Like last year at Comic-Con, Nintendo took over part of the Marriott hotel to build the Nintendo gaming lounge. This year though, there were substantially less new games to try. Still, Nintendo’s gaming lounge was totally epic (and not just because I got to meet Charles Martinet there. More on that soon!). I got the chance to play a few new games on the 3DS XL, the best of which (in my opinion) was Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.
When the original Luigi’s Mansion was released on the Gamecube it was a fan favorite. It was the Gamecube’s best selling launch title and fifth best selling Gamecube game in the US. However, it was criticized for being too short (you could beat in in about 6 hours). Fast forward over a decade and we are seeing the release Mario’s green clad brother return to the staring role with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on the 3DS aiming to correct any shortcomings with the original.
When you begin the rather long demo (I felt I was holding up the line at my demo unit forever) the first thing you notice is how fantastic it looks. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is one of the most visually appealing 3DS games I’ve played. The shadows and darkness of the games mansion(s) really make the 3D pop. But more impressive than the 3D popping out of the screen is the depth. You feel totally immersed as you stare down hallways and survey the spooky grounds.
Moving about in the detailed 3D environment is incredible. The amount of detail that went into creating each of the rooms inside the mansion is astounding. A particularly nice feature I found is when Luigi looked through a window, it would switch to a first person view where you looked around by moving the 3DS. It may not be a new feature for 3DS games, but Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon executes it well.
Of course, like the original, the core gameplay of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is capturing ghosts with your Poltergust 5000 vacuum. Without the use of a second analog stick like the Gamecube had, looking around the mansion and capturing ghosts is a different experience. You use the circle pad, buttons, and gyroscope in place of having a second analog stick. The controls aren’t quite as intuitive as they could be, but with practice they are effective. While they are fun and unique, it does make me wish the 3DS had a second circle pad.
Overall, the game is totally excellent. The atmosphere it creates is impressively enthralling. I had a ton of fun with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon at Comic-Con and I can’t wait to don my green cap again when the game is released later this holiday season.