Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review


Despite launching Nintendo’s fourth-generation console with the lead role in Luigi’s Mansion on the GameCube, Luigi’s sequels always felt a bit sidelined. They were relegated to the portable platform, but it wasn’t because they delivered a bad game. The video game previously known as Dark Moon always had a positive reputation, but after the success of Luigi’s Mansion 3 on the Switch, it seemed like the sequel didn’t have enough time to shine. Thankfully, Nintendo and Next Level Games brought the game to consoles, and while it’s not without the oddities that were previously a 3DS game, there’s no reason to skip this part of the trilogy.

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Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD looks good, but compared to recent Nintendo Switch upgrades like Metroid Prime and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the graphics are tender. The game has been smoothed out and looks pointed, but it’s not an overhaul. The lighting and effects are superficial, but the animation (which has always been a hit with Luigi’s Mansion) remains exceptional. Watching Luigi cower and shake as he sneaks around and gets surprised by the ghosts is always fun and effective.

Walking around and sucking up ghosts, cobwebs, and money is a elementary pleasure, even if I never felt completely comfortable with the controls. Exploration is also often clever and charming. Stairs become ramps, hallways become conveyor belts, and rooms shift and grow unexpectedly. Each of the houses feels like you’re stepping into Disney’s latest Haunted Mansion ride, and I appreciate that each has its own distinct style and themes.

The game most resembles its previous platform, it is in its bloom – or lack thereof. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is designed to be played in quick succession, so you often find yourself leaving the mansion before fully exploring it. I often wanted to do more before leaving the building or just stay in the building to complete the next crucial goal, but that choice is not up to the player.

Also, while Polterpup is cute, I didn’t enjoy the missions where I had to track him down. Each mansion is labyrinthine by design, and trying to run through the winding paths to find the dog isn’t as enjoyable as walking leisurely, solving puzzles, and jumping through the air as the ghost appears out of nowhere.

ScareScraper’s online multiplayer mode returns, but it has to be unlocked through regular play, which is annoying. I understand encouraging the player to learn the ropes before jumping online, but it’s an unnecessary hurdle when you’re trying to jump with friends. But beyond that frustration, the mode is fun and your progress feeds into your improvements throughout the game. This makes you feel like you’re working towards one goal, no matter where you’re ghost hunting. Working together as different Luigis in different residences is fast-paced and suitably intense. I’m usually not shy about ignoring modes like this in comparable games, but I’m glad I spent time with them here.

I’m a huge 3DS fan, but I’m grateful that Luigi’s Mansion 2 is on Switch. Ditching the Dark Moon subtitle and giving it a number also feels like a solid choice to make sure this game is fully recognized as part of the Luigi’s Mansion canon, which it fully deserves. This HD version isn’t a radical remake of the handheld game, but it’s a well-executed port of an experience that always deserved a little more.

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