"Great Ghostly Goods"
Outside of combat, the flashlight and Poltergust are pivotal tools in exploring the mansions and uncovering their secrets. Puzzles abound within their many rooms, most of which are unique and require clever thought to get around, whether it be using a ball of burning web to torch web-walls, attaching a balloon plant to the Poltergust to float around, revealing invisible objects with the flashlight's "Dark Light" attachment, or something else. You'll also find in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon plenty of nooks and crannies to explore in search of hidden collectables such as gems, money, and Boos. The game sets you to examining every possible object early on, and for good reason, too. Some of these goodies will go completely unnoticed unless you are incredibly thorough in leaving no stone unturned, no piece of furniture unshaken, no suspicious spot unexamined. The upside to this is coming out with a massive wad of treasure and the satisfaction of knowing you cleaned house.
All of the above, while it makes for a full (and fulfilling) experience on its own, is only half of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. For those who need a break from catching poltergeists alone, the game offers a multiplayer mode in the form of "ScareScraper". Set within a haunted tower, you can team up with others either locally or online to suck up ghosts, clear floors, and strive to get to the top of the tower.
The mode is divided into three sub-modes (and a fourth that mixes them together), each one altering the objective of the ascent. "Hunter" tasks you and your party with clearing each floor of ghosts before moving on, "Rush" with finding the exit under a rapidly-ticking timer, and "Polterpup" with smoking out and then capturing hidden ghost-dogs. Without the rules of each mode, however, the gameplay feels roughly the same throughout. Along with the other players, you explore rooms, examine furniture for items and keys, vacuum up ghosts when you find them, and then move on.
This is a good setup for quickly-tedious gameplay, but Dark Moon avoids this by rewarding player involvement. The game ranks each member by their performance, giving out better bonuses (which are used to acquire upgrades to Luigi's tools in the single-player mode) to those who bag more ghosts and money. While teamwork and cooperation are key aspects of the ScareScaper experience, a good sense of competition helps to keep things fresh.
"Fresh" is actually a good word to describe Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon as a whole. Not only does the game take the ideas and mechanics established by the original Luigi's Mansion and build upon them, it provides you with a unique adventure that is both challenging and charming. In a time when it seems like Nintendo is not going in the right direction, it is refreshing to see that the Big N hasn't lost its ability to dole out truly memorable games. Indeed, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is a truly remarkable game.
GameDynamo's Score for Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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