Of the five key titles revealed for the 3DS at Nintendo's E3 press conference, it was Luigi’s Mansion 2 that the received the biggest cheer; a rawkus din of whoops and cheers and wolf-whistles. The earache I've suffered thanks to the bloke behind me yelping joyously in my ear speaks volumes: he’s a popular chap, that Luigi.
When Mario bailed on the Gamecube launch back in 2001, it was his brother that stepped up to represent. The respect this earned him has not gone unnoticed; Luigi's Mansion 2 was the fifth and final game Nintendo revealed in their E3 3DS line up, and arguably one of the most important announcements of the conference. My ear still hurts.
Having played a good ten minutes of Luigi's Mansion 2, it fills me with warm fuzzy feelings of hope and enthusiasm to see some real Nintendo charm on the 3DS (this feeling became several times more potent after playing Star Fox – expect some exuberant words on that one shortly). Nintendo know how to get the most out of their software, and Luigi's Mansion 2 was a fantastic reminder of this fact.
A good portion of my time with the game was spent oblivious to the fact that you can direct the nozzle of Luigi’s Poltergust 3000 using the tilt sensor. Tilt down to aim up, and up to aim down. By pointing your nozzle at objects littered about the mansion – suits of medieval armour, chandeliers, cobwebs - you can unearth hidden coins and notes, as well as opening up new doors and secret areas. I quickly slipped into the habit of applying suction to everything in a room.
It wasn't long before ghosts and ghoulies were alerted to my presence in the mansion, and decided to do some good old fashioned haunting. Despite crying out like a little girl (a trait of Luigi's I really do love) the plumber can easily deal with the troublesome ghosts. By pressing A to drown the spectres in light, they're left in such a state that they can be sucked up by holding the R button. They'll put up a good fight, however, so be sure to follow them with both the analogue stick and tilt sensor to ensure they’re safely sucked up.
My time in the mansion was fleeting. I fought few ghosts, collected few coins and never made it to the Library where the phantom I was hunting was supposedly hanging out. I had fun, though. Even at this stage, it's clear that Luigi’s Mansion 2 is using the 3DS hardware in an interesting way. Aside from the odd gimmick here and there, the tilt sensor has gone largely ignored in most 3DS titles. The use of it in Luigi's Mansion 2 might be subtle, but it's intrinsic to the very flow of play.
Other features have yet to be revealed, but - to my mind, at least - the notion of ghosts and apparitions lends itself perfectly to the 3DS' AR functionality. With any luck we'll see features of this nature revealed in the coming months.
Given the lacklustre launch line up and subsequent apathy towards Nintendo’s new handheld (at least in core gaming circles), it's clear that Luigi - alongside his brother, Fox McCloud, Pit, and a grid full of karts - is well on the way to winning people over.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 has not been given a release date at this time