By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a ghostbusters style video game where the protagonist is definitely afraid of ghosts! When he and his friends—Mario, Peach and Toad—are given an invitation to a lavish hotel, little does he know it’s a trap. Everyone is captured (frozen into a painting) and it’s up to Mario’s brother to save the day.
This sequel to the original GameCube program and Dark Moon (part two) picks up some days, if not weeks after his last Scooby-Doo adventure. After more than a week of casual play, I’m still not done. I’m enjoying exploring every nook and cranny. On a big screen, this game is very richly detailed. On Nintendo’s latest handheld (I tried it on the lite and first edition), I was squinting to admire some of the details. I’ve (pardoning the pun) switched over to the latest handheld just because of this game.
3D gaming (VR included) is a fad. I embraced the attempts because I hoped Nintendo would go further with the 3DS. They had the right concept but both this company and the supporters did not want to delve any further. Despite two more years of continued support, the likelihood of more 3D content is slim. The cascading effect means no one is going to be offering enough 3D content. VR is now far more lucrative than pushing the multi-dimensions. Sadly, Nintendo limited the handheld cameras so pictures can be taken instead of allowing short video clips to be made. Dark Moon was brilliant and clunky not only because the 3D space made for a lot of cool effects but also made a few levels difficult. Keeping Luigi stable on a balance beam without him being like Buster Keaton was frustrating.
This bumbling plumber still is dealing with platforms and at least I did not have to worry about the 3D effects being distracting.
The mechanics and the level design in later stages just as challenging. New features keep this game fresh. They include additional movesets for capturing ghosts. Luigi now has a clone made of slime to help deal with complex puzzles (I can’t help but wonder if it was partially inspired by what Egon hoped to fashion in Ghostbusters 2). I have yet to try the online multiplayer feature; this selling point is of particular interest since massive multiplayer options is all the rage.
Remembering how to play this game took about a half an hour to refresh the muscle memory. Every ghost needs to be temporarily blinded by a flashlight before they can be sucked up. When there’s 16 levels to explore, any sense of real world engineering is tossed out the window for imaginative reality bending physics and wondering if it’s actually a Winchester house where some passageways are actually wormholes to pocket dimensions.
This building is a cross between all the hilarious aesthetics from Disney’s Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror and the Sedgewick Hotel from Ghostbusters. Toss in a film studio and we are in a universe that’s stranger than Wonderland. After a while the silent film comedy antics of Luigi gets old, so I only play when want my spirits lifted. I’m in no rush to get to the end as I believe we can celebrate Halloween year round.
As with the 3DS version, one problem persists. Once when you commit Luigi to flashing a ghost, his position remains locked. You can’t spin him around to where the target is. I hoped this issue would have been corrected because the controls on the Switch allows for it. Aside from this flaw, the game is very picture perfect. We just need to give the poor plumber a chance to relax after a long nightmare.
4 Stars out of 5