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E3 2011: Luigi's Mansion 2 Hands On

Developer: Next Level Games | Publisher: Nintendo
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Action

Release Date: 2012

The reveal of Luigi's Mansion 2 at Nintendo's press conference took me by surprise. I did not expect Nintendo to come revisit the idea of Luigi as a ghost buster, but I was happy to see it. I enjoyed the gameplay of the original, and it showed off the power of the GameCube and its new controller quite well.

Luigi's Mansion 2 serves a similar function for the 3DS. We don't know much about the plot yet. Luigi has hooked up with Professor E. Gadd again for more ghost hunting. This time, Luigi will be visiting multiple mansions. The environments are very detailed, and it actually looks great in 3D. While it's definitely not required to play, the perspective of looking through the fourth wall of the detailed rooms provides a lot of opportunity to show off the 3D effect of the screen. The analog pad is also an important part of the gameplay, as aiming Luigi's flashlight is important to stunning the ghosts, and aiming his vacuum is, of course, crucial to reeling them in. The gyroscope is also used to help aim up and down, and it actually works quite well.

The second analog stick of the GameCube controller was actually a really important part of the gameplay in the original game. The feeling of wrangling ghosts by tugging and pulling with the C-stick against their motions was something I really enjoyed. It's something I miss in this sequel. Developer Next Level Games has added new gameplay elements to make up for that though.

Luigi's vacuum can now be reversed. In the previous games, you could expel things that Luigi sucked into the vacuum, but now you can blow air out of the vacuum continually. Blowing and sucking air with the vacuum will be used to manipulate the environment and solve puzzles. Luigi's flashlight also has a new strobe ability which can be charged, allowing you to stun multiple ghosts at once. You can then try to suck multiple ghosts into the vacuum simultaneously.

Looking around the web, I see that other fans are more hyped about the sequel than I am. I was certainly excited to see the trailer during the press conference. However, I was a little underwhelmed by the playable demo. Still there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. The playable demo at E3 was very basic. The ghosts required simple stun and capture methods, and there was the standard use of the vacuum to shake up objects to release cash and gold. It didn't seem new or different. However, Nintendo's feature spec for the game promises that the game will be filled with different types of ghosts and hidden secrets to find by solving a variety of puzzles.

In the original game, after learning how to defeat basic ghosts, the enemies became tougher. Some ghosts were invulnerable until you figured out how to get their attention so that you could stun them with your flashlight. This often involved manipulating the environment with your vacuum. These kinds of puzzles are what kept the fun going deeper into the game, and they're what I'm really looking forward to. Luigi's Mansion 2 should have plenty of that, but it seems that the E3 demo focused on an early portion of the game.

Luigi's Mansion 2 won't be available until sometime next year. I'm sure we'll see more of the game by then. I'm glad to see Luigi starring in another game. Personally, I've always favored him over Mario, and like the original, this sequel features some very funny animations and voice work for the green plumber.

By Andrew Thivyanathan - 06/16/11

Screenshots for E3 2011: Luigi's Mansion 2 Hands On

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