigi and Gooigi to defeat an enemy. The enemies are separated in such a way that one character alone can't do it, and the enemy is challenging to defeat in co-op, but very doable. When attempted alone, it is almost impossible to defeat the boss just by swapping between the characters. If you swap too soon, you will injure Luigi pretty badly, but waiting too late will result in Gooigi missing a hit. This feature will surely entice hardcore fans, but newcomers should be warned ahead of time.
There are seventeen levels total, and each are themed to perfection. Several are shorter than I might have liked, but their interactivity make up for it. Also, just about everything in this game can be sucked up or destroyed to earn goodies, so that helps. The game has also completely overhauled its puzzles with this sequel, and its ghost combat has been massively upgraded. Luigi can burst air from his Poltergust to disrupt a wave of ghosts, which better controls the field. Players can also slam ghosts into one another when they are being sucked up by Luigi, and some opponents will require you to use a plunger shot. This move lets folks shoot toilet plungers at opponents before flinging them around, and it is as satisfying as you might imagine.
My major point of contention with the game comes with its boss discrepancies. Luigi's Mansion 3 can go from being easy to wildly difficult and back again with little warning. Players aren't given a clear heads up when this transition happens, so some fans may want to quit in rage during certain bosses. One boss, in particular, comes to mind, but again, the use of Gooigi can soften the blow if you strategize.
The game's best highlights definitely comes with its renewed focus on exploration. Players will likely rejoice in the hotel's creativity, and they'll be able to explore every inch of it. It goes without saying that Luigi's Mansion 3 put care into its setting, but Nintendo went above when creating this hotel. Hardcore fans will find touching nods to previous games as well as satisfying late-game unlockables. Luigi's Mansion 3 is also rife with hidden achievements, which quickly became a favorite of mine to figure out. From playing games with ghosts to completing obscure tasks, this sequel is definitely a game which completionists should have a fun time working through.
Beyond the story mode, there are two multiplayer modes called ScreamPark and ScareScraper. The former is a local mode where folks can play with up to eight friends while ScareScraper is done online. For both of these modes, there's enough variety to keep gamers from every walk entertained. ScreamPark has three different levels where fans are tasked with doing different activities while ScareScraper challenges fans to suck up enough ghosts within a certain amount of time. These multiplayer modes are fun to play with friends, but they're not the game's focus. Still, it will give total newcomers a chance to ease into Luigi's Mansion 3 if they'd like before tackling this sequel head on.
Luigi's Mansion 3 is a magical return to the franchise which newcomers and old-school fans will delight in. Filled with adventure and spooks, the sequel brings back what fans loved about the series' first game. Luigi has never felt more loved in a game before, even when he's been put through seven layers of ghostly hell, and fans will enjoy the game even in its most frustrating moments.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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