Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Hands-On Preview

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD Hands-On Preview

Over the years, I’ve not shied from sharing my overwhelmingly positive feelings about the Luigi’s Mansion IP. In fact, my immense levels of excitement for the franchise’s third entry, Luigi’s Manion 3, stemmed from a deep love of the 3DS entry, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. That title, on a 3DS that boasted some unbelievably high-quality titles, was the pinnacle of what that system accomplished; not because it was a kind of creative masterpiece, but because it just did everything so well, and was constantly endearing. Now, more than a decade later, the small screen, portable sequel makes its way to the bright lights of the Nintendo Switch stage, and has, up until this point, put its best foot well an truly forward.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD might be a bit of a jarring experience for those who are new to the franchise, picking up Luigi’s Mansion 3 as their first entry. Luigi’s Mansion 2 is a linear, level-based experience where Luigi visits multiple different mansions, trying to collect the fragments of the Dark Moon which the escaped King Boo shattered. The Dark Moon soothed the souls of the ghosts, however, with that peace shattered like the Dark Moon itself, Luigi’s back, with Poltergust 5000 in tow to quell the hostile poltergeist threat. Equipped with the Poltergust and his DS (the Dual Scream), Luigi journeys out to put up the fight against King Boo’s army. So far, the narrative experience hasn’t differed to that of the original game, however it’s rare for Nintendo to resist the urge to tweak things that need improving, so while my experience for this preview cuts short in the early stages of the second mansion, I’m sure Nintendo has some aces up its sleeves for later in the game.

As a gameplay experience, I’ve seen no mechanical changes either. Luigi is still working with the same tools as he did in the original 3DS release, but with the addition of a second analog stick, something unavailable when playing the original game, players have cleaner control of the scaredy Mario sibling. While Dark Moon lost the second analog stick control compared to the original, it has regained it here, and movement is much slicker than it was before. It doesn’t mean that at time to time the player won’t feel the need to implement a claw-grip of sorts to perform the moves they want to perform, but everything is much easier to access than it was before. As Luigi acquires the Poltergust, and pairs it with his torch and the Strobulb, players will quickly feel equipped to handle even the toughest of challenges.

The lack of a dual screen does mean that features like the map are not as readily available as they once were, but anyone who has spent even an ounce of time on the Switch will feel very much at home with the different buttons available to access the game’s menus, including the map. Ultimately, outside of that admittedly handly quality of life aspect of the DS/3DS, Luigi’s Manion 2 has lost nothing in the transition to a new single-screen experience. 

Though not a full remake, I was quite struck by just how visually impressive Luigi’s Mansion 2 looks. My initial gut impression was far less positive as I felt that little had changed between the original release and this 2024 remaster, however it was upon going back to the 3DS title that I’ve realised just how heavily under the influence of nostalgia I was.  Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is a huge visual leap from the original, and while some occasional textures look and feel out of 2013, the overwhelming majority of the game looks incredibly sharp, and at least feels like it belongs in the current generation.

It may have been 11 years since Luigi’s Manion: Dark Moon first launched, but this remaster leaves it looking and feeling like a game fresh out of 2024. While it doesn’t quite stand up against the third title in the franchise, it still looks incredibly sharp, while on a gameplay and narrative front, Luigi’s Manion 2 HD continues to feel fresh and fun to explore. 


Time Until Launch (June 27, 2024)


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