Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Tantalus Media
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes
ESRB: E

Here’s the problem with Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD: it’s not Luigi’s Mansion 3.

This is a little unfair, obviously, since Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is undeniably a very good game. If it existed in a vacuum everyone would be over the moon about it. It not only improves on the first Luigi’s Mansion game that came out way back when, it’s aged well, all things considered. Whereas other recent Nintendo remasters require some allowances for age, that’s really not the case here – it plays like a modern game.

And yet…it’s not Luigi’s Mansion 3. Luigi’s Mansion 3, of course, took everything that made the previous game good and expanded on it in ways that were substantially better. Its world was bigger, it was easier to explore, and it featured a slime version of Luigi that allowed the game to get even more imaginative in how it asked you to solve puzzles. It was a great game in every way, and Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD doesn’t quite measure up.

Because we’ve seen how that fully fleshed-out Luigi’s Mansion looks, it’s easier to spot the flaws in Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. Or, if we’re being honest, the one flaw that stops it from matching its successor: its mission-based structure.

Obviously, this made sense on the 3DS, where games were meant to be played in short bursts rather than in extended play sessions. You go in, you clear the ghosts out of a level in 10 minutes or so, and you’ve reached wherever you were headed while you were playing on your 3DS. You could close up the game and not feel like you’d lost your place.

Notwithstanding the Switch’s hybrid nature that would enable you to play the game the same way, it feels a lot less enjoyable here. Where Luigi’s Mansion 3 enabled you to explore the eponymous building and uncover all its secrets, here it feels like you’re constantly being pushed towards your next goal: Professor E. Gadd gives you a mission, sends you directly to where you have to go to achieve it, and then whisks you back to his lab the moment it’s done so he can give you your next assignment. It makes the game feel more like a series of quests and chores than something you can really sink your teeth into.

But again, this is mainly an issue because we’ve seen how the game could evolve into something spectacular. On its own, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD does lots of things right. The missions – while over too soon – are a lot of fun, and the game is always finding ways to give you more to do. Likewise there’s a nice variety between the buildings you’re tasked with exploring, so it never feels like you’re searching through the same rooms again and again. And, of course, as a star, Luigi is always fun and funny enough to hold down the fort without his brother.

And that’s why, even if it was outshined by its successor, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is still worth your time. It may not be the GOTY contender that Luigi’s Mansion 3 was, but if you give it a chance, you’ll still find it worth your while.

Nintendo provided us with a Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: 8

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD

Price: $58.99

26 used & new available from $53.49


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