Review by Adevara

"I've done my waiting! 12 years of it!"

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon! The sequel to the universally beloved Luigi's Mansion for Gamecube! We've been waiting a very long time for this (Yeah! Basically 12 years!), and Nintendo has outdone themselves in *most* regards here. However, many glaring issues with the game prevent it from doing absolute justice to its predecessor.

For those that are new to the series, Luigi's Mansion is an RPG with some puzzle elements. The premise is that Luigi has to accomplish some task in a spooky, haunted mansion. There's much treasure to find in the mansion, but hosts are creeping around everywhere! The ghosts need to be disposed of so you can get your tasks done, so Professor Elvin Gadd has equipped Luigi with a souped up vacuum cleaner. This vacuum cleaner, coupled with a powerful flashlight, allows Luigi to suck up ghosts and solve puzzles. You have to be extra vigilant: every piece of furniture could have money or a ghost inside! Any wall could actually be a false wall. There could even be invisible doors or furniture scattered about that you can illuminate with your flashlight.

The game plays like a dream, like what we all were hoping for. They've tweaked ghost capturing to be slightly easier. All it takes is a flash of light from your flashlight to stun any ghost (although some have defense mechanisms you have to bypass first), and you can get right to vacuuming up those baddies. A charging system has been added, to apply extra damage to ghosts as you try to wrangle them into your vacuum. The developers have really outdone themselves with this aspect; fixing what wasn't broken and making it even better is a nice thing to see.

As this is a flagship Nintendo franchise, the game needs to be held to a very high standard in regards to storyline. A weak storyline is absolutely unacceptable from the makers of titles such as The Legend of Zelda and Paper Mario. I feel that this game's storyline is acceptable. It's not anything super special by any means, but it's solid. Solid is good, considering they dropped the ball very recently with Paper Mario: Sticker Star's story.

Now for the bad parts of this game… Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is broken up into a classic World–Level system (in this case, A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2, etc.). I feel that the world and level system has unnecessarily broken up gameplay way too much. The previous title featured continuous play, allowing you to save whenever you want, and you'd only be forced to return to the hub after beating a major boss. With this title, though, after no more than 20 minutes of gameplay, you will complete whatever task you were assigned to, and will be sucked back to the hub and the game will autosave. These constant trips back to the hub break up momentum too much. In addition, your progress is only saved when you get back to the hub. Spent 20 minutes solving ridiculous puzzles, finding that super hidden out-of-the-way treasure, only to lose toward the very end of the level? Too bad! You have to start over again! No checkpoint in the middle of levels is an awful idea, and one of the worst aspects of this game. Nintendo did this same thing with Paper Mario: Sticker Star and it was absolutely awful and unnecessary. I'm thankful that it works better with Luigi's Mansion, but it wasn't needed!

Lastly, the graphics… The graphics are great in 3D. They put a whole lot of effort into making everything look absolutely glorious in 3D, and I applaud the folks behind the graphics team! But the game is sort of unplayable in 3D mode! The most efficient way of controlling the vacuum and flashlight are by taking advantage of the accelerometer within the 3DS to move everything around. Button press options exist for pointing up and down, but they don't compare to the sheer accuracy of the accelerometer. But as a result of playing this way, the 3D viewing angle is constantly disrupted, and you can't see what you're actually doing. For that reason, I've been forced to play on 2D mode. 2D mode still looks fantastic, but it's very disappointing that a better method of aiming couldn't have been thought up (the D-pad would've worked great! It's otherwise unused!).

Overall, I think Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is exactly the kind of strong title that the 3DS really needs to get itself off its feet. A slew of lackluster titles have been coming out lately, especially Paper Mario: Sticker Star which might have effectively ruined that entire series. But this game is extremely strong! Despite a few notable flaws, this game is a must-have title for the 3DS. It's just the kind of title the console really needed to get off its feet a little more (you know, before Pokemon X and Y come around).

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/29/13

Game Release: Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (US, 03/24/13)

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