Preview: Luigi’s Mansion 2 (Nintendo 3DS)

Here's a snapshot of Luigi's lovely, ghost filled, vacation

Luigi’s Mansion 2 is sequel to the 2001 Nintendo GameCube launch title, Luigi’s Mansion and is an all-new experience built for Nintendo 3DS.

When first announced during Nintendo’s E3 2011 press conference, many fans of the GameCube original were perplexed as to why a sequel was being developed for the 3DS – Nintendo’s latest handheld console capable of displaying stereoscopic 3D without the need for glasses. But, did you know Luigi’s Mansion originally was planned to utilise stereoscopic 3D?

Since 3D TV’s were not as widespread as they are now the development team never enabled the feature in the final version. Skip ahead to 2013 and Nintendo can finally realise Luigi and his ghostly misadventures how they originally intended, true stereoscopic 3D.

And in this regard Luigi’s Mansion 2 looks stunning. The same cartoonish aesthetically used in the original is further fleshed thanks to the additional horsepower of the 3DS, and of course the auto-stereoscopic 3D. The 3D effect, at least in the preview build I played, doesn’t ‘pop out’ in the same manner seen in the likes of Super Mario 3D Land, more providing a greater sense of depth and feeling of immersion in the game experience.

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On the story side, Luigi’s Mansion 2 sees Mario’s lesser known brother, Luigi, once again set with the task of ghost busting his way through a spooky mansion. Only this time, he’s going to need to visit more than one mansion as the entire region of Evershade Valley – which, apparently has a lot of mansions and ghosts – has fallen under a sinister curse due to the Dark Moon having been shattered. Luigi’s task is to collect all the shattered pieces, bringing the Dark Moon back together and restoring peace to the valley.

Unlike the GameCube original, where the player was free to roam the mansion area Resident Evil fashion, Luigi’s Mansion 2 frames its action in the form of missions. The shift to this game design not only provides players a greater sense of structure and direction, but grants the experience a more ‘portable’ feel. During my time with the game I played through the first three missions, each taking on average fifteen minutes to complete.

After each mission you’re ranked based on your clear time, number of captured ghosts, health lost and treasure collected. All this, as well as capturing new types of ghosts, all grants you points that go towards upgrades for Luigi’s Poltergust 5000. Fans of the original will be familiar with the basic functions of the Poltergust, Luigi’s primary weapon against the ghostly hordes he faces.

Not only that, you can use it to interactive with the environment to reveal hiding ghosts, gold coins, secret treasures or to solve a puzzle. Since the Poltergust was controlled on the GameCube with a second analog stick, you can accurately direction your sucking/blowing direction by either using numerous face buttons or the 3DS’ gyroscope and accelerometer.

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Outside of how the game is structured, the greater emphasis on puzzles is possibly the biggest change to the single-player portion of Luigi’s Mansion 2. The path set in front of you is usually never quite clear, and some trail and error is required before you ‘stumble’ on the way forward. This of course encourages you to explore the mansion’s a little more, and since you’re usually blocked from progressing further than the current mission you’re playing allows you’ll never loose direction.

If you do lose your way, Luigi has his trusted Dual Scream (DS for short) which is modelled after the “phat” Nintendo DS first released in 2004. Much like the GameBoy Horror found in the first game, the Dual Scream provides you vital gameplay information including health, collected gold and a map of your current mansion, all presented on the 3DS’ touchscreen. The Dual Scream also functions as a communication device so Professor E.Gadd can talk to Luigi at anytime, providing objective hints or general advice.

Gameplay in Luigi’s Mansion 2 feels very similar to how it did in the GameCube original, though has a greater feel of strategy about it. You still stun ghosts by building up charge with your flashlight, then hold down the right should button to suck in your prey. Ghosts will attempt top resist, so you need to point the 3DS’s circle pad in the opposite direction. A ‘power’ meter will display on screen and if you’re able to hold the ghost for longer enough a tap of the A button will see them sucked in successfully.

Even in the short amount of time I spent with Luigi’s Mansion 2 I managed to encounter a handful of ghost types, all with different behaviours and attack patterns. From your standard ‘move around aimlessly’ ghosts, to ghosts who prefer to remain invisible meaning you need to blindly shine your flashlight about and ghosts who enjoy flinging projectiles at you, all require immense focus and resilience. Exploring the halls of the game’s mansions in search of all the differing types is sure to draw in completionists.

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Head on over to the second page where Aussie-Gamer contributing writer, Brad Long, will give his impressions on Luigi’s Mansion 2‘s multiplayer mode.

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