Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review – Back from the Dead

Despite kicking off Nintendo’s fourth-generation console with the main character in Luigi’s Mansion on the GameCube, Luigi’s sequel always felt like a bit of a downer. He was downgraded to the handheld platform, but not because he delivered a bad game. The video game formerly known as Dark Moon has always maintained a positive reputation, but after the success of Luigi’s Mansion 3 Switch, Part Two felt like it missed its time to shine. Thankfully, Nintendo and Next Level Games have brought it to the console, and while it’s not without the previous-3DS-game quirks, there’s no reason to skip this entry in the trilogy.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD looks great, but compared to recent Nintendo Switch updates like Metroid Prime and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the visuals are lacking. The game is streamlined and looks sharp, but it’s not an overhaul. The lighting and effects are perfect, but the animation (which is always a Luigi’s Mansion highlight) remains exceptional. Watching Luigi squirm while sneaking around and being surprised by ghosts is always entertaining and effective.

Walking around and sucking up ghosts, cobwebs and money is just plain fun, even if I’m not entirely comfortable with the controls. The exploration is often clever and fascinating. Stairs turn into ramps, hallways turn into conveyor belts, and rooms change and grow unexpectedly. I appreciate that each of the houses feels like you’re entering a new Haunted Mansion Disney ride and each of them has their own distinct style and themes.

The game is at its best in reminiscent of its platforming predecessor – or lack thereof. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is designed to be played in short bursts, so you’ll often get “pixelated” before you’ve fully explored it. I prefer to do more before leaving or staying in a building to pursue the next big goal, but that choice is up to the player.

Also, as cute as Polterpup is, I didn’t enjoy the missions where I had to track him down. Each of the mansions is labyrinthine by design, and trying to sprint through them on a winding path to find the dog isn’t nearly as enjoyable as leisurely strolling, solving puzzles, and jumping in the air when a ghost appears out of nowhere. .

The online multiplayer scarescraper mode returns but must be unlocked through regular gameplay, which is annoying. I understand encouraging the player to learn the ropes before jumping online, but this is an unnecessary hurdle when trying to rope in friends. Outside of that frustration, however, the mode is fun, and your progress feeds into your upgrades throughout the game as a whole. You feel like you’re working towards the same goal, even if you’re hunting ghosts. Working together as different lugis in different mansions is fast-paced and just the right amount of intense. Typically, I see no shame in ignoring mods like this in comparable games, but I’m glad I spent time with it here.

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

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