I don’t think anybody would have expected a sequel to Gamecube cult classic Luigi’s Mansion, but here we are over ten years later – and what a sequel this is. The main issue with the Gamecube original was its length and easy difficulty; both issues have been dealt with here.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 is much longer than the first game (around 14-16 hours) and it is not easy, indeed, the game is not difficult but it is not too easy, particularly the boss battles. Luigi’s Mansion 2 is perhaps a little too difficult for younger players, as the controls are perhaps too complicated for the little ones.
The controls in Luigi’s Mansion 2 are smart for everyone else however, you really feel in complete control of Luigi’s movements and actions that are so expertly crafted and animated. Animation is the game’s strongest feature, playing Luigi’s Mansion 2 is a fantastic experience from start to finish and is a joy to watch – it’s like watching an Aardman film.
This is thanks to Nintendo’s and Next Level Game’s high attention to detail, everything flows perfectly and the movement is particularly enjoyable to watch, the graphics in the game are the best on the 3DS, and the 3D effect is one of the best I have ever seen; it’s not often that you can sit in awe at a handheld game, but Luigi’s Mansion 2 leaves you in this state more often than not. But the true icing on the cake when it comes to the animation in this game comes from moments of calm, when you see water pouring down you must stand under it for a few seconds – it’s hilarious, trust me.
Like Aardman also, Luigi’s Mansion 2 is funny, very funny. From Luigi’s talks with Professor E. Gadd to his shrieks at ghosts that are really not that threatening or scary. Everywhere you look there are nice little touches that make Luigi’s Mansion 2 such a feast for the eyes and the senses. This is a silly game, but that does not stop it from being a serious example of why Nintendo are the kings of game development.
This even goes into sound design. I cannot get enough of Luigi’s scared humming, the sounds of the ghosts laughing and moving in the distance and the sound of the DS going off to tell you that a call is coming from E. Gadd. I cannot put it into words how good the sound design and aesthetics in the game really are, but believe me when I say it is one of the finest examples of game development and design that I have ever seen. Even the way the game works is smart, the game is split into levels across five different mansions, while this helps with portable play it does somewhat remove the aspect of exploration that was in the first game (it’s not gone, it just works a little differently).
Talking of the level structure comes another aspect of strong, inventive game design, each Mansion is unique and they each come with their own different layout and visual flairs. The variety of level missions is great also and there is never a dull moment, you’ll be chasing a ghost dog (Polterpup), saving Toads from their painted prisons, sliding along ice, walking precariously across small ledges, fighting off mummies and you will go zip-lining just to name a few of the different gameplay aspects on offer.
But is it fun? Very fun is the answer. Next Level Games and Nintendo have introduced new gameplay features that liven up the game over the original. We have the new kind of dark matter torch that helps to find secrets and fight off boos (who act as a bonus on each stage); it’s a neat feature that really adds another layer of puzzles for the game. The gameplay is hard to describe other than saying it reminds me of a Zelda game cum Ghostbusters that involves clever puzzle solving and some pretty high octane action sequences of sucking ghosts into your Poltergust.
Gameplay wise however, it is not the best in the world, very fun? Yes. But it is not one of best games I have ever played, it all becomes a ted repetitive, but the design is always amazingly strong, and when you feel like the game may be getting just a little repetitive, a boss comes along to freshen things up again.
Fighting ghosts is as fun as it was in the first game, but this time around there are more types of ghost to contend with, each with their own weaknesses and strengths. To make combat quicker this time around you can supply a blast to the vacuum cleaner that takes considerable chunks out of the time bar each ghost has, and you can improve the level of this by collecting coins. Collecting coins does a couple of things, it improves your equipment and it improves your ranking for each stage, adding another layer to the game.
In each mansion there are also gems to collect, which add even more length to the proceedings as some of them are hidden away pretty well. All aspects of the gameplay and design come together perfectly and we are given a fully featured, fully awesome experience.
To top everything off we are given a fully featured multiplayer that is as good locally as it is online. When multiplayer was announced I was sceptical, too many times I have played a multiplayer that just feels tacked on. Luigi’s Mansion 2’s multiplayer is a mode unto itself, the scare tower. It’s fun and really adds to the replay value of the game.
There is one issue with the game however, it doesn’t run incredibly smoothly, the frame-rate will occasionally dip below 30 fps and it is one of the only Nintendo games I’ve played with loading screens. These are just small issues however that do not detract from the overall feeling of the game.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 in my opinion is a behemoth in game design, it’s practically flawless. It’s slightly repetitive nature and occasional dip in frame-rate do nothing to detract from the game, it’s a rare gem of a game that feels right at home on the 3DS, with animation and aesthetics good enough for high end PC games to boot.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 is yet another reason why the 3DS is becoming my personal favourite console of all time.