Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD preview – Hasn’t sucked us in yet

Ahead of a full review which we will be releasing later, today we can share our early thoughts on Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, a reinvention of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. While Dark Moon was released more than a decade ago on the Nintendo 3DS, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD arrives on the Nintendo Switch in what is likely the last six month of this console before its successor is revealed.

On top of giving fans a modern way to play the game it also gives us – newcomers to the Luigi’s Mansion franchise – an opportunity to become fans. Unfortunately, with a few hours of gameplay behind us, we haven’t been possessed by this franchise just yet.

Despite the aforementioned release so many years ago, we won’t be spoiling anything in this game in this preview, or in our review coming later. But we do need to set the stakes here: Luigi is once again called in to deal with some ghost problems with nothing but a high tech vacuum from Professor E. Gadd, some smaller gadget, a great moustache and a lot of fear.

As the game introduces the controls we hit the first and what has been the biggest snag of the playthrough: the gyro controls. By default players will use a trigger button to suck up ghosts with the vacuum, and the face buttons for the torch to get them out of hiding. From here rotating the Nintendo Switch will point Luigi in the right direction

Now gyro controls are a real Marmite subject in the gaming community. Some, especially those who are entrenched in games built for it on the Switch, like Splatoon, really love this concept. Others, like us, prefer to stick to buttons and joysticks for control. On top of this we don’t even have access to gyro functionality in our preferred way to use the Switch, which is with the Hori Split Pad Pro.

We can already hear complaints about gyro and our refusal to use it, but since the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons are so small and seemingly not made for adult human hands, we feel fine in our choice to go without.

The problem is that Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD really wasn’t built for this. Your hand that is activating the vacuum or the torch is also the hand that is supposed to move the camera and where you are pointing. You either have to stop using these gadgets to readjust the camera, or take your hand off of the movement controls for a supremely awkward “two hands on one side of the Switch” grip.

This has left our hours of play feeling clunky and annoying, even as we got used to it.

Thankfully the world and characters of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD are extremely charming and fun to discover. As we cleared stages we found ourselves more looking forward to uncovering more of the world, instead of actually playing through it.

It is 100 percent clear that this isn’t a modern Nintendo title, but a redo of a previous game, as there’s still a decent amount of rough edges and textures that maybe could have been improved further from its 3DS origin. Thankfully though the game runs very smoothly (something that can’t be said for all Nintendo titles) and the spooky music to fit the spooky vibes of the game are a joy.

On that note why is this game being released now? Halloween is months away.

Also confusing for us was many of the game’s puzzles. It should be commended just how much is packed into every corner of this game. On paper players only have a small amount of tools and ways to interact with the environment, but the devs have managed to stretch that into hundreds of tiny puzzles and challanges.

This does, however, come with the downside of frustration. Some puzzles don’t provide enough hints and other optional content is so buried that we doubt most people will be able to find them without a guide.

Right now our feelings towards this game are rather mixed. We like the setting and its ideas, but the gameplay is falling short for us and we’re not looking forward to picking it up every day. We hope that changes as we complete more of the game, but right now Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD ahs not converted us to fans just yet.

To reiterate, this is a preview and our full review of Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD will be out later. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get alerts for that and everything else we do here at Hypertext.


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