Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD review — Luigi’s 3DS ghostbusting adventure comes to the Switch

Look, I get it. Many gamers let out a collective groan when they hear the words “remake” or “remaster” or even see those two letters, “HD”. We all get frustrated with the lack of new IPs at times, but for every “remaster” or “remake” we don’t care for, there’s bound to be one that will trigger our nostalgia and hook us into purchasing. There’s a reason so many games are being remade – there’s an audience for it. In the case of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, I fit perfectly into that audience.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is a faithful remaster of the 2013 3DS classic, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, which I have always believed deserved a chance to reach a larger audience on consoles. Still, I’d be remiss to ignore that the transition from handheld to console could have been handled a bit better, as a few gameplay design choices were obviously created with short play times on a handheld in mind, rather than an extended couch session. That said, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is still a fantastic entry in the stellar Luigi’s Mansion series and well worth investing 10 or so hours into.

For Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, Professor E. Gadd returns, this time pulling Luigi out of his well-deserved life of rest and relaxation to once again hunt ghosts. E. Gadd explains that a mysterious and powerful figure has shattered the Dark Moon, a celestial body which helps pacify ghosts, and has hidden the pieces of the moon throughout five mansions located in Evershade Valley, leaving the valley coated in a thick and non-traversable fog. The only way to clear the fog, and to calm down the out-of-control ghosts, is to find the pieces of the Dark Moon and cleanse them. Luigi, of course, is understandably hesitant to participate, but Professor E. Gadd ignores his worries and thrusts the Poltergust 5000 into his hands and sends him off to the first mansion via the Pixelator, a machine capable of instant transportation, to get to work.

Unlike the first Luigi’s Mansion, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD takes place throughout five separate mansions, allowing for more unique locations and challenges, while also losing a bit of the sense of exploration and wonder which came from unlocking new paths in an overwhelmingly large mansion. I am personally a fan of the multiple mansion approach, though I know it is a point of contention for many Luigi’s Mansion fans. Each mansion does have multiple floors to explore and secrets to uncover, even if ultimately each mansion is easier to clear and often doesn’t attempt to expand in any unexpected or surprising ways.

What each mansion lacks in depth, it makes up for with a slew of missions to complete, secrets to uncover, Boos to hunt, and gems to find. Missions are bite-sized, normally lasting anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, and upon completion will send you back to Professor E. Gadd. You are able to progress to the next mission by simply completing the basic task laid out for you, but you’re missing out on a huge chunk of the game if you ignore uncovering and defeating the hidden Boo in each mission, finding all the hidden gems, and exploring the cleverly hidden secret pathways which are normally brimming with money. The game is never very challenging, though there are a few tricky mini-boss fights along the way, and each mansion ends with a more elaborate boss fight which will test your ghost-hunting skills. If you find and defeat all the hidden Boos in a particular mansion, upon defeating that mansion’s boss a new mission will open.

The main thrust of the gameplay is sucking up literally everything not nailed to the floor with your trusty Poltergust 5000, a highly modified vacuum which is able to trap ghosts and devour curtains and wallpaper in equal measure. Luigi is also equipped with a DS – lovingly dubbed the Dual Scream by Professor E.Gadd – which serves as your map, a Strobulb which can be used to momentarily blind ghosts, and a Dark-Light device which can reveal hidden objects. As you progress, Luigi will need to utilize all three devices to effectively take down ghosts, as with each mansion the ghosts will grow stronger and more prepared. The first few ghosts you stumble upon are essentially defenseless, but by the last mansion they will have shields, weapons, face coverings, and various other means of protection. When coupled with multiple ghosts often attacking at once, these late game fights become a matter of slowly breaking each ghost’s defenses while looking for opportunities to whittle down their health.

The Poltergust 5000 is a surprisingly capable weapon and vacuuming up everything in sight remains satisfying throughout the game. Combat, albeit relatively simple, happens sparingly enough and throws enough new challenges at you as you progress to never become stale, though there are a few moments of frustration when multiple powerful ghosts team up against you while you are confined to a small room.

I mentioned the missions are bite-sized, and this is my main gripe with this port. While I understand the necessity for short missions on a hand-held, this type of mission structure leads to frustrating playthrough interruptions on a console. Consistently I found myself wanting to continue my exploration, only to be ripped out of the mansion to return to Professor E. Gadd’s bunker for the 30th time. This, coupled with E. Gadd’s near constant interruptions on the DS during your missions to explain things which would be better off left for the player to discover on their own, does hamper what is otherwise a fun experience.  None of these issues are enough for me to discourage playing the game, only enough to provide a warning as it will frustrate those who have played Luigi’s Mansion 1 or Luigi’s Mansion 3.

If multiplayer is more your style, then you’re in luck, as Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD features the ScareScraper, a multi-story skyscraper chock full of ghosts and challenges to overcome either solo or with friends and online companions. While no local co-op is available, you can connect with nearby consoles, or hop online to join up to 4 other players to tackle the ScareScraper.

The ScareScraper features three game types: Hunter Mode, Rush Mode, and Polterpup Mode. Hunter Mode revolves around you and your team clearing out each floor within a set time limit. Rush Mode features a timer and sees players working together to escape before the timer expires, collecting items and defeating ghosts to increase the time allotted. Finally, Polterpup Mode has players utilizing their Dark-Light bulb to track down lost Polterpups.

When logging onto the multiplayer server you have the option to search for and join another player’s game, or to set up your own game. If you create your own lobby, you can choose which game type, how many floors (5, 10, or 25), and difficulty (Normal, Hard, or Expert). You can then wait for other players to join or begin your match solo. When playing with other players you can communicate by pushing the up, down, left, and right arrows to speak and you must work together to free each other of curses or traps and to escape each floor.

While the ScareScraper essentially has you conducting many of the same tasks you would in the base game, it is fun to join a team and work together for a common goal. It’s not going to blow anybody’s mind but is a good way to spend some time between completing mansions in the base game.

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Richard Allen is a freelance writer and contributing editor for various publications. While he enjoys modern gaming, he is a retro gamer at heart, having been raised on a steady diet of Contra, Mario, and Dragon's Lair.  Chat with him via @thricetheartist on Twitter.



Luigi's Mansion 2 HD

Review Guidelines

Despite the bite-sized mission structure and constant interruptions, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is still a great game, full of funny moments, quirky segments like Luigi humming along to the background music, and a gorgeous HD makeover which leaves no hint that this is a port of an 11-year-old handheld game. I admit that I was a fan of Dark Moon when it was first released on the 3DS, so my judgment may be a bit biased, but I still believe that Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is well worth picking up and that this HD remaster has done a fantastic job bringing a handheld classic to modern consoles.

Richard Allen

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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