Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review – Reach for the Moon

Luigi's return to Evershade Valley is a welcome one.

Posted By | On 02nd, Jul. 2024

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Review – Reach for the Moon

Luigi’s Mansion 3 was when the Luigi’s Mansion series really became a “big” IP for Nintendo, selling upwards of 14 million units and enjoying widespread critical acclaim, but even though it wasn’t as big as the game that succeeded it, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon – the franchise’s sophomore outing, which released for the 3DS in 2013 – was an impressive critical and commercial success in its own right. Now, with the Switch on its last legs, Nintendo has brought the 3DS title back with the help of Tantalus Media in the form of an HD remaster with Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, and though it’s obviously not an experience on the level of its 2019 follow-up, it’s still a hugely enjoyable game that, thanks to its remaster, is now not only playable on the Switch, but also looks and plays much better than it did in its original form.

What I found most surprising going back to Luigi’s Mansion 2 over a decade on from when I first played it was just how full of personality it was, and how much attention to detail it boasted. That has, of course, become a hallmark of this franchise by this point, but with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon having been a 3DS game, I had convinced myself that it did not have the same kind of absurd detail and charm in its environments, animations, and more that Luigi’s Mansion 3 did. And while that is technically true, it does have a lot more of that going on than I remembered.

"Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is bursting to the seams with little flourishes and more, making each room an absolute joy to explore."

From watching Luigi react to the things around him with hilarious animations and voice lines to marveling at just how many different objects there are in each room, how different they all look, how many of them you can interact with, and how differently so many of them behave when you do- Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is bursting to the seams with all of these little flourishes and more, making each room an absolute joy to explore. And of course, beyond those visual flourishes, there’s plenty else going on that makes exploration and digging deep into each environment an absolute joy.

Take, for instance, the fact that Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD gives you a handful of different ways to interact with your surroundings. You start off with just the ability to use your Strobulb, which is a flashlight that can stun ghosts, and Luigi’s trusty Poltergust, his iconic ghost-sucking vacuum cleaner, and over time, begin to acquire more abilities- like a dark light that is capable of revealing doors and objects in the environment that have been hidden away by pesky ghosts. Your arsenal of tools is ultimately a compact one, but each one lets you do different things, and figuring out which tool you’re required to use to deal with whatever puzzle you’re faced with is always a fun time.

Your tools are only one half of the puzzle though, because just as important to the bulk of Luigi’s Mansion 2’s enjoyment is how things in your surroundings react to what you’re doing. Using your vacuum cleaner on a ceiling fan might cause it to spin really fast, revealing a secret compartment above you, while flashing Luigi’s Strobulb on a wall safe can open it up and spit out bucketloads of money, which is used to level up and gain new abilities. Tugging on a rope with your Poltergust could cause a trapdoor to open up, which in turn could lead you to a previously inaccessible room, while using your dark bulb on a painting could cause a hidden gem to pop out.

Every single room in each of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD’s many haunted mansions is absolutely stuffed to the brim with tiny little details and flourishes, begging to be poked and podded so it can gleefully burst open like a pinata, revealing its delightful and charming host of varied animations, secrets, collectibles, and what have you. It’s a wonder that the game is able to keep coming up with new ideas on this front across the length of its experience, because there really is a never-ending string of delightful secrets to find, puzzles to solve, and collectibles to hunt down, among other things.

luigi's mansion 2 hd

"It’s a wonder that the game is able to keep coming up with new ideas, because there really is a never-ending string of delightful secrets to find, puzzles to solve, and collectibles to hunt down, among other things."

Combat is almost just as enjoyable. Once again, a large part of the fun is down to how much variety the game boasts- chiefly in the enemies you face. Many of these will, of course, be familiar to series fans, but there’s a host of different ghosts that you’ll be coming across throughout the game. Each comes with unique attributes and strengths, so you have to meaningfully change up your strategy based on which ghosts you’re faced with. Some like to hide in different objects in the environments, so you have to find them first before you can defeat them. Some might be wearing shades, which means you can’t stun them with your Strobulb before you’ve removed their shades with your vacuum. Some might be big brutes who don’t much care for hiding, and on account of their larger health pool, prefer to just take swings at you.

Dealing with each ghost requires you to do different things, and from what they look like to how they animate to the things that you have to do to defeat them, there’s always an incredible amount of variety on offer, making every encounter feel fun- something that, as you might imagine, is especially true for the boss fights at the end of each mansion. Unlike the original 3DS title, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD also introduces the twin-stick controls that Luigi’s Mansion 3 was built around, which means movement and combat are both significantly more intuitive. Aiming your Poltergust or flashlight around while you’re using it can still be a bit finnicky, especially when the game requires some degree of precision (which can happen from time to time), but by and large movement and combat are much improved in this remaster.

One area where Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD may frustrate some players is how it’s structured. This is a mission-based game, which means you’re heading out into whatever mansion you’re currently on for missions from Profession E. Gadd’s lab and instantly coming back as soon as you’ve completed your objective. You sequentially move through missions, get to the boss fight at the end of the mansion, and then move on to the next mansion, your ultimate goal being to restore the Dark Moon and restore peace to Evershade Valley and its enraged ghostly denizens.

For my part, I enjoyed the game’s structure, because I feel it ultimately strikes a good balance between letting me take things at my own pace and do plenty of optional exploration and collectible hunting, while still being an experience with forward-momentum that is based around sequential, bite-sized (or semi-bite sized, depending on how you’re playing) missions. But if you’re looking for something that is more seamless and free-flowing, in vein of Luigi’s Mansion 3, the structure here may leave you frustrated. Meanwhile, outside of its substantial campaign – which can easily take you upwards of 20 hours, depending on how extensively you’re engaging with its optional content – Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD also brings back the co-op tower-based multiplayer mode ScareScraper, and though it’s fun to play, it’s bafflingly missing local co-op, so the only way to play it is with multiple Switches and copies of the game.

luigi's mansion 2 hd

"If you’re looking for something that is more seamless and free-flowing, in vein of Luigi’s Mansion 3, the structure here may leave you frustrated."

As a remaster, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is a solid effort- at least as far as its visuals are concerned. Developer Tantalus Media – who also worked on The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD and Skyward Sword HD – has done a solid job of touching up the visuals of what was originally a 3DS title, with character models, environments, animations, and what have you sporting an impressive level of detail, sheen, and polish. Is it anywhere close to the level of Luigi’s Mansion 3? Well, no- but given the fact that Luigi’s Mansion 3 is flat-out one of the best-looking games on the Switch, maybe that’s too high a bar for a remaster of a decade-plus old 3DS title to reach.

At the same time, it’s worth pointing out that Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD’s launch price – $60 – might seem a bit steep to some, given the fact that outside of its quality-of-life improvements, tweaked controls, and upgraded visuals, there’s not much else here on offer- no new content, no additional mode, not even any new art of music to check out in a gallery. While I do fully recommend Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD to anyone who has never played the original game before, or even to anyone who has played it but still has a hankering to go back to it, not everyone may want to pay full-price for it.

This game was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch.


THE GOOD

Notable gameplay and quality-of-life tweaks improve the experience; Still an absolute blast to play through; Excellent blend of combat, puzzle solving, and exploration; Boasts an incredible amount of variety in enemies, locations, and more; Impressive attention to detail; Brimming with charm and personality; Looks solid.

THE BAD

Mission-based structure might frustrate some; No local co-op; Launch price point might be too steep for some.

Final Verdict:
GREAT
Luigi's sophomore solo adventure is still an absolute blast, and even though this is a fairly conservative remaster, it makes for a welcome return to the haunts of Evershade Valley.
A copy of this game was provided by Developer/Publisher/Distributor/PR Agency for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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