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Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review

Oh no, here we go again!

The thing about Luigi is his insistence that he isn’t main character material. Always playing second fiddle to his brother, nervously bumbling his way through one adventure after another, often finding himself in trouble and relying on his more famous sibling to save the day. Yet, when he finds himself alone, the former green pallet swap has managed to build a decent resume of accomplishments all his own. Even Mario can’t say he’s ever busted a ghost before, which makes Luigi’s Mansion such a unique breath of fresh air amongst a myriad of familiarity across the Mushroom Kingdom, even if we’re revisiting its ghostly halls.

Having survived the haunted mansion game once before, Luigi is called upon by Professor E. Gadd to gather his nerves and the Poltergust 5000 to clear out another haunted mansion or two and uncover the whereabouts of the Dark Moon. Known to calm the minds of ghosts, the crystallised object has been shattered into numerous pieces by King Boo, setting loose the hordes in the process. Cue a series of spooky events that has our beloved younger bro hoovering up cobwebs, uncovering treasures and putting the ghosts back in their place.

First released on the 3DS, Luigi’s Mansion 2 took the blueprints laid out by the GameCube original some years prior and introduced a handful of new tools and ideas to expand upon the initial ghost-hunting concept. Capturing ghosts remains as simple as flashing a light in their face to stun them, sucking them up with the makeshift vacuum cleaner which can also be used to manipulate the environment, with the addition of a dark-light device allowing Luigi to uncover invisible doors or items.

What a classic, a good ol’ PSP

Whereas the original title had Luigi exploring one mansion, and Luigi’s Mansion 3 a giant hotel, Luigi’s Mansion 2 had our fearful hero clearing out five mansions of unique design. You’ll come across familiar foes and situations, rooms going dark as the ghosts tease and toy with Luigi, and some equally afraid Toads requiring assistance through ghostly quarters. You could argue that Luigi’s Mansion 3 spoiled us with its expansive inventions, its use of Gooigi and more open-ended structure, but the first sequel did a bang-up job taking what we knew of the series at the time and evolving it in creative ways, each mansion providing their own creative boss battles and puzzles to solve.

Given Luigi’s Mansion 2 uses a chapter system to break things up, checkpoints are somewhat lacking, leading to some challenging moments especially around said bosses and the latter half of the game itself. It’s hardly a Mario Souls, but the series found a good balance once the third game came along, whereas here there are some minor sticking points that those jumping in having only played Luigi’s third outing might find frustrating. It doesn’t help that the default control scheme still feels a little ungainly, a constant thorn in the side of the series to date, but give it time and you’ll come to terms with it long enough to enjoy the ride.

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It goes without saying, Luigi’s demeanour sells the game on its own. The way he hums the game’s soundtrack to settle his nerves, his knees shaking in fear when the lights go out only to let out a triumphant ‘yahoo’ when he clears out a room. He’s the most unlikely of heroes, which makes him even more appealing compared to Mario’s overly enthusiastic nature, an everyman thrust into a difficult situation and adapting on the fly despite his worst fears. It’s the Scooby Doo approach, though he isn’t as half-witted as Shaggy nor overtly silly as Scoobs.

Slippery little sucker

This isn’t the first time we’ve had a prior Luigi’s Mansion get the remaster treatment either, with the original ported to the 3DS late into that console’s lifespan. That edition did a good job translating the GameCube’s gameplay and cleaning up the visual identity in the process. Similarly, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD arrives as the Switch nears the end of its own lifecycle, upscaling the experience to feel more in-line with Luigi’s Mansion 3 and its bolder visual aesthetic, with improved lighting and texture detail. From a gameplay standpoint, much of the experience holds up well despite the lack of features the third outing introduced. It didn’t need a massive overhaul to get it up to snuff though, despite those tricky controls, which is a testament to how well it was originally orchestrated.

What’s unfortunate is the lack of new content, making this a largely straight-up port. We do get the return of the ScareScraper, a four-player mode that has you co-operating to complete objectives across various levels of a randomly generated mansion with a handful of options to mix things up. It’s a stand-out feature that I enjoyed playing back on the 3DS, so I’m glad to see it included here (with online functionality in tow), but it’s otherwise the same experience across the package as the original release. It feels like a missed opportunity, though it’s hardly the only HD Switch re-release to avoid adding any bold new ideas or extras. That oversight aside, grab a couple of friends to join in on the spooky shenanigans, because it’s a title still worth re-investing in.

Final Thoughts

Luigi’s Mansion 2 was a favourite of mine on the 3DS, and I’m glad it’s getting a second chance on a console with arguably a bigger and more appreciative audience than when it first appeared. It’s a confident remaster, clean and efficient despite the lack of new features, a reflection of how good the original was for its time that all it needed was some polished textures to get it up to speed. Granted, I’m perhaps a little selfish asking for new features or added content, but that’s how much I love this series. I’m just glad Nintendo continues to remember Luigi’s solo series exists, which gives me hope we may see a fourth title sometime down the track. We can’t have Luigi thinking he’s safe forever, nor just an afterthought behind is brother either.

Reviewed on Switch // Review code supplied by publisher

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Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review
The other brother has still got it
Luigi, the loveable scaredy-cat that he is, returns for another outing that holds up well in its transition from 3DS to Switch. Despite being a straight port without any new features, it remains a gorgeous and inventive world worth exploring for old and new fans alike.
The Good
Gameplay and story remain entertaining
A solid port from its 3DS origins
Visual polish is a treat
Still the best music and sound design outside the Mushroom Kingdom
The ScareScraper is worth a revisit
The Bad
Controls are still a tad awkward at best
The lack of new content is a shame
8.5
Get Around It
  • Nintendo
  • Nintendo
  • Switch
  • June 27, 2024

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review
The other brother has still got it
Luigi, the loveable scaredy-cat that he is, returns for another outing that holds up well in its transition from 3DS to Switch. Despite being a straight port without any new features, it remains a gorgeous and inventive world worth exploring for old and new fans alike.
The Good
Gameplay and story remain entertaining
A solid port from its 3DS origins
Visual polish is a treat
Still the best music and sound design outside the Mushroom Kingdom
The ScareScraper is worth a revisit
The Bad
Controls are still a tad awkward at best
The lack of new content is a shame
8.5
Get Around It
Written By Mark Isaacson

Known on the internet as Kartanym, Mark has been in and out of the gaming scene since what feels like forever, growing up on Nintendo and evolving through the advent of PC first person shooters, PlayStation and virtual reality. He'll try anything at least once and considers himself the one true king of Tetris by politely ignoring the world records.

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