Luigi’s Mansion 2 Review.

Luigi’s back. Has the 10 year wait been worth it?

Its been a while. Go back to 2002, when the future for Nintendo looked like this. The Gamecube was out and people weren’t sure what to make of it. The initial launches were a mix of average to ok games and cash in duds. In amongst them all came Luigi’s Mansion, an odd little game where you an explore a mansion you had mysteriously inherited in a prize (even then, Luigi was made out to not be the sharpest tool in the shed) and suck up ghosts. It only lasted 4-8 hours, but the amount of secrets built into the game along with its unique sense of humor meant it developed quite a following.

10 years is a long time, especially in the gaming industry, so it was surprise to be picking up Luigi’s Mansion 2 and finding that, if you ignore the game being broken down into 20 minuet chunks due to the console it was on, very little has changed. Most of those changes have been for the better as well.

The various Mushroom Kingdom games have never really been known for their complex storylines and Luigi’s Mansion 2 is no different, but it makes some effort at least, setting up small scenes here and there that pay off later. Time has moved on for Luigi and hes quite happy resting in his house when he gets kidnapped by Professor E. Gadd, our mad scientist from the first game. He apparently lucked upon a valley where all the ghosts were friendly, until an incident occurred which forced him to retreat to an underground bunker. Now the ghosts are on the loose and E. Gadd wants you to sort it out, whilst figuring out what went wrong. Its hardly a great plot, but nor does it need to be, being just enough to get you out and sucking up ghosts.

Its here where the game introduces its first major change. Instead of the game being just one sprawling area, we now have 5 different ‘mansions’ to explore and everything is broken up into 10-20 minuet missions. I can understand why developers Next Level Games decided to make this change, as it suits the “on the go” style of gameplay Nintendo have always pushed for their handholds. Still, it would have been nice if after the game you unlocked a sort of “open exploration” mode. Too often missions railroad you in the direction you are meant to do, cutting down on the free roaming feel the original game implied, even if it was just that, an implication. Also, the mission structure means that more than once you end up repeating the same type. The “Chase the dog” mission was fun, but not after I had done it three times in as many mansions.

Another change is now the ghosts are less detailed and more cartoony. I like the change a quite a bit, as it makes Luigi’s Mansions ghosts a bit more stylistically unique, even if its at the loss of the named ghosts of the first game (of which bosses and special ghosts make up for anyway).Make no mistake though, whilst the brand of scares in the series is played more for laughs than terror, like the origional LM2 can bring on the creepy when needed. A certain room with a revolving dolls head is going to be in my nightmares for a while.

They don’t look happy to see you…

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I think one of the achievements of the game that people will overlook is just how characterful they have made our little green plumber. With just a few voice pops and some well animated moves, Luigi is given quite a lot of depth. Be it sighing at yet another E. Gadd’s crazy schemes or doing a little dance when he does good, Luigi ends up being a character I cared about because of his unrelenting fear about the whole situation (fans of Rincewind or Marvin the Robot will have much to laugh at here). That Next Level have done the same for almost all the cast of the game and even random ghosts, shows a deep love for the character and a suspect some of the staff have always preferred our lanky protagonist to his more famous brother. They even get him to do some actual plumbing work!

Online play is a good addition to the game, and whilst there isn’t much variety to the maps, it doesn’t matter once you and 3 other people are busting ghosts together. I had some problems joining games, but not creating a game for people to join. An odd little thing, but one I hope they sort out soon. It may even be a problem with my 3DS as no-one else seemed to have that problem. A feature I do like is that you can make online games with people who don’t own Luigi’s Mansion, opening up being able to play with friends and family without having to shell out £160 between you.

A game with giant man eating plants and the opportunity to fire toads at them get my vote.

Overall, despite some of the problems I had with the game, its really enjoyable and I can’t say I regretted purchasing it. Theres been a lot of love put into this game and it shows. Luigi’s Mansion 2 shows that theres life in the old plumber yet and Luigi is most defiantly number one. Its a Must Play for me.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 is out on 3DS and available in physical or digital form. Buy it just for the chance to throw toad down a bottomless pit.

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