Luigi’s Mansion 2 Review (3DS)
- Updated: April 11, 2013
2013 has been dubbed ‘The Year of Luigi’ by Nintendo. The first of many Nintendo releases which will particularly feature Mario’s ever-present kid-brother is Luigi’s Mansion 2. This long-awaited sequel has found its home on 3DS, and, along with his trusty Poltergust 5000, Luigi will once again enter spook-filled locations to clean them up. Literally.
The original Luigi’s Mansion came to Europe in May 2002. Eleven years is a long time. Surely the longest amount of time between any Mario universe games to have a sequel developed and released. Indeed, that was two consoles ago, and was sadly only one of the few original and successful titles for the unfortunately beleaguered Nintendo Gamecube. But it’s here, finally, to lay some ghosts to rest (sorry), in this year’s best 3DS game yet.
Firstly Luigi’s Mansion 2 is a much bigger mission by mission setup, and is also no longer set within a single mansion, but multiple locations. Luigi’s Mansion 2 also sees the return of Professor E-Gadd, to guide and assist Luigi with each mission, which includes mission briefs, upgrades, and transportation to and from each location. He also provides assistance during missions, through Luigi’s furnished DS, which also serves as a communication device.
The playable areas themselves are dioramas brought into life and are of course, thanks to the 3DS technology, now in 3D. As a 3DS gamer, I’m not one who turns off the 3D generally. It works for me, doesn’t affect my vision, and in most games I’ve played, it adds to the experience. Luigi’s Mansion 2 is no different, and in fact is quite possibly the best use of 3D on the console yet. When Luigi peers through windows and gaps, ghosts or other creatures often jump out at the screen. It certainly gives the ghosts an extra dimension too. Seriously, don’t turn it off without at least giving it a go.
Nothing has changed when it comes to catching the ghosts, but it’s as simple and satisfying as ever. The use of the 3DS stick to pull against the ghosts works perfectly, and you’ll soon find yourself catching a ghost whilst dodging others in the same room effortlessly, although still challenging in the tighter spots. The end of mansion bosses are typically a much more set piece affair. For example, a possessed spider that requires Luigi to burn through 3 layers of webbing in order to extract the ghost for capture, with the only fire outlet attached to haunted armour that attacks you when nearby.
This is another of Luigi’s Mansion’s successes: it requires thinking to succeed. You’re not in just fetch-quest territory; as the game progresses you will often be left scratching your head wondering how to get to the required room, or even across a simple gap. It’s all handled supremely well; with the tools provided it’s a case of spotting the right areas to use them. This includes the surroundings also, filling water buckets for pressure switches, making fire torches with balls of webbing lying around, and much more. Most items such as cupboards, tables and the like are interactive in some way, whether it’s for money (used for upgrades), or that all-important switch to progress.
It all sounds a pretty simple affair, of which the premise and execution often is, but what makes it a cut above the rest is the ever-present Nintendo charm and atmosphere. Luigi here is such an endearing character; the gusto usually associated with jumping around obstacles to save the princess is replaced with fear and apprehension, but with comic timing that is perfectly exampled throughout. Luigi’s marvelous expressiveness shines throughout the whole game, accompanied by great vocals, supplied by the ever-present Charles Martinet. Little touches such as each direction of the D-pad providing a nervous Luigi soundbyte are pointless but fun. Also in true Nintendo form, there are grades for each completed mission, and lots of collectibles to go back and find to increase those ranks.
I’ve already read some rumblings regarding the lack of checkpoints within Luigi’s Mansion’s missions. Once you are accustomed to searching every vase, desk and drawers, you should easily obtain a golden bone, which if you die, brings you back to life instantly to carry on. That’s pretty much it; if you fail after that, the only option is the restart the mission. I must admit, for this genre its unusual not to have regular checkpoints, but it makes a nice change for once; in a gaming world now rife with save states and room by room checkpoints, it’s nice to see a more old school way of challenging you.
A new addition to Luigi’s Mansion 2 is local and online multiplayer. A bizarre addition you might think, for such a singular experience. Each player controls a different-coloured Luigi, in a randomly generated multi-floor mansion, with the group completing one of four possible objective-based games: Hunter, Rush, Polterpup, and Surprise.
The first is straightforward; eradicate each ghost and move up floor by floor. Rush is a race for the next floor exit, Polterpup involves catching ghost dogs, and Surprise is the option in which each floor could have any of the previous three objectives. It’s a surprising success, particularly online, and is also a great way to hone your ghost-busting skills, due to the competition of others and the breakneck pace. Progress and upgrades are achieved with the ghosts and money collected throughout, much like the campaign.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 is everything a sequel should be. It’s much bigger, with much more to do, more to find, and sure to bring you back for more. It’s challenging, works your brain, but with a few laughs along the way. By far and away the best 3DS game of 2013 so far. Hunt it down. Catch it. Keep it.