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Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD review: Not too spooky, not too impressive

luigi's mansion 2 hd title art

This increasingly seems like an era of remakes and remasters, with the latest being Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. Every company with a huge library of classics is diving into the archives to bring them back. Nintendo has found particular success with these remasters, such as the recently released remake of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.

Nintendo isn’t just bringing Mario back to the fold. His brother Luigi has been getting a lot more shine lately. In 2018, Nintendo launched a remake of the original Luigi’s Mansion for the 3DS handheld platform. Fans wanted a proper Luigi’s Mansion for the Switch, which they thankfully got in 2019 with Luigi’s Mansion 3. 

Finally, after a decade spent stranded on the 3DS, Luigi’s Mansion 2 gets an HD remaster for the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo showcases the polish of its remasters here, but Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD also displays the company’s unwillingness to shake things up too much, even when necessary.

The Good:

  • Significantly improved visuals
  • Twin-stick controls give the game a more intuitive feel

The Bad:

  • Its a full-price remaster with no new content
  • Lack of split-screen multiplayer, despite Luigi’s Mansion 3 including the feature

Review Details:

  • Platforms available: Nintendo Switch
  • Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
  • Official release date: June 27, 2024

A Shiny Coat of Ectoplasm

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD follows the same story as its predecessor, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. After the events of the first game, King Boo escapes his painted prison and shatters the titular Dark Moon. The artifact normally keeps the ghosts of Evershade Valley docile, but with its destruction, phantoms haunt the land with impunity. 

Naturally, the allegedly brave Luigi takes up new ghost-hunting tools and sets out to gather every shard of the Dark Moon. The gameplay loop is still the same as it was in the original game. Flashbang ghosts to stun and capture them, use vacuum mechanics to solve puzzles, and reveal secrets with various gadgets. However, the Nintendo Switch’s twin sticks make gameplay more intuitive and dynamic than it was on the 3DS platform. The smoother experience means an even better time ghost hunting. 

Speaking of “smooth,” the remaster’s updated graphics make the 3DS’ cartoon aesthetic more vivid and easier on the eyes, especially when compared to the tiny, jagged edges on the old handheld. The lighting also stands out, making the spooky levels more dark and gothic.  Finally, the jump in performance from 3DS to Switch is undeniable, with even sleeker animations and inputs than before. 

Familiar phantoms, for better and for worse

For all of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD’s improvements, however, it lacks imagination. There’s practically nothing new here for fans of the original game to explore. All of the levels are the same, the story remains unchanged, and it lacks many features introduced in Luigi’s Mansion 3, making this a real step back in the series.

This is understandable for a remaster. If it was a remake, these criticisms would be far more scathing. But it wouldn’t have killed Nintendo to add some of the nicer features from Luigi’s Mansion 3.

For example, Luigi’s Mansion 3 features a split-screen multiplayer mode. Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD also has multiplayer, but it’s strictly online. For anyone who wants to play the game with friends or family on the same screen, they’re out of luck, and accessing multiplayer at all requires another copy of Luigi’s Mansion 2 on top of another Switch console. It would have been nice to add split-screen support to add more value to the hefty price tag.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD also doesn’t cut down on the more grindy parts of the game. Padding, too many menus, and a primitive save system that sends Luigi back to the start make losing a hassle in many parts of the game, and not in a fun and challenging sort of way. Overall, there are just too many familiar flaws poking out from under the shimmering new coat, and not enough new benefits brought to the table to justify the full-price cost.

gameland.gg’s bottom line: If you haven’t played the original game Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is based on, this is still a solid experience, but it’s disappointing to see so little added to it considering the price point.

Score: 6/10 

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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