Entries in the Luigi’s Mansion franchise are few and far between. With only two installments in nearly two decades (and a shiny port of the first game to the 3DS), it’s time once again for Luigi to take the spotlight. I played a demo Luigi’s Mansion 3 at E3 this year and was pleasantly surprised to find new changes to Luigi’s arsenal and improvements to combat.
My demo begins with Luigi in a castle-like area. The visuals are detailed and on par with Super Mario Odyssey. The Luigi’s Mansion series has always focused on different and unique locales, so I would expect nothing less than wonderful visuals. This castle area is illuminated by strands of moonlight and create an incredibly atmospheric game.
Returning players will recognize much of Luigi’s arsenal, which tools such as the flashlight and Poltergust 3000. Combat still involves flashing your light at your ghostly foes to stun them and then using your super-powered vacuum to suck them up. This time around, however, Luigi is a little more violent. If you start sucking up a ghost up close, you can rapidly tap “A” to slam foes in any direction. Slamming a ghost on top of one of its friends causes damage to both enemies. I found myself surrounded by ghosts on three sides, but I was able to slam one unfortunate ghost to the left and then to the right to damage everyone. It’s a very satisfying feeling to fling ghosts around.
Luigi also has a plunger with a rope tied to the end. You might recognize this as an ability from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but this is the first time it appears in the Luigi’s Mansion series. Certain environmental puzzles and enemies called for me to use the plunger. Large brewing barrels within the castle could be pulled off by shooting the plunger and pulling on the string. This removed the cap and allowed me to get the key to the next area. The plunger is also useful in combat. Some enemies had shields and could block the flash of my flashlight. I targeted their shield with my plunger, yanked it away and slammed the ghosts to a pulp.
The most interesting inclusion this time around is the use of Gooigi. Gooigi is a co-op partner in the 3DS remaster of Luigi’s Mansion, and he makes a return this time around as well. While Luigi’s Mansion 3 is co-op, Gooigi can be used regardless of how many people are playing. In gameplay, Gooigi was able to slip through spikes unharmed to reach a chest on the other side of the perilous trap. I can imagine a lot of situations where Gooigi will become a useful and fun mechanic.
While I enjoyed every new inclusion so far, the controls to aim the your Poltergust, light, and plunger is finicky and difficult to use. It takes some patience to aim your equipment correctly and is a tad troublesome when in the midst of combat. At the very least, the plunger would benefit from some auto-aim to make Luigi’s Mansion 3 play as easy as possible.
The boss fight at the end of my demo is promising, at the very least. A ghostly king charged at me clad in armor and wielding a long-reaching lance. To make matters worse, arrows shot out of openings in the arena, seeking to impale poor Luigi. When the king dropped his shield for a charge, I could stun him with my light and shoot a plunger at this chest. By pulling the plunger, you can get a grasp on the pesky ghost and slam him for damage. I did this three times before his armor fell off, allowing me to dispose of him like ordinary ghosts opponents.
My hands-on time with Luigi’s Mansion 3 was brief, but it proves that Luigi can stand on his own two feet. Mario might take the spotlight more often than his younger brother, but you can’t deny that the Luigi’s Mansion series is tons of fun to play. I’m pleased to see the final result later this year, and the demo left me with high hopes for the finished product.
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