What did we learn from the recent Luigi-centric Nintendo Direct? Read on to find out.
All across the world, Chinese communities are celebrating the coming of the Year of the Snake, but for the avid Nintendo fan, there was only one calendar on our minds this week.
During Thursday's Nintendo Direct presentation, Satoru Iwata helped bring in the "Year of Luigi," and at the head of this new movement for old Green 'Stache, we earned another extended look at the much-anticipated Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. The 3DS sequel to the ghostbusting GameCube launch adventure has been a long time coming, having made its surprise debut all the way back at E3 2011, but thankfully, the wait is nearly over. Now, with the game's March release impending, let us shed some light on the new details unveiled at the latest Nintendo Direct.
It is definitely worth noting how far the game's visuals have come since the initial reveal almost two years ago. Although Dark Moon may have unexpectedly dropped out of 2012, developer Next Level Games looks to have put the extra production time to good use, as there are noticeable improvements to the shadow effects, lighting—particularly the lens flare created when Luigi's torch faces the camera—and the overall level of detail in the environments. Producer Shigeru Miyamoto has said the game is more about slapstick comedy capers than it is creating horror (No duh!), but the charming haunted house atmosphere that was such a great strength of the original Luigi's Mansion is still here in full effect.
Along with these graphical enhancements, we also see an increased amount of moving parts throughout the mansions in Dark Moon, and combining these parts with the upgraded Poltergust 5000 is what forms the crux of many of the game's puzzles. In the most recent batch of gameplay footage, we observe Luigi using his vacuum clearner to aim and fire projectiles, uncover hidden doors by tearing up carpets, and inflate a balloon, enabling him to float up to otherwise-inaccessible locations. The enemy variety has been greatly expanded, too; as well as the regular ghosts, it appears Luigi can come under attack from just about anything in the environment, from suits of armour and polar bear rugs to jack-in-the-boxes and oversized Venus Flytraps.
Those ethereal paw prints mean that a Polterpup must be nearby. Here, boy!
We also learned more about the brand-new Dark-Light Device, which we previously knew could be used to reveal invisible walkways and objects. Luigi will need this tool to hunt down a new type of ghost, known as the Polterpup. These phantom canines have a penchant for making off with important keys, and in order to track them down, Luigi must trace the Polterpup's spectral footsteps with the Dark-Light until he is close enough to suck it in with the Poltergust.
This leads us on, finally, to the Scarescraper multiplayer section of the game, for which Nintendo has now pulled back the curtain on the full suite of options. Hunter mode, which was announced last month, has players working together to eliminate every ghost on the floor. In addition to this, Rush mode tasks players with finding the floor's exit within a time limit. They must defeat enemies to collect clocks, extending the timer, but the escape hatch will not open until every player stands on a switch at the end, meaning that tight cooperative play is absolutely essential to succeeding in this mode. Alternatively, in Polterpup mode, players must hunt down packs of the aforementioned ghost dogs with their Dark-Light Devices.
Which of these Luigis will play the Bill Murray character?
In retrospect, most would agree that the first Luigi's Mansion was more of a technology demonstration than it was a fleshed-out adventure title. 12 years on, it seems that, with the new mechanics and modifications to the original formula, Dark Moon could be the game we all hoped the GameCube original would be. While there are still plenty of reservations regarding the game's control scheme and overall structure, we cannot wait to get our hands on Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon when it is released on March 20 in Japan, March 24 in North America, and March 28 in Europe.