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Played by Both Constance (Beat the game) & Danny (Didn’t beat the game) on the X360.

Alice’s tales of Wonderland are full of whimsical magic, madness, and is a stark opposite of reality. Lewis Carrol’s stories of Wonderland shed light on imagination and the ability to believe in the unbelievable. American McGee took Alice away from the “normal” abnormal Wonderland and threw her into a nightmare of a dream. American McGee’s Alice took us on a journey of morbid fantasy and created a new way we see Wonderland. Madness Returns is the sequel.

Madness Returns is full of hyperbolic narratives, disgusting lore, creepy & annoying enemies, devilish plotlines, and a grim/disturbing look into what Wonderland has become. Alice: Madness returns is NOT a children’s game. This is an adult game that revolves around gore, sin, and horrific depictions of madness. But enough with the disclaimers and introduction, lets get onto the review.


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Plot and Story:
Alice Liddel has had a hard life. Following the events of its predecessor, Alice is released from an insane asylum. Her parents and sister were all burned to death in a house fire that Alice believes she started accidentally. Wonderland is connected and shaped by her depression, grief, and the state of her mind, which she says is “in ruins!” Your task is to find out why Wonderland is crumbling, what really happened to your family, and to survive the evil that has plagued your mind and world.

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Level Design:
Holy Fuck. Alice: Madness Returns is a super long game. Split up into 6 chapters, each chapter has its own theme; both environmental and psychological, each chapter has its own boss and reason for existing, and each level sheds more and more light on what troubles Alice and what really happened to her family.

With a game that took almost five full days to complete you’d think that the game would start to bore the player correct? I’ll answer that with a Cheshire Cat-like grin and a British accent saying, “No no.” Land Levels, Water Levels, 2-D levels, Interactive Music gameplay, First-Person Modes, Platform-style gameplay with precision jumps, timed execution, and pinpoint accuracy with your movements, different elements of gameplay due to broad weapon choices, gross cinematic that create Goosebumps on your flesh and memories in your mind, haunting voice-acting and visual nightmares, this game has everything but the blood-drenched kitchen sink!

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Graphics and Art Design
Madness Returns is a gorgeous game chocker-blocked full of surreal artistic views, huge level designs, massive backdrops, detailed movements of character’s features like hair or clothing, enormous scale of environments, and a great utilization of the Unreal Engine. Yes that’s right the engine that runs Gears of War is running Alice.

The art design is quite psychotic. Lewis Carrols creatures, characters, and points of view are one thing but the freedom the development team took with Wonderland shows how far the imagination can go and will show you things you’ve never seen before. Trust me on that.

The actual game graphics are quite magical. It’s definitely not the best graphics to peak your PC or make your console lag, but the way you see Wonderland and White Chapel is a beautiful thing to watch and play in.

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Gameplay:
Reading the material above would make you think this game is perfect, or that I am biased toward liking this game, but the gameplay is where things go into a downward spiral. I’m not saying the game doesn’t work or that is dreadful to jump and move in the world, but Alice: Madness Returns in one of the games that will make you claw out your eyes, punch your thighs, throw the controller, and rage quit yourself right out of the MadHatter’s tea party. I promise you that.

Quirky movement is my number one issue. Alice moves like she is on speed or crank. Her hop steps will take time to get use to; notice how I don’t use the word “master,” you cant master the movements of this game. With all of the aerial acrobatics Alice has to do, the extreme balancing act on hidden ghost platforms, and the insanely difficult choreography that fight scenes create it is a bit daunting for the average player. This game is a tried and true, faithful yet creative platform game. There’s no denying it, Alice: Madness Returns adds a lot to the genre and has many cute gameplay modes that most games don’t, but if you hate platform games and dying A LOT, pass this game up.

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Combat:
Besides gliding on air, jumping from odd object to the next odd object, and exploding into butterflies when you epically fail time and time again, you’ll be fighting weird-ass enemies and creatures. The combat system is straight forward and most advanced gamers will pick-up on the strategies fairly quick. Hack-and-slash with strategic plans. Every enemy has a weak point, a pattern, and a set list of attacks. There are around 74 different enemies to fight in this game and Constance (who beat the game) only fought 19 of them. This game is huge and taxing.

Your weapons, Vorpal Blade, Pepper Grinder, Umbrella, Hobby Horse, Clock-Work bomb, and Teapot Kettle, all have different uses and are used for both fighting and puzzles. Most enemies can be taken down with a combination of weapons and the right timing.

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Collectibles:
Collecting Teeth, yes teeth, can allow you to upgrade your weapons with the right number of pearly whites. Rose petals are used as health-pacs as your life-bar is displayed as Roses on a vine. “Memories” are placed throughout the world to explain the back-story of Alice’s life and the game’s plot. There are more collectibles but I’ll leave those as a secret.

Replayability and Difficulty:
Completing the storyline took almost 5 days reaching a 80% completion percentage. The games length is definitely a plus and it does invite you to replay the game and try and find what you missed if you are a perfectionist. In my opinion however the game is a one-play-thru only game. 
Difficulty rating on this game is at the highest of the high. Not because its impossible, its because the game’s easiest challenges can turn into 30 mins of your life wasted, and the hardest battles can make you hate the game. 

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I give Alice: Madness Returns 4/5.

+ Story, Plot, Mythology, and Utter Madness
+ Game Length and Progression
+ Level Design and Art Direction
+ Music
+ Surreal Visuals and Graphics. Unique.
- Annoyingly Difficult Combat, and Levels
- Movement Mechanics
? Will there be an Alice 3

 


08/08/2011 03:39

Online gmaing does not require any computer game store to buy, you still can not aspire to play online with a relic. If you just start your computer, and the game loads quickly, probably will not have any problem. For some reason, when things in your computer will crash on its own or may have trouble loading a game that usually plays very well, do not panic. While this can be confusing for you, you should know that this is a common problem.

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