Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review – Spooktacular

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD Review - Spooktacular

I was a launch day owner of a Gamecube. I distinctly remember the day it entered the house… and was then shuttered away in the corners of my home by my mum who then intended to store it for some six months before we could have it for Christmas. While the launch line-up wasn’t rocking 13-year-old Paul’s world, there were some gems, both in the “launch window” and even amongst the day one lineup that really caught my interest. One of those titles, was, of course, a Nintendo-developed title – Luigi’s Mansion. I’d never seen a game up until that point where Luigi had been the star, but I instantly fell for the change of pace seen in the title as opposed to games focussed on the superstar Mario Brother. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the sequel, took many years too long to finally launch, but when it did, it rocketed up my GOTY list of that year, and still stands as my favourite 3DS title. Any remake had a hard act to follow, but Nintendo has once again stuck the landing with this Switch remake. Luigi’s Manion 2 is still spooktacular.

While it might be jarring at first for the many millions who discovered Luigi’s Mansion through the Switch native 3rd entry, to go back a step in terms of systems and mechanics, there are several narrative and world-design differences in Luigi’s Mansion 2 that help the game stand-apart from its technically superior title. 

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD again stars Luigi as he butters up to explore another Mansion looking for stranded pieces of the Dark Moon, a device that King Boo smashes upon escaping his prison, stirring up every ghost in the area, and giving Luigi a new job as a result. With the new Poltergust 5000 in hand, Luigi sets off on a new adventure to find the five fragments of the Dark Moon that have somehow been dispersed across not one, but five mansions. There are a few kinks in the narrative but nothing that will leave jaws dropping to the floor, although, the presence of five mansions gives the game some environmental diversity that then enables some quirky, unique, and amusing moments as well.

As a gameplay experience, there were numerous quirks with the 3DS version that were a byproduct of the lack of secondary analog stick on the platform. Aiming the Poltergust was always a challenge, but, with Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD adopting many base control functions that were seen in the newer Luigi’s Mansion 3, the claw grip that you would sometimes need to apply, just to complete simple activities is no longer required – a huge win. Beyond the controller improvements, Luigi utilises the Poltergust and the new (to that game) Dual Scream device to navigate environments and creatively uncover the presence of hiding ghosts. You might have played a more recent game and feel as though you know all the tricks that original developer, Next Level Games have in store, but this earlier entry still tosses some surprising curveballs at you as you need to expend a bit of grey matter to find your way through the games’ numerous puzzles and combat challenges. The level-based design of the game allowed the team to change things up on the fly, something that was greatly appreciated in 2013 and still holds up strongly now, while the many secrets concealed within ensures that the player will have plenty to do across up to 30 hours of gameplay. The Scarescaper returns as well, allowing the player to partner up with friends or family to party up for a range of fun, spooky, and silly activities. It’s not as accessible as Luigi’s Mansion 3, with everyone requiring a copy of the game to play, but it’s well worth it for a few hours of fun. 

Technical improvements, pair with greatly enhanced visuals to make Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD an infinitely more enjoyable experience. This port has had a lot of love put into reinvigorating the environments, re-balancing the lighting, and making many other immersion-enhancing visual, audio and controller-based improvements. Rumble and motion controls work well as well, adding weight to a previously weightless game in that sense.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was the best game on the 3DS and is now right up there with the best of the Switch as well. It’s not received as much love as it deserves in this remaster/remake, but it makes a once-stranded game available to an even larger audience who is more in love with the IP now, than ever before. 

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD Review Box

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch with a code kindly provided by Nintendo Australia

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