Alice Madness Returns Review

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Dastardly:

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.)

just finished the game.

American mcgee's games always had a visual stile almost like tim burton films (see Grimm series)
you should rent this game and see how they managed to visualize madness.
madness =/= horror.
and since they included the first game you should try this one out also.

the style of play is like the first one, jump and run with hack and slash elements.
and if you play it on normal or hard you will feel sometimes that you have survived only by luck. (on harder difficulties it is kind of nessesary to explore the world to find hidden health upgrades and obtaining them by fighting or answering riddles.)

the visuals are awesome.(some levels come close to escher but they still keep it so that some players dont get nausea.) and the plattforming is superb. i almost had as much fun as with psychonauts. and the easter egg i found fitted with the setting:


like a commenter said: Not even raz can survive alice's mind"

I can agree with you on the puzzles. it has some and you can skip these if you find them to hard(but they arent hard enough) but i wish they had included more....

Trishbot:
Alice: Madness Returns is one of my favorite games of the year, or any year. It's not perfect, but it's such a breath of fresh air. There's almost no game that looks, sounds, or plays like it (with only the original Alice coming close). It's like Zelda, Tomb Raider, Enslaved, Silent Hill, and Prince of Persia all wound up in a blender and I get this delicious cocktail of platforming across gorgeous vistas while scouring the world for secrets and surviving assaults from grotesque horrors. It's a gorgeous, insane game that is one of the best experiences I've had this year.

try psychonauts. you will love it.

rhizhim:

Trishbot:
Alice: Madness Returns is one of my favorite games of the year, or any year. It's not perfect, but it's such a breath of fresh air. There's almost no game that looks, sounds, or plays like it (with only the original Alice coming close). It's like Zelda, Tomb Raider, Enslaved, Silent Hill, and Prince of Persia all wound up in a blender and I get this delicious cocktail of platforming across gorgeous vistas while scouring the world for secrets and surviving assaults from grotesque horrors. It's a gorgeous, insane game that is one of the best experiences I've had this year.

try psychonauts. you will love it.

I bought it shortly BEFORE I bought Alice, but I haven't yet played it. I've been meaning to. I certainly enjoyed the Easter Egg though.

I'm on my clean-up run, getting all those memories, bottles, pig snouts, and health upgrades I missed the first time. I agree with those that haven't had any problems with the collision detections; Alice gets "stuck" at times temporarily whenever I shrink and grow during odd areas, but for all the platforming, I've never experienced one single glitch or problem. She controls like a dream all the time, and any pitfalls have been on my account, not the game's.

The plus-side is after beating the game and choosing Chapter Select, you can play the game in smaller doses and not drag out some of the sequences that do admittedly outstay their welcome (looking at you, Dollhouse basement...)

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