I don’t really feel the need to do a complete review of the new Luigi’s Mansion but I do have a lot to say about it; so this is a review, but it isn’t.
I loved the original Luigi’s Mansion for the Gamecube, it being one of my favorite games of all time. Sure it had a few problems but being a launch title I forgave some of the missteps or rough edges and even with them I replayed it several times. Due to my love of the original I was instantly convinced to buy a 3DS when the sequel was announced for it. Of course in the most ridiculous fashion this game I wanted at launch was pushed back again and again, leading to a lot of build up. Maybe it was because of this that I was let down, but I honestly feel like there were a few genuine problems. Now don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed the game overall, I’m glad I bought it and I’m betting I will play it more than once; the score I’m going to go ahead and attach to this article will reflect that. But, it is a flawed game and it shows very frequently during the entire game and during every mission. So to get this out of the way; bad news first.
The game is extremely repetitive:
The first game wasn’t extravagantly varied or anything but due to the free roaming nature I never felt like I was always doing the same thing the entire time, it created a sense of freedom. It may have been a false sense but it helped. The new 3DS version decided to break everything up into missions, I’m assuming to make it seem more portable friendly, and this really hurt it in terms of design. For one this separation made no sense at all because the missions weren’t all that short, ruining the sense of little portable missions to pick up and play. I really should of been able to just save in a mansion at any time since I could be playing this game on the go. This also caused a lot of repetition in how each mansion unfolds: you start out in the courtyard and can’t get in, find out how to get in, something stops you from getting as far as you initially needed, beat little swarm of ghosts, start next section to unlock a new door. That was pretty much how every new mansion went and that is a shame, you even had repeated patterns of how you lost the key or mechanism needed to raise a bridge. It made the game seem very lazy!
Too many things didn’t carry over from the first game:
I really feel like even if a sequel decides to go in a new directions there should always be an evolution in the core mechanics, that did not happen with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Many of the things from the first game were lost entirely; messing with elementals (fire, ice, water), a Boo finder, and ghosts with specific personalities. The lack of using fire, ice and water would be something easily forgotten if I didn’t need water and fire so often to solve puzzles. But that is a minor complaint really and I can live with this change in style of gameplay. But the lack of a Boo finder really made the game less fun in that aspect, I now had to mostly guess where Boos were and that was kind of crazy. On top of that you now couldn’t just go back and find them later like the first game, you had to replay the entire mission; needless to say I find that to be a major pain. Even how you fight Boos changed and not for the better. Before they just had the power to resist the Poltergust 3000 so you had to work extra hard to drain their power and chase them a bit from room to room. I wouldn’t of minded that to be more streamlined but in the new game you just made them visible, sucked up their tongue and slammed them once or twice before sucking them up. It just made finding them frustrating and beating them boring.
The boss battles were really terrible this time:
In the original game the boss battles were based on more human ghosts that had a personality and a small backstory; instead of being just another basic green ghost. This made for some unique boss battles even if they all had the same core mechanic on how to beat them; they all had their own personality. This time that idea was abandoned for possessor ghosts and swarms of smaller ghosts. while the possessors could (obviously) possess things to create something unique there was never much to that part of the battle and really just served as something of an annoyance before getting to fight the actual ghosts, which wasn’t all the interesting either. They weren’t unfun, but the atmosphere and personal touch wasn’t there for each battle.
And now for the good
Yeah I just did a lot of complaining, I even found the ending/plot twist kind of weak. But at the end of the day, I enjoyed more of Luigi’s new ghost busting adventure than what I disliked. Even with what was changed the game had a lot of personality and I liked all the little scenes with the various ghosts interacting and causing mayhem. The art direction was real good, though I missed the original look of the ghosts, and the music was fun and had some nice throw backs to the original title. The actual gameplay and control was solid as well and made good use of the 3DS, I even liked having the 3D on and thought it helped the overall look. I think that they could of made a much more streamlined product, a more well thought out one; especially with all the extra time. But that doesn’t mean it was an unfun game and I know that I will replay some of the missions and I would really like to get some people together to play multiplayer. It is a game that deserves the praise it is getting and deserves a gamer’s time but I just feel like it was a flawed experience, but maybe I just expected too much. It sits so close to being great but I just couldn’t go that far.