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Luigi's Mansion 2 review

If there's something strange in your cartridge slot, who you gonna call?

Nintendo proclaims 2013 the Year of Luigi just as the Chinese Year of the Snake begins. Talk about convenient: Luigi is probably terrified of snakes. He's terrified of most things. Like spiders. And bats. And mice, lightning, slamming doors and rattling kitchenware. In a brilliant touch, he's even scared of his own mission-complete animation; as the whooshing score table sends him leaping like a skittish gazelle you wonder how he even made it to the level's end.

When it was announced two years ago we wondered how Luigi made it to a sequel. Luigi's Mansion felt like a one-shot deal, a silly digital skit designed to flex GameCube's GPU muscles. Instead of a character with robust strengths - Mario's acrobatic grace, or Link's supreme chicken-bothering - Luigi was a walking punch line. Having heard the joke, do you need to hear it again? We're not scared of spiders, but we did fear Luigi wasn't relevant.

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If you've seen the score already, you'll know this is not the case. In Next Level Games Luigi has found something of a guardian angel: a set of designers able to embrace the silliness of the original coward sim while simultaneously ushering him towards bigger things. Well, say we guardian angels... the role doesn't preclude them slamming Luigi behind doors or pushing him down the world's longest staircase (oh... you'll see).

Monster In My Pocket

Like the Ghostbusters with their traps, the first trick is crushing a large console phantom into a tiny handheld prison. The large mansion is replaced with numerous abodes (some almost as big as the first game's) tackled in handy bus ride-length missions. These spice up repeat trips with new aims - activate the pumps! Chase the ghost pooch! Exorcise the organ! - using cool Metroid-like devices to lock off areas and ensure there's always new ground for the next trip.

Materialising in mansions - Luigi is vaporised through a CCTV network - never knowing what you'll find is one of the game's big pulls. Missions redecorate the levels, from gentle feng shui furniture tweaking to complete genre makeovers that ask Luigi to turn detective to hunt a ghost or pass obstacles with a co-op Toad in tow. With E Gadd's fungal flunkies by your side, you begin to view the world through the eyes of a worried parent, spotting every sharp implement at mushroom eye height.

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The game feels like a mix of old and new when the ghosts arrive. The basics are pure old: Luigi stuns ghosts to reveal their health core and sucks them up. Said inhalation mimics, oddly, arcade fishing games. Ghost pulls one way, you pull the other. In action, it's more like a wild rodeo, with Luigi trying to dig his heels into the ground as shrieking spooks scramble from the Poltergust's (Luigi's trusty suckbox) hurricane grip. All you're actually doing is tilting an analogue nubbin, but it feels like a truly epic battle of the wills.

Admittedly, GameCube gave digits more to do, with its second analogue stick moving Luigi and his vacuum independently. Its absence is counteracted by punchy new ideas, such as the A-Pull, a tension gauge that rises as you apply sustained pressure. Filling it fires a blast that not only drains ghosts faster, but deposits bonus gold. And as the ghost army evolves, the A-Pull becomes more and more important, helping to pull away armour and break paranormal shields.

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25 comments so far...
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  1. lazy_by_choice Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 11:35

    I pre-ordered this game like a month ago and I'll be playing it later this week :) this review justifies me buying it.

  2. vix_chan Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 11:36

    It's so great to know this game is finaly comeing, hopefuly will have mine this week, but with all the bad weather, i am not counting on it.

    well, been waiting years for it, whats a couple more days.....

    I hope it makes it on time.....

  3. smikey666 Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 12:40

    had an email this morning saying mine had been dispatched so it should be getting here on time just have to split my day between luigi and lego city though

  4. toffeeman30 Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 13:42

    a near high/perfect review score. are games advancing or our expectations lowering?

  5. KH81314 Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 14:06

    Wanted this game before but nows its a must buy. Cant wait to get it.

  6. MatthewONM Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 14:08

    a near high/perfect review score. are games advancing or our expectations lowering?

    It's a fair bit off perfect, to be fair. In this case, the game has definitely advanced - Nintendo know more about game-making than they did 10 years ago when the original came out.

  7. me4ndubz Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 15:36

    I wasn't sure whether I was gonna wait for this game or not but then Anthony Padilla got it so...

  8. Pyron12 Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 16:13

    Pleased with this score. I thought that if it didn't get a Gold or Silver Award the world would end. :lol:

  9. AaronMclaren Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 16:49

    Looking forward to playing this and Lego City Undercover Thursday morning :) That's my gaming fixing till exams are over. Hopefully revision won't suffer too much just from these two...

  10. Twinkle Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 17:30

    Can't wait to get this game! Hope it turns out better than expected! :wink:

  11. sgu07dh Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 20:35

    OMG its finally here! This is the only game I've really wanted for two years! :mrgreen:
    Even Twilight Princess seemed quicker!

  12. vtheyoshi Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 21:19

    I'll be getting this eventually.

  13. LuigisBiggestFan Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 23:55

    im getting this for easter!
    cant wait! :o
    my favorite ghosts are the Greenies! :mrgreen:

  14. Rawful Tuesday 26th Mar 2013 at 16:58

    i am not trying to spoil myself with this game as it looks good. may buy this one day.

  15. Waldy565 Tuesday 26th Mar 2013 at 21:15

    That score seems about right actually! This sounds like everything I want from a game, all be it missing my favourite genre, the RTS. I wasn't sure I'd want this, and it wasn't on my list at one point, but now I know I'll be picking this up... As soon as I have the money!

  16. Maia 34 Friday 29th Mar 2013 at 16:11

    I preorder my copy a while back and it took me a while to pay it off but it was worth it . this my first time ever playing a Luigi game but I herd so many Good things about it that I just had to get it and so far I am loving it playing this will get me through my exams, papers finals . now I can't wait for animal crossing new leaf to come out I also preorder it at gamestop can't wait until June this will be my first time playing an animal crossing game But this another game that I herd so many good things about . :mrgreen:

  17. Herbert_Rarr Saturday 30th Mar 2013 at 10:30

    Really enjoying this game atm, especially the thrill-tower.
    But has anyone else noticed a glitch where the sound effects for Luigi stop working for a while? I was re-playing the first mission to find the boo and all of a sudden the Poltergust and any objects I interacted with stopped making any sound. And a lot of the time I have trouble connecting to a player's tower over the internet.
    Only problems so far though.

  18. Mineturtle Thursday 4th Apr 2013 at 18:14

    Cant wait to get this game !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Adam Rowley Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 08:07

    this is game is very good, i got it last week and played for hours, the orginal was great but this was better.

  20. toffeeman30 Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 12:12

    also remains atop the japanese chart

  21. 1singie Friday 19th Apr 2013 at 18:51

    would be good if i could buy it! no stock here in Belfast in tesco, argos, asda etc. and i won't be getting it in rip off GAME at Ł40! was one of the games i've been looking forward to play! is it nintendo not having stock, or the stores not ordering it? who knows!

  22. MadNintendoFan Tuesday 30th Apr 2013 at 20:09

    I played the original and loved it, even though it was hard. I wish to get Luigi's Mansion 2, or Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon or whatever they call it... only if I had a 3DS. :cry:

  23. PT PRANA Thursday 2nd May 2013 at 19:48

    This is such a good game, but those blasted Boos are so hard to find!

  24. ProfPikachu Tuesday 4th Jun 2013 at 18:45

    Damn, this is definitely a game I'm getting!!

  25. dustinb12 Tuesday 15th Oct 2013 at 21:26

    im working this game now and i highly suggest it. this is very original, the exploration is a blast. it's like ghostbusters+scooby doo+Luigi. this gives Luigi a ton of depth as a character. who didn't want to be a ghostbuster as a kid?

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