Review: Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Felt Better on the 3DS
Image via Nintendo

Review: Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD Felt Less Limiting on the 3DS

When you have a handheld installment in a series, especially when its a less powerful platform than its counterpart or it involves a unique gimmick, it can be easier to accept accommodations or quirks. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a good example. You could accept the approach to castle exploration and certain design decisions because, well, that’s what Next Level Games had to do to get it to run on the 3DS. While I appreciated seeing Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD again on the Switch, the new platform made some of the earlier inconveniences more difficult to bear.

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Professor E. Gadd, now famous for his ghostly research, was working peacefully alongside the spectral counterparts in Evershade Valley. It was all thanks to the Dark Moon hanging in the sky. However, after it is shattered by King Boo, all of the ghosts turn hostile. E. Gadd (forcibly) call in Luigi to head into five locations in the valley to collect the ghosts and Dark Moon fragments.

Image via Nintendo

The general gameplay for Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD isn’t markedly different from the other entries in the series. After reclaiming the Poltergust 5000 and Strobulb from the Gloomy Manor, you can get to work stunning ghosts with lights so you can suck them up, triggering switches or other puzzles with light. The Dark-Light Device also involves revealing hidden objects. So you’re still searching for ghosts, trying to get through dilapidated buildings, and also collecting treasures to upgrade your equipment or repair the valley’s moon.

What makes Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD feel a bit dated and occasionally out of place is the structure. Both the first and third entries in the series involved a more open approach. Luigi could explore the locations as you saw fit, progressing deeper through locales. You could take your time with things. The penalties for facing ghosts didn’t feel terribly drastic. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon adopted a mission-based approach. So you aren’t just going through one whole manor as you see fit, tackling all of its tasks in a leisurely way and going back and forth between them.

You pick a quest. You go in and accomplish it. E. Gadd plucks you out again. While the general idea is still fun, it hurts the immersion a bit. It was more than fine for the 3DS too, since we were dealing with smaller screens, potential battery life issues, and maybe even going to the handheld for shorter play sessions. Given since the Switch already is home to the exceptional and perfectly paced Luigi’s Mansion 3, I felt it made the pitfalls of this format stand out.

This isn’t to say it isn’t fun! Perhaps that’s why it can feel like an issue. The different types of places Luigi goes on his journey to restore the Dark Moon are all quite varied. There are some challenging ghosts to fight, forcing you to think strategically when trying to approach them, stun them with the light, and suck them up. It requires thought and is enjoyable. So when you can’t just keep going and need to report in to E. Gadd after doing when you came there to, it’s like your mom calling you inside to play when you know your friends (or in this case more ghosts) are waiting for you.

Image via Nintendo

The other issue stems from a similar issue. There aren’t checkpoints during missions in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Tantalus and Nintendo didn’t add them for Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD. It’s fine. I mean, this is clearly defined as an HD remaster, after all. However, once you get to the latter third or fourth of the game, there are some missions and situations where that kind of accommodation would have been helpful.

However, I will say that Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD both looks great and I enjoyed the ScareScraper multiplayer mode a bit more this time around. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was a really vibrant and expressive game the first time around, especially when it came to Luigi and Polterpup’s expressions and animations. That remains unchanged here, though I will say you can tell from the textures and designs that it started as a 3DS game and not, say, a console one. As for the ScareScraper, which involves four people working to catch ghosts either in set blocks with certain difficulties or endlessly as it gradually grows more challenging, it felt easier to play and like I had a better time. Perhaps that’s due to a wider multiplayer pool at launch? Maybe! I just know I had a better time going through it together, though I did prefer the newer Luigi’s Mansion 3 take on it with its additional goals.

I suppose what really hurts Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is that Luigi’s Mansion 3 is on the Switch and feels like the definitive entry in the series. It’s great to be able to go back to the earlier installment on the system. Especially since it is fun for what it is. It’s still enjoyable, and it looks great. I suppose my only regret is that the format of it felt better on the 3DS, and the limits of the more mission-based approach are more strongly felt on this console.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is available on the Nintendo Switch. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is available on the Nintendo 3DS

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD

The magical Dark Moon that hangs over Evershade Valley seems to calm the ghosts that live there. But when it suddenly breaks apart, the once-friendly ghosts become unruly! Luigi must stumble into action and find his courage to restore the Dark Moon to its rightful place in the sky.

While Luigi's Mansion 2 HD is totally fine and looks great on the Switch, the mission-based structure feels more limiting on a console.

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Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.