[NOTE: I try my best to avoid spoilers]
Confession: I’m not very far in Luigi’s Mansion 3. Was hoping to be done before the launch, but life has a funny way of stifling one’s gaming time. For now, it takes a seat at the top of my backlog as Pokemon Sword and Shield take precedence. From the bit I’ve played, I can definitively tell you this one thing: its opening sequence is really special.
Most games in the Super Mario universe feature little-to-no cutscenes. More of the modern games will feature one-or-two sequences that are mostly rendered in-game, but they certainly aren’t shining examples of cinematic flair. Most of the time, you’re just watching the stories of Mario and company from your standard gameplay camera angle as they move with their standard gameplay animations.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 stands in stark contrast. For the first 30 minutes or so, you’re treated to a number of slickly-produced cutscenes that outline the story of how the gang got into this mess. The camera places you in perfect view of each moment as we get to see these mostly-rigid characters move, emote, and interact in ways we’ve never seen before.
At first, it was a bit overwhelming. I’m not used to reading the nuances in Mario’s body language, but the developers at Next Level Games clearly put a lot of thought and effort into every frame. Once I got over the unfamiliarity of of this presentation, it became a real treat. Even though no real words are spoken throughout, the opening sequence tells you so much in such a small stretch of time.
Though it’s probably not necessary for the mainline Super Mario games to feature this level of production value, it’s inclusion in Luigi’s Mansion 3 adds so much context and value to the game’s opening moments. Not only does it set the tone for what lies ahead, but I feel like it showed us sides of Luigi, Mario, Peach, and the Toads that we’ve never seen before. Who knows how much more we could learn or what kind of stories could be told in this universe if they were given more opportunities to do things other than jump on Goombas, drive go karts, or play sports.
It’s going to take some time before I finally get a chance to play through Luigi’s Mansion 3. However, experiencing that spectacular intro has done more than enough to keep me excited for my next opportunity to play.
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