Alice Madness Returns Review

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Alice Madness Returns Review

With apologies to Lewis Carroll.

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The visuals seem absolutely amazing. I'm gonna pick up this game just for that alone.

*Initiaites slow clap*

Seriously?

Well... I certainly did not see that one coming.

Agree with most of your points though.

How can you have gears turning in lava? wouldn't they just heat up and change shape/melt and completely fuck up the mechanism they're a part of?

3 and a half stars seems fair.

Reveras:
The visuals seem absolutely amazing. I'm gonna pick up this game just for that alone.

Likewise. Visuals were muuuch better than I expected.

Poem is great by the way!

InterAirplay:
How can you have gears turning in lava? wouldn't they just heat up and change shape/melt and completely fuck up the mechanism they're a part of?

You realize this is a game with a talking cat, a girl who can shrink at will, and a teapot that shoots grenades, yeah? Realism, not exactly the first order of business in Alice. :)

/golfclap

Well played, sir.

the logic of unmelting gears
is not such a long shot
if theyre forged of a alloy
that needs it much more hot.
like when you cook upon a stove
you're still left with a pot.

upon the last rythmic line
wherein was placed the rating
i did legitimately smile
there was no trace of hating.
the wit that was presented there
makes me think of mating.

It's a nice looking game for sure. I might pick it up at some point.

It looks absolutely GORGEOUS on my PC, which isn't even that high-end. I don't usually play these kind of games so most of the mechanics aren't that boring to me yet. Love this game!

That's a damned clever review, what prompted the verse?
It's such a shame, this game could have been so much better. It's got all the story elements and settings to be a masterpiece, but falls short on execution.

GeorgW:
That's a damned clever review, what prompted the verse?

It's a game based on Alice, so writing the review in in ballad style just felt right.

Thank you very much for that, Steve. The Escapists' own Poet Laureate.

This is my favorite game of the year so far. Simplistic? Hell yes it is, but I don't care. I've missed the heyday of the (3D) platformer and I just think its a joy to jump around (and then dodge just before Alice lands). Beautiful game, crazy story and characters, fun platforming...I love it.

There is no nobler achievement in game design than making the process of getting from point A to point B entertaining.

Good review. I'd say the environments and storytelling carried me through one playthrough without ever getting bored, so the Butts' warning that I might get bored halfway through didn't apply, at least in my case.

A little disappointed that it was linear (and that painting the rose led to such a boring reward), but overall well worth playing.

Excellent review!

The video is not showing up for me in the review itself, I just have a large black box. I can access the video directly but when I click it to play I get the same black box.

Sounds like an aesthetic that would be right up my alley. Having not played the first game, would I be able to jump right into this one?

Steve Butts:

GeorgW:
That's a damned clever review, what prompted the verse?

It's a game based on Alice, so writing the review in in ballad style just felt right.

Well, I'm impressed. This kind of cleverness is why I love the Escapist. Did it take you long?

Panzervaughn:

upon the last rythmic line
wherein was placed the rating
i did legitimately smile
there was no trace of hating.
the wit that was presented there
makes me think of mating.

You have a very odd method of forplay.

Steve Butts:

GeorgW:
That's a damned clever review, what prompted the verse?

It's a game based on Alice, so writing the review in in ballad style just felt right.

He-hey A chance to give my personal Kodus! Well done, man. That was a great review.

It highlighted to me how much I suck at poetry when it took my three whole verses to figure out the tune.

I've been on the fence about getting this game.

Damn it all.... I'm going to buy it anyways.

The story is quite insane
The platforming quite redundant
The hack-n-slashing is mundane
And the collectibles abundant
But all these bits and pieces
When encountered on your quest
Does not make the game feces
On that, I'll place my bet

GeorgW:
Well, I'm impressed. This kind of cleverness is why I love the Escapist. Did it take you long?

The idea for this percolated over the weekend and came out in fragments here and there. Then it was just about putting the pieces together.

Proteus214:
Sounds like an aesthetic that would be right up my alley. Having not played the first game, would I be able to jump right into this one?

I'm wondering about the same thing you are, even though I played the first one, a long time ago.

This review style was quite new
as it left Dr. wonderful in awe
As he sat and read and read
His additional respect to Steve writing cred
have left a impact in Dr. W Head.

This.... is awful. Please translate into the Queen's English.

And I mean the Queen of Canada.

Clever review but you realize of course people will want more themed reviews now. Don't worry, it's not all bad, when Dead Island comes out you can just type "Braiiiiiiins!" a couple hundred times.

vxicepickxv:

Proteus214:
Sounds like an aesthetic that would be right up my alley. Having not played the first game, would I be able to jump right into this one?

I'm wondering about the same thing you are, even though I played the first one, a long time ago.

When you buy the game you can get the first one with it, though now that's out you might have to pay 10$ for it but the original PC game can go up to 100$ so I say that's a fair deal. And as to the jumping in to the game, I think yes.

An impressive review.

The aesthetics are definitely the games strongest point, but I've honestly been enjoying the gameplay more than most reviewers seem to be. It has a few real issues (whoever set the movement speed for the colossal ruin enemies needs to be given a good talking to), but overall I thought it was a pretty enjoyable and well executed platformer. I was somewhat dissapointed by the lack of boss fights, but the bosses in the first game were frequently insanely irritating, so maybe that was a good thing. It's certainly not doing much to push its genre into new territory gameplay-wise, but it does everything competently and the same is true of a lot of games that routinely receive far more positive reviews. I don't know, maybe everyone else has just fallen out of love with 3D platformers (there certainly haven't been that many this generation). I'd probably give it a 6 or 7/10, but that's assuming a balanced review scale where 5 is a thoroughly average game.

vxicepickxv:

Proteus214:
Sounds like an aesthetic that would be right up my alley. Having not played the first game, would I be able to jump right into this one?

I'm wondering about the same thing you are, even though I played the first one, a long time ago.

You don't need to have played the first one, but it comes free with a new copy of the console version (I think you need to use EA's store to get it on the PC), so it's pretty easy to do if you want. The second game is much more polished, so I might recommend just watching a LEt's Play of the first if you aren't in to spamming quicksaves.

How long did this take? It has to of taken at least a day.

OT: I am going to rent this game, as I just want to play it for the visuals and story, and once I have gone through it once there isn't going to be anything to bring me back with the gameplay being average.

InterAirplay:
How can you have gears turning in lava? wouldn't they just heat up and change shape/melt and completely fuck up the mechanism they're a part of?

You're asking for logic in a game that takes place inside the twisted psyche of a madwoman? Shame on you. Logic defeats the purpose in a game like that.

Personally, I'm kind of disappointed. The idea had so much potential. It should have been fucking incredible. Instead, it's just an average game. Mediocrity is always more disappointing to me than spectacular failure. At least I can get a kick out of failure.

Superb review, bravo !

Best review I have ever read in my 2 years of reading the Escapist. I think more reviewers need to take a chance like this when reviewing games. Something long the lines of say, when reviewing Battlefield 3, the review is presented as a mission report, or something like that. Or for an alien invasion type game, the reviewer could present it like a reporter on the ground, like War Of The Worlds.

Steve Butts:
Alice Madness Returns Review

With apologies to Lewis Carroll.

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Such a missed opportunity... finally, a game with a distinct visual style, and they fumble on the gameplay?

Sure, yeah, everything's gritty and dark now, but I strongly feel that the AG Alice stuff gets grandfathered in on this one. It's more of the earlier Tim Burton vein than the "gritty reboot" lode of today. But, like Tim Burton, they seem to be relying on the mildly-disturbing visuals to carry the whole production... leaving story and gameplay by the way.

Wonderland has always been about mindgames and thwarted expectations, but the game is almost entirely "execution" puzzles: combat and platforming. Where is the "madness" promised in the title (and in the setting itself)? Instead, it's an old-school platformer (complete with Mario 2 (US) princess-floaty-dress mechanics) with an over-equipped heroine.

To my mind, any game meant to include "madness" or "horror" has to play upon nerves and fear. When you're packing an arsenal, and everything is straightforward, what is there to be nervous or fearful about? Simply telling us (or just heavily implying) that Alice is scared and/or crazy doesn't make it so. The gameplay fails to reinforce that tone in any way.

Strip down the weapons. Make fights about survival more than dominance. Make the player feel lucky to have just survived that last encounter, but also nervous about whether they still have enough to make it through the next. Get straight-up Escher on level design. And in the name of all things holy, put some real puzzles in the damned thing.

(Also, I can't help but think, "I nailed your mom's crazy bits." And then I chortle in my joy.)

I enjoyed this game. It was a smart idea to play the prequel that came with it before playing Madness Returns.

The levels were long and linear, but I enjoyed looking for some of the collectibles and using Shrink Vision when you're small to look at the hidden scribbles (there's an achievement for finding a secret hidden message in one of the chapters and I thought that was cool.) My only problem with the game is that there was only one boss fight (the first game had more than one), glitches I encountered, and getting stuck on walls and stairs in some of chapters.

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