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There was a twelve year gap until we saw a sequel to the offbeat GameCube launch title that put Luigi in the hero's seat instead of his brother, and now it's only taken six years to get a third installment. Hopefully that means another entry will be released even faster, because Luigi's Mansion 3 is another charming adventure of ghost-bustin' and puzzle-solvin' with our favorite green-clad plumber. A few new features put a fresh spin on Luigi's frightful expedition, though some minor issues have a way of draining some of the life out of the adventure. As the game begins, Luigi and friends are traveling to an opulent hotel where they've been invited to stay as VIP guests. You'd think Luigi would be a little suspicious of this kind of invitation at this point, but no, he's happy to make the bus ride (with an arguably dangerously short Toad at the wheel). It's not long after they've checked into their rooms that the facade fades and the ghosts of The Last Resort make their nefarious intentions clear, trapping Mario, Peach, and three Toads inside paintings with only Luigi able to save them. The game really doesn't try to do anything fresh or surprising with its premise, but ultimately that's okay because there's still a ton of charm and personality to enjoy here. It's not a cutscene heavy game but just seeing the ghosts living their best afterlives in one silly room after another is pretty delightful. And it's the kind of spooky setting that is mostly just cute and fun rather than bone-chilling, which feels perfect for Luigi's scaredy-cat adventure. It doesn't take long for Luigi to equip himself with a new model of Poltergust (by the way, Professor E Gadd has been caught in this ghoulish trap as well), and from there the gameplay is classic Luigi's Mansion. The Poltergust allows Luigi to suck up ghosts—after stunning them with his flashlight—and clear a path for himself to explore every floor of the hotel. For better and for worse, the combat system is largely unchanged from past games as catching ghosts is once again a bit of an unwieldy rodeo match as you try to hold on to a ghost without it breaking free. The controls make this a little slippery but it's never too difficult to wrangle a wraith. However, Luigi's Mansion 3 introduces an invaluable new move: the slam. Once Luigi has a hold on a ghost he can slam it into the ground for a nice burst of damage, even damaging nearby ghosts as well. Slamming can deal so much damage that it almost seems to make the game too easy, but on the other hand, ghost-catching can be so tedious that having a quick way of draining ghosts' health is more than welcome. In fact, even with the powerful slam at your disposal, combat can feel mindless at times. There are only a handful of different types of ghosts—though there are also unique challenges when ghosts are carrying shields or avoiding your flashlight—and ultimately catching ghosts is kind of a drag. By the end of the game it just feels like busywork rather than an engaging challenge. The boss fights, however, deliver some fantastic battles that are oftentimes just as much about puzzle-solving as they are about dodging attacks and getting your own hits in. There is a wonderful amount of variety in the bosses—including in their designs—and they almost always deliver a fun and even occasionally challenging match. Though there is one boss roughly halfway through the game that is a huge pain, and that comes mostly down to the game's tricky, somewhat imprecise controls. This fight in particular could have benefited from more precise Poltergust movement to make it less of an awkward chore. The other half of the gameplay comes down to puzzle-solving and exploration. Exploring the hotel is naturally broken up by whichever floor you're on, and each floor features a unique theme (including, somehow, a pyramid in the middle of this hotel? Granted, not the strangest concept in a Nintendo game). Creeping through ominous rooms and sucking up all of the valuables you can find is pretty consistently satisfying, though there are undeniably some sections of the game that feel like padding, e.g. retreading old rooms or just long, drawn out floor plans. Some floors also feel somewhat shortchanged while others drag on—the pacing easily could have been tightened up in parts. Luigi's Mansion 3 also introduces a couple of important mechanics to help you explore. The Suction Cup allows you to shoot out a plunger to help you pull down or destroy objects in the scenery; it's a useful tool that creates some simple but satisfying puzzle scenarios and serves as a good reminder to examine your surroundings carefully. The other major addition to Luigi's adventure is another Luigi entirely—or rather, a Gooigi. Gooigi can be brought in for some co-op gameplay but he's also required to solve a variety of puzzles, such as slipping through bars or grating that Luigi can't squeeze through. You can only control one character a time, but by swapping between the two you'll be able to overcome some unique obstacles. Gooigi seems like a rather silly addition at first—just making another Luigi feels suspiciously low-effort, developers—but his puzzle-solving and occasional combat uses will win you over. Luigi's Mansion 3 isn't a particularly long game, even with the blatant padding in some areas, and racing through the game without focusing on collecting optional gems or hunting down errant Boos will only last about ten hours. Overall it feels like a good length though, and the optional content for completionists helps give the game a bit more meat. Additionally, there are two multiplayer modes: the competitive ScreamPark mini-games and the co-operative ScareScraper that can also be played online. Neither of these side modes are likely to keep you too busy, but teaming up with friends in ScareScraper with objectives like rescuing all Toads can be a nice change of pace from the main game. The first thing that might stand out about the presentation in Luigi's Mansion 3 is the classic, cartoony style of all Mario games, but when you pay attention to the details you'll see that the game is truly gorgeous. There's a lot of technical polish here to make the shadows and lighting effects feel natural and believable, and the animation throughout the game is lovely. It's a shame that there isn't more variety in the basic ghosts you normally fight but there's no denying that their animation is beautifully expressive and charmingly goofy. The soundtrack is solid as well, though the stand out songs are a bit far between, mostly because the typical background audio is subdued and spooky. Luigi's Mansion 3 is a worthy continuation of Luigi's ghost-fighting adventures. It has the right mix of familiar mechanics and fresh features to keep the charm of the previous games while adding some welcome new abilities. Some unfortunate padding and the natural division of exploring one floor after another drags down the pacing of the game a bit, but players will no doubt still love helping Luigi face his fears and rescue Mario for a change. Rating: 8 out of 10 Ghosts