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Luigi’s Mansion 3 Preview: Slamming And Sucking Up Ghosts With The Poltergust G-00

Luigi’s Mansion 2 was a great game, albeit one that made a lot of changes that were at odds with why I enjoyed the original on the GameCube so darn much. The mission structure, lack of unique character ghosts for boss fights, and a simplified control scheme were all key culprits to why I didn’t enjoy my time with the sequel as much as the original – but I also understand why others might’ve preferred it instead. Undoubtedly it was a game much better suited for a handheld, and even with my qualms I had a fantastic time with it. New mechanics like charging the flashlight, searching for hidden gems in each mission, and the ever-engaging ScareScraper meant that even if I didn’t enjoy the game as much as its predecessor, I can’t say that I was outright disappointed with it. That all being said, beyond the excellent new additions that it brings to the series’ formula, Luigi’s Mansion 3 just feels like a better balance of both the first game and Dark Moon’s strengths.

The first thing I noticed when starting up my demo with the title at this year’s E3 was the controls. Perhaps unsurprisingly, with direct access to a second analog stick on every Switch system, controlling the Poltergust’s direction has once again been remapped to it, much like how it was utilized on the GameCube original. Players also maintain a much more precise range of motion for aiming the vacuum along the Y-axis, and in general, the controls just feel very much at home for anyone that has played the original game. Players also have access to all of the vacuum controls from Luigi’s Mansion 2 (or Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon), such as the black light, and the ability to charge a flashlight burst. These feel just as seamless to use as they did on the 3DS.

Luigi's Mansion 3 Preview Screenshot 1

Everything new Luigi’s Mansion 3 brings to the controls fits like a glove. Swapping out the charged suction attacks from Dark Moon is the slam – once you’ve sucked up a ghost enough to fill out a border along the A button indicator, you can press the button as many times as you want while the meter depletes to slam the ghosts you’re currently wrangling into the ground, damaging both them and any other specters within its trajectory. A new suction cup utility is now equipped to the Y button and is used for both puzzle solving and to deal with pesky ghosts armed with either a shield or armor. As long as you can aim the plunger at the item in question, you can simply suck up the rope on the end and either smash the obstacle in your direction or disarm a ghost so you can proceed to flash them and suck them up.

These two new additions in particular feel great, and along with the new burst function that helps Luigi deal with crowds of ghosts out to spook him, makes combat feel not only much more engaging, but also easier to manage to boot. Crowds of ghosts in the 3DS game could feel a little hectic, and while that still remains the case here, you never feel like you’re not in control, as long as you can remain confident in your abilities. Almost fittingly, since this is his 3rd time hunting ghosts, Luigi feels much more confident to play as, and certainly more efficient. I love it. Overall, combat feels not so much streamlined, but deliberate attention was made to let the combat flow more at the player’s pace, and not so much the AI’s. A great example of this is how flashing protected ghosts has changed from simply waiting for a ghost to expose themselves, to forcing the player to proactively remove a ghost’s defenses themselves.

Gooigi, while not only being adorable, adds just a few more wrinkles to puzzles in the overworld, and exploration – but I don’t know if I’d say he adds anything to the combat. There might be some applications for him I haven’t yet realized, but the demo I played really only used him for a few puzzles, and ended with a boss fight primarily focused on the plunger. Maybe he’ll see more use in combat later on or in other sections of the game, but it might be too early to say. Speaking of the boss fight, it appears to have been a rather early one, but more or less felt in line with boss fights in the first game more-so than those in Dark Moon.

Luigi's Mansion 3 Preview Screenshot 2

Similarly, I can’t say too much about the game’s level design from such a small demonstration. According to Next Level Games the title will follow the open gameplay style of the first game rather than the mission structure of the sequel, but whether that means the level design itself will take cues from the almost Metroidvania-esque progression of the first game remains to be seen. At the very least, the game’s visuals look outstanding, and have received a noticeable upgrade from what we saw from the game’s initial reveal trailer. I didn’t notice any specific performance issues in the demo I played, nor any obvious bugs. It was far too loud for me to make any sort of conclusions about the game’s soundtrack, too.

As a big fan of the series, I came away from my brief time playing Luigi’s Mansion 3 more excited than ever, and I can sincerely say that if the rest of the game lives up to the promise I saw from this demo, there’s no doubt in my mind that Luigi’s Mansion 3 will be the best entry in the series to date. I’m looking forward to playing more – hopefully Nintendo will shed some light on the game’s specific release date in the coming weeks, and here’s hoping we won’t have to wait too much longer to once again suck up some ghost’s as the green plumber.

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