Alice: Madness Returns Reviews

  • SashamorningSashamorning2,069,657
    23 Jun 2011 20 Jan 2020
    91 16 28
    Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is one of those stories that has been interpreted in several different ways over the years. From the Disney cartoon to the classic Jefferson Airplane song to the Johnny Depp Disney "sequel" (and with several made-for-TV movies in the middle), we've been fascinated by the tale of the young girl who follows the white rabbit down his hole into Wonderland.

    And, much like Keanu Reeves follows the White Rabbit in The Matrix, this journey down the rabbit hole isn't anything that we might expect.

    In 2000, American McGee's Alice took us into the mind of our heroine, shattered after a fire destroyed her house and her family and left her institutionalized for ten years in an asylum, with only her stuffed rabbit for company. It was from this state that she wandered back into Wonderland in order to rebuild the shattered fragments of her sanity. A critical success both for its plot and graphics (for its time), that game spawned a cult following, and many of us waited for years for a sequel.

    It's finally arrived.

    Alice: Madness Returns takes place shortly after its predecessor, with Alice still trying to regain her sanity while slipping back into Wonderland. This time she's also trying to put the pieces of her life together, in order to determine what exactly happened to her family.

    The game takes us on an adventure through many of the familiar parts of the story: squaring off with the March Hare and the Dormouse ("Feed your head," as Grace Slick once crooned), the all-too-calm underwater depths of the Walrus and the Carpenter, the Eastern backdrop of the Caterpillar's mountain and, of course, the realm of the Queen of Hearts.

    The gameplay itself is solid, if a tad frustrating at times. The game itself plays as a cross between a hack 'n slash and a platformer. Alice has several weapons at her disposal: her Vorpal Blade, her Pepper Grinder (the Victorian equivalent of a Tommy Gun), her Teapot Cannon, and her Hobby Horse for close melee attacks. Between combats, Alice must traverse large spans of the pieces of Wonderland by jumping and twirling her way in and out of danger.

    The production design is gorgeous to look at. The worlds are each unique and have their own peculiar flavor. Parts of the world are rich and vibrant, while others are dull and drab, each reflecting the particular mood of the realm. Alice herself is a sight. Her dress flutters and her hair flies around as she floats from platform to platform to thin air. When she dies, she disintegrates into butterflies in an effect that would seem magical if we didn't have to rewind and replay that segment.

    On the other hand, the levels themselves can be a bit repetitive... the same level design with new skins. What keeps the game fresh is the plot. As you travel through the game, you'll find memories that Alice has had tucked away within the recesses of her psyche, and these memories help shine a light and give her clarity. Each time she survives a level, she regains a bit more sanity, and therefore has more health with which to fight her foes.

    EA has released the original game as a downloadable extra, but as a trick to we achievement hunters, the earlier game is worth 100 of the total 1000 gamerscore. Download codes (Online Passes) come with each new copy of Alice: Madness Returns. If you buy it used, you'll have to fork over an additional 800 MSP. While the game itself is worth playing, it is disappointing that EA has released essentially a straight port from the original PC version. No polish has been applied, and what looked fresh and vibrant 11 years ago now appears rather aged. Furthermore, the game is not playable on its own; you cannot download it and play it without having the sequel.

    Personally, I think this is a 5-star game, but I'm biased. The low replayability hurts it a bit, as does EA's decision to include the original game in the full 1000 gamerscore, while requiring a download code to obtain the game. Therefore, I'll knock it down a half-star, even though I would still highly recommend taking this trip back into madness.

    Back down the rabbit hole we go...
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    SashamorningI would start with the DLC. You'll get the back story, and you'll see a marked improvement in he graphics. Word of warning, though, the difficulty settings are old school. Medium is the new hard.
    Posted by Sashamorning on 09 Jun 12 at 20:23
    DillionDayGreat review but I feel the graphics are surprisingly bad. Don't get me wrong, I love the steam-punk look but the graphics seem rushed. The cuts scenes are choppy and cheap.
    Posted by DillionDay on 30 Aug 12 at 04:23
    j wiziteThe DLC is the worst content I’ve ever played!
    Posted by j wizite on 20 Sep 20 at 21:31
  • PlasticTIRPlasticTIR113,162
    23 Jun 2011 23 Jun 2011
    31 4 4
    I don't know where to start in my review. The Lewis Carroll book, the Disney movie, or the original American McGee game that I bought and never got to play because my computer was a piece of junk. Let's start with all 3. Everyone has had some kind of experience with wonderland, though the game went rather overlooked. After playing the original years later, I can safely say it's a shame that it didn't get the recognition it deserved. However after 11 years. BOOM! A sequel is released, this time on consoles as well as PC. My review will be on the, shock and awe, 360 version! Anyways let's break this down!

    This is a review of Alice: Madness Returns and does not include American McGee's Alice

    ***disclaimer: I use the word gorgeous a lot, as it's the only word that does this game justice***

    Story: 5/5
    Holy hell, I can name very few games that can top Alice in this regards. A psychological thriller, the game will pull you in, chew you up and spit you out, and you will beg for more.

    You play as the titular Alice, a young lady with severe psychological disorders and mental trauma as she lost her family in a fire when she was young. Or do you? You play as the titular Alice, a young lady whose world is being destroyed, demolished and deconstructed by a train straight out of hell. Actually you play as both, and both are the same person, the latter is a hallucination the former uses as a defense mechanism. The events that take her into wonderland are usually based on what she experiences in the real world, and while a lot of what characters such as the Mad Hatter or Queen of Hearts say don't make sense, at the end everything is tied together and you learn some chilling details about what really happened in the fire. I really don't want to spoil any of the story, as it is no short of amazing. In fact, even without the original boosting this ones story, it easily gets a 5/5.

    Gameplay: 3.5/5
    The game play is nothing we haven't seen before, but it's also stuff that works. Platforming is good, no problems here besides the camera suddenly deciding Alice's striped socks are far more interesting then knowing where you're supposed to jump. Hidden platforms are fairy common, and can be found using "shrink sense" a technique that shrinks Alice, allowing her to enter small keyholes and find platforms that were previously invisible to unlock hidden goodies. Again, nothing wrong here aside from camera angles.

    Combat is nothing spectacular, but as with platforming there's nothing wrong with it either. Vorpal blade for quick melee attacks, hobby horse for heavier guard breaking ones. Rapid fire pepper grinder, mortar launching tea kettle. Enemies are another strong suit. from the silly looking ruins, to the slightly creepier babies, the games rogue's gallery feels complete and quite frankly awesome. Not an impressive arsenal, but enough to give the game enough variety for multiple play-throughs.

    Puzzles are where the game unfortunately falls a bit short. Most are interesting the first time through, but become severely less interesting upon doing them for the 10th time.

    Overall game play isn't bad, isn't good, just average. Leaning towards the better though. 3.5/5

    Graphics and Design: 4/5

    One of the most beautiful games you'll ever lay eyes on. Usually. The game still suffers from some texture loading bugs, which can really ruin some of the splendor of seeing a gorgeous character design, exploring gorgeous worlds with gorgeous effects. At it's best the game gets an easy 5/5. But due to me having to play through the first two chapters with an Alice that wouldn't properly load any of her character model. 4/5

    Music, Voices and Sound: 5/5

    Beautiful landscape needs beautiful music, and Alice does not disappoint! The music fits every area perfectly, and the battle music fits so well, it melts in seamlessly. Voice acting is terrific, Alice instantly became a character I wanted to succeed, the voice work is emotion filled and perfect. I almost teared up when hearing Alice reminisce on the horrors of her past, partially because the voice acting was so good, I could feel the fear and sorrow. Sound effects are great, I can still here the whistling of the tea pot, the taka taka of the pepper grinder and the swish of the vorpal blade and neigh of the hobby horse. 5/5

    DLC: 3/5

    So far all it is is some dresses and weapons, but the weapons all have cool new effects and graphical changes and the dresses all look amazingly gorgeous! Worth a purchase if you love the game, but otherwise they're a pass.

    Conclusion: 4.5/5
    Story-wise, this is the only game that comes close to competing with Deadly Premonition for me. Game play could have been better, but it works. This game is an amazing addition to any collection and I'd recommend it to any gamer. Go in expecting to be blown away by story and visuals, but don't expect the most explosive combat.
    (Since TA doesn't have decimals, I'm forced to round up and give this game a 5)
    16 Jul 2011
    18 3 2
    Releasing 11 years after its predecessor, Alice: Madness Returns is a fascinating specimen—it’s not often that games get follow-ups after so many years of absolute silence. While I may not have been a fan of American McGee’s Alice, it received a great deal of praise when it was released and fans have been quietly waiting to see if and how the story of Alice could continue. What we’re given, after an over decade long hiatus, is a compelling piece of interactive art that weaves an interesting tale spanning two distinctly different realities and is melded together with solid, fast-paced action/platformer gameplay.

    The plot of Madness Returns picks up some time after the conclusion of Alice and, while it seemed that Alice ended on a positive note, the years have not been kind to the troubled character. From the onset, the game is immeasurably more intriguing than its predecessor with a curious voiceover encouraging Alice to “go back to Wonderland” accompanied by animated 2D illustrations that give it a more “storybook” feel.

    American McGee’s Alice found the titular character in a broken and twisted version of her Wonderland as she tried to find reason in the madness and regain her sanity. The sequel takes the traumatic events that drove Alice to her madness and centers around them. Unlike the first game (which took place entirely in Wonderland), in Madness Returns you will control Alice through the grimy streets of London and witness her struggle to regain some form of control over her life—it helps keep the story somewhat grounded and makes the character more relatable. You have some empathy for Alice as now the entire game isn’t centered wholly on a deranged girl prancing through broken fantasies, but now it’s a woman trying to make sense of her delusions while struggling to maintain her life outside her fantasies. The story is definitely intriguing and pulls you in with a constant trickle of reveals regarding the events surrounding the traumatic events in Alice’s past; as you delve deeper into the mysteries of the tragedy that befell her family, you find that the truth behind her madness is as twisted as the broken Wonderland in which she seeks refuge.

    The gameplay in Madness Returns is also markedly improved upon from the original’s. It’s still an action platformer that has you jumping around this twisted version of Wonderland and raining death upon the enemies that hinder your progression, but it all works. Combat is fast-paced and brutal; from the first moments you get access to a weapon, you feel like a predator instead of a helpless being who just so happens to have a knife. The Vorpal Blade is the first weapon you encounter and is the only one that returns from the first game—but it doesn’t just make a straight transfer over… it’s actually useful in Madness Returns. For your up-close-and-personal attacks, you’ll find yourself using the Vorpal Blade liberally as it unleashes high-speed damage. You’ll gain access to other weapons throughout the game as well including a “heavy” melee weapon for strong attacks that can break through defenses, a bomb that also aids you in puzzle solving, and ranged weapons.

    Rather than having an equipped weapon and giving you a multitude of button combinations to use for each one, you have quick access to all of your weapons on the fly and can string attacks from each weapon together to form a devastating combo. The X button (for the XBOX 360 version of the game) is for your Vorpal Blade attacks, Y unleashes your heavy weapon attacks, B drops your bomb, and the right trigger is to fire your ranged weapon (with the D-pad used to quickly cycle between which ranged weapon you have out). The left trigger allows you to lock-on to enemies and a quick flick of the right analogue stick will cycle through which enemy you have targeted—you also have the option to freeform combat, but the lock-on feature does come in handy and its ease of use and lack of “sticky” targets is a welcome mechanic. As good as the lock-on in this game is, it suffers from poor camera control as once you lock-on to an enemy, the camera is fixed in place and doesn’t rotate to face the enemy you have targeted; so, the enemy you’re trying to focus on could actually leave your viewing area. It’s frustrating, certainly, but not game-breaking.

    Platforming and puzzle solving is where Madness Returns really shines. Taking place mostly in the imagination of a crazy woman, the level design in Madness Returns is wonderfully unique as it can break away from the standard conventions of gaming and get away with it because Wonderland doesn’t have to make sense. While so many other games out there have to design levels around the idea of how to make something creative, but still exist within the confines of that universe’s rules, Madness Returns doesn’t have such restrictions because there are no rules in Wonderland. There is a clear definition of where to go, but how to get there takes some figuring out. Many levels feature small platforms heavily distanced from each other which require the use of Alice’s triple jump and float abilities in order to clear the gaps between them. It’s simple enough, but the use of invisible platforms (which are revealed with Alice’s “shrink sense”) makes things a little more challenging and intense. Levels are also peppered with multiple environmental puzzles that can be simple timing exercise that have you jumping to avoid a hazard or flipping switches and pressing buttons to more complex combinations of those which increase in difficulty (but never become overbearingly difficult) throughout the game. Aside from a few minor issues with collision detection (with Alice getting caught on absolutely nothing in certain passageways accessible only when shrunk), it’s a very solid experience that “feels right” with tight controls and responsive feedback.

    Madness Returns also benefits from being an absolutely gorgeous game to look at. Utilizing the Unreal Engine 3 graphics engine, it does suffer from some of the ill effects that plague other games running on the same engine (namely texture pop-in), but the colorful worlds of Wonderland are so mesmerizing that you soon forgive the game its graphical shortcomings. To offset the high volume of colors found in Wonderland, the streets of London are dark and filled with muted tones—it’s a wonderful contrast that draws your attention to how truly different Alice’s two worlds are. Accompanying the 3D graphics of the game, you are treated to many storyline cutscenes done in the vein of storybook illustrations; it’s a pleasant nod to the works that inspired American McGee’s new visions of Wonderland.

    The soundtrack of Madness Returns is expertly crafted and sets the tone of each of the game’s environments, encounters, and story segments flawlessly. Composed of mainly subdued, haunting tunes, it’s a fitting accompaniment to the rest of the elements that make the whole of Madness Returns. The voice acting is competent with only a few secondary characters standing out as disappointing in their ability to break the game’s tone with a poor reading. It’s nothing to write home about, but the majority of the characters are voiced with a conviction that makes them believable in their setting.

    They really didn’t hold back with Madness Returns as it’s a game that’s packed full of content; the campaign itself can easily take 15 hours to complete in a single playthrough and features tons of hidden collectibles. On top of that the entire first game is included as a download with every new purchase of the console versions of Alice: Madness Returns. While I may not have been too kind to American McGee’s Alice in my review of it (which can be found here:, it’s hard to argue against a free game.

    Madness Returns is a game overflowing with imagination in every aspect from the story to the art to the gameplay; it’s a game that doesn’t restrain from being different at every opportunity it can (and I mean that in a good way). Despite a few shortcomings (like minor camera issues when locking on to an enemy, getting caught on a doorway, or texture pop-in), Madness Returns is an incredibly enjoyable experience that is as rewarding as it is ceaselessly intriguing.
  • Bomb Jack DKBomb Jack DK888,444
    23 Jun 2011
    16 3 0
    Translated from Danish to English using Google Translate

    Lewis Carrol's famous tale of the good Alice forming once again the setting for a digital adventure, but we are this time far from the cute Disney film and moving in place around in a bleak and scary universe - freely interpreted by the developers for Spicy Horse. Alice: Madness Returns is a direct sequel to the over 10 year old American McGee's Alice, and if you were one of those who never had tried it first and very beautiful Alice game, do not worry: The original game is apparent free with which Download!

    Alice - Who The F. .. Is Alice?
    Alice: Madness Returns picks up where its predecessor left off. Alice now lives in an orphanage and is still haunted by dreams of their parents' violent death. The story is told in pictures and sound, small-scenes, long dialogues and so on, and during the game Alice must try to find "memories" that can help her remember things she has forgotten - or repressed. To gain maximum benefit from the story requires that you are proficient in the Alice universe, otherwise it may be a little hard to keep up with the crazy, quirky and sometimes colluding story, but it pays to prick ears for Alice: Madness Returns are narrative point of one of the better games - despite the complexity.

    The game, like its predecessor, an action-adventure platformer. Alice can jump (and double jump, which is really cool in platform games) and even float, which works really well in terms of management. Alice can obviously also use weapons that become available as you advance in the game. To begin with, Alice equipped with his Vorpal Sword, and later you get such a 'Duracell bunny ", a pepper pot, a teapot and a hobby horse to fight with. Yes, it is really an imaginative universe, the game takes place in.

    There are many different enemies, each requiring a special technique to handle properly. At the lowest level of the game's 4 levels (Easy, Normal, Hard and Nightmare), you can mostly get by with his Vorpal Sword, but you play on Nightmare, you really think. Weapons can be upgraded by using some of the many teeth as you gather around the lanes, and once you have upgraded the instance Easy, one can use the same, but now upgraded character to play games such as Nightmare, making the slightly more affordable. There are plenty of platform games, but this part is not the most challenging. Of course one can easily come to his hour hop and tissue wrong, but one is allowed to try as many times as you like. Alice can also make smaller, so she can go places, like "Big Alice" does not have access to, and may include "Little Alice" also see invisible bridges, hints, etc. There are plenty of collectibles around, and among other you can by shooting pig snouts with its pepper pot, get access to areas of collectibles, or large amounts of teeth. Sometimes seasoned jump depot with a mini-game, such a successful side-scrolling shooter cave, which is confusingly might well recall the arcade classic Scramble and Super Cobra. Also this works really well and gives a good break from the platform portion. When Alice's health reaches the bottom, you get the opportunity to go into so-called Hysteria mode where Alice becomes invulnerable and strikes his enemies down with ease.

    Alice: Madness Returns is a nice long game - 15-20 hours depending on severity. It is only a single player experience, but like the first Alice games, there's not much to come after, once it is completed - unless one intends to prove to themselves - and perhaps others - to Nightware- severity can be perfectly done! In return, you get the original games in price, so there is certainly good value for money.

    Graphically, Alice: Madness Returns a gem. The textures and animations may not be as great as in so many other games in the genre, but stylistic game is to turn some of the most impressive seen in a long time. Runway construction is really good, there are lots of interesting details, among sequences - both large and small - are placed perfectly into the process, the choice of color and lighting is interesting and evocative, and there is a great soundtrack and a quality of dialogue helps to enhance the experience considerably. One is repeatedly surprised by how well a crazy design can be!

    Alice: Madness Returns is a really good game. Platform part of combat unit generally works fine, although platform portion is not the most challenging. Fight part can sometimes feel a good bit trivial, but there is always a good break, which makes you constantly feel like more. The really high stylistic level contributes significantly to that one is fascinated by Alice's world and the game can recommend to anyone who is happy action-platformer and not afraid of an offbeat attempt in the genre.

  • LookinLikeMagicLookinLikeMagic408,149
    17 Feb 2015 21 Feb 2015
    9 0 2
    Alice: Madness Returns
    External image

    Alice: Madness Returns is the sequel to the critically acclaimed American McGee's Alice. It takes place a year after original game in 1875 were Alice has been released from the asylum and now lives in an orphanage under the care of Dr Bumby. Alice is still traumatised by the fire that killed her entire family and Dr Bumby encourages her to go to Wonderland in her mind as a coping mechanism. However in her visions Wonderland has changed and is much darker and twisted than how she left it. After several hallucinations of the Jabberwock Alice once again arrives in Wonderland.

    Story: 8/10
    Madness Return's storyline is very strong but it does have some minor pacing issues. New players to the series will have no trouble keeping up with the storyline as it references the first game and the Lewis Carroll novels at the start of the game and through collectable memories found throughout the game. The storyline is quite engaging and you'll want to play on to continue Alice's adventure. However I found myself wanting the game to pick up pace as I progressed towards the later chapters. The characters and voice acting however are superb and actually likeable compared to most games these days. American McGee gives an interesting edge to each of Lewis Carroll's original characters such as Hatter who is a mechanical genius who is obsessed with time and clockwork.

    Gameplay: 8/10
    From what I have played, Madness Returns's gameplay is quite similar to the first game but it has much more emphasis on hack n slash combat aswell as platforming. Like most hack n slash games it several basic moves such as a light attack, heavy attack, ranged attack aswell as dodge and block. Alice can equip several weapons and items at a time such as the Vorpal Blade and Pepper Grinder etc. The game has a basic upgrading system were Alice can upgrade several weapons by collecting "teeth" throughout the game. Personally I am a huge fan of the combination of hack n slash, platforming and RPG elements that Madness Returns uses however it does have several problems that bring it down. The camera angles and targeting system are very flawed and can be quite frustrating, for example when in a semi-large area and facing 3 or more enemies the targeting system can irrationally target far off enemies.

    Graphics: 9/10

    The environment and character designs for Madness Returns are very unique when compared to other games on the market. The artistic design really brings Lewis Carroll's Wonderland to life with a unique darker edge that only McGee can achieve. There is a wide range of environments that Alice travels through ranging from classic Wonderland forests to harsh arctic wastelands making each stage very different. Every new environment brings with it new diverse enemies that look and act differently such as goblins that use cutlery as weapons, undead card soldiers and sharks that hide in ice. The designs for characters in both Wonderland and London have their own unique style. Both the environments and character designs remind me of the Fable and Medevil series but with a refreshing edge.

    Extras: 7/10

    Madness Returns only has a singleplayer campaign but due to the diverse levels and the long length of story this is to be expected. I also cannot imagine however a multiplayer or co-op feature would play into the story so I am happy with just the singleplayer mode. However if you buy a new copy of the game on either the PS3 or Xbox 360 you are entitled to a free download of the original American McGee's Alice. This much appreciated extra expands the average play time of about 10-15 hours to about 20-25 hours. It is a simple port of the original game without any graphical updates which is slightly disappointing but not a problem.

    Enjoyment: 8/10
    Personally I found Alice: Madness Returns extremely enjoyable but this is my type of game because its a little bit of everything as I mentioned earlier such as hack n slash, platforming and minor aspects of an RPG and a 3rd person shooter. The characters and environment design of this game really made the storyline very intriguing to me and I will definitely be buying my own copy of this for the PS3. As I mentioned earlier the problems with pacing and the targeting system are the only things that brought the enjoyment of this game down because at times they can be a big issue. I would recommend this to fans of the Fable series and platforming games such as Crash Bandicoot, Medevil and A Series Of Unfortunate Events.

    Overall Rating: 8/10
  • Silent DirgeSilent Dirge141,103
    15 Jan 2012
    10 1 0
    Alice: Madness Returns is a delightfully sick and twisted approach to a children's fairy tale.

    At first glance I assumed Alice to be a game for children most likely related to the adaptation of Alice In Wonderland that was released in 2010. I obviously did not notice the game's rating being M and Alice herself holding a knife but regardless I had overlooked it. After having it recommended to me by a friend, Darkspirit1167 I decided to give it a chance. I was happily surprised when I was thrust into a dark, bloody imagining of wonderland complete with all it's inhabitants with a frightening overhaul.

    The game's graphics are stunning. Alice has environments that are colorful and vibrant but it also has those that are ominous and gory which really makes you believe that Alice ( the protagonist ) is insane which technically she is.

    Game play focuses on the two aspects of exploration/platforming and combat. Traversing wonderland is fun and doesn't have those annoying platforming moments most other action adventure games have. Combat feels reminiscent of games like Dante's Inferno or God Of War but remains different enough so it isn't lumped into that category.

    Though the game has quite a few collectibles their not solely for achievements as they are in most other games. They add to the story if you care to find them much like Alan Wake. Alice also has a considerable amount of replay value due to the different difficulty levels and plentiful weapon upgrades.

    Overall I found Alice: Madness Returns to be brilliant game with very little flaws. 5 out of 5 from me.

  • Darth BieberDarth Bieber144,452
    18 Jun 2011 18 Jun 2011
    29 20 28
    When I was growing up Disney was king. There was no Pixar, there was no Teamwork Animation Studio and there certainly was no Cartoon Network. Hell, I didn't have access to the Disney channel until the mid-nineties and by then I was on an airplane on my way to Germany. Growing up I watched Disney movies. Partly because I was a child and partly because my grandfather was a sound engineer who worked on Snow White and other classic Disney movies of that time. I watched Alice in Wonderland and loved it. I even watched it as a teenager in high school and of course discussed the possible drug references and innuendo that are commonly associated with it. Still, it was an innocent Alice story. Which is why Alice: Madness Begins intrigued me so much.

    When the first Alice released I didn't own a computer that could support games. In fact I never have. Call it paranoia, but I believe Skynet will happen. I had heard about it and wanted to play it, however as I said before I was lacking the hardware. A dark and twisted adventure set in Wonderland was at the time a leap away from the norm of gaming. This was the time of bad ass, spikey haired, giant sword wielding warriors and stealthy clones named Snake. Could a little girl really be able to compare with that? So, it got lost to time and under a pile of games.

    Fast forward a decade and the announcement for the sequel is made. Once again my interest was piqued, but I did have my reservations. The whole girl as a main character thing usually doesn't hold well for me (WET.....ugh) as well as the 11 years in between games that really concerned me. What really set me on the purchase were two things: one being that the original game could be downloaded and played for free with the purchase of the second game and two being LA Noire. I know, I know LA Noire? Well, every game I have eagerly anticipated so far this year has been a bust and the one I thought would be utter garbage had been my favorite so far. I decided let's try going 2 for 2.

    And I will say I am pleasantly surprised yet again. Alice: Madness Returns is a dark, intriguing, well put together action/platformer and I don't even like platforming games! The combat is simple yet satisfying and the platforming sections are simple as well. The difficulty for the platforming does ramp up when it is off the main path and you are going for collectibles, but after a few times of trial and error you are awarded with your goal. The controls feel very natural and fluid and the targeting for long range weapons is well done. Rare is the occasion when I can't or don't initially target exactly what I want. There is even a level up system placed on the weapons. You acquire teeth like red orbs to purchase simple upgrades. Teeth can be found out in the open, by defeating enemies and in containers all around Wonderland.

    They even work the mythos of Wonderland into the game very well. You can shrink yourself at anytime and go into shrink sense which gies you the ability to see things that are invisible to a large Alice. This also is a way to access secret areas to find hidden collectibles and teeth. The umbrella the walrus had is used as your primary defense to deflect projectiles back at enemies (sorry kiddies no blocking). Even the way Alice dodges and dies is uniquely Wonderland. She breaks down into blue butterflies. The story is about Alice Liddell, a survivor of a horrible house fire that took her family as she watched as a young child. To cope with this trauma, Alice escapes into her own fractured mind which is the setting of Wonderland. In the first game to make herself whole she must defeat the Red Queen (Queen of Hearts), but in the second game she returns to Wonderland when she tries to forget the past and faces a new foe in The Ruin.

    The entire game is a mix of the Wonderland you have seen and probably often imagined with a steam punk kind of edge. This is clearly demonstrated in Hatter's Domain. It is definitely one of the most unique environments I have ever played in. It is the mish mash of these two concepts that truly creates a unique atmosphere where ever you set foot in the game. At points I had a very creepy feeling from just my surrounding areas, as if my childhood memories had been a good way.

    And now for some of the drawbacks starting with the original Alice. I am sure in 2000 the game was amazing both graphically and design wise. It doesn't however hold up well against time. Alice's movements are very stiff and with no lock on function you have to swing wildly to hit enemies. Aiming is a joke. It is also very dimly lit. Sometimes it was hard to see around the indoor levels. Also, I had a problem with a save file getting corrupted and freezing my xbox every time I tried loading it up. On long range weapons aiming is a chore and until you get the croquet mallet don't bother with the playing cards as your long range weapon. Onto the sequel; I noticed every now and again that there was shoddy collision detection with your body and the environment. As in a small inch rise of rock from the ground would impede your movement. Not a big deal but an annoyance when much of the other parts of the game are so smooth. The graphics are a bit dated as well. I wasn't sure if this was done intentionally or not. At times it seems like it is done intentionally but in one example, Alice's hair, it seems the opposite.

    Alice: Madness Returns is another gem of this year. Actually it is more the diamond in the rough. It doesn't have the graphics budget of a Rockstar game and unlike LA Noire, not everyone on the planet and their grandmother are going to play it. The ones who do though are in for a treat. Especially if they want to stroll on the twisted aide of a fond childhood memory.

    Edit: I forgot to mention the most important things....achievements! The achievements are pretty standard for a third person action game. Beat chapters, beat game in different diffixulties, find collectibles, beat certain for with certain weapon, beat certain for without taking damage and so forth. They is though a definite degree of ease and difficulty throughout them though. Such as beating the game on Nightmare mode and only using Alice's Hysteria Mode once through an entire playthrough. There are also chapter based achievements and a beating the game achievement for the original Alice which are not independent they actually tie into the 1k of Madness Returns so if you rent it you will have to pay $10 to download it.
  • joedahoc93joedahoc9399,681
    09 Oct 2011 11 Oct 2011
    8 5 2
    Overview:A sequel to a great cult classic. A twisted vision of Alice in Wonderland. I loved the original Alice. I was looking forward to this game, and I finally got around to playing it. I really did enjoy it, but It's no secret that the game has it's fair share of problems, which does kind of does weigh down the final verdict.

    Story: Leaves much to be desired. Very little to be found here. While the game does have a very good premise, it doesn't fully exploit it. Alice is insane and to cope with her inner pain, she creates a fantasy. However even in her Wonderland she isn't safe from her own insanity. The game doens't really offer much as far as dialouge, but makes up for it in in-depth level design. At least to those who aren't into extreme platformers. I am in fact, a HUGE American Mcgee's Alice fan, so I was looking forward to this game. I knew it would have more of a cult following then any other real big game. The game does offer something for everyone. Despite the games simplicity, it does give a service to fans of the original Alice, and people may remember the characters they see. Though game isn't the most polished, it can be argued that the game represents much more. But sometimes it seems that EA just wanted to cash in on the small but respectable fan base.

    Gameplay: Good. But not great. You have four weapons to choose from. Strong melee, fast melee, strong long range, fast long range. Each weapon can be upgraded with "teeth" you find throughout the game. Alice is the best looking character in the game. She looks better then any other character model, her outfit changes every chapter, so at least we get to see a new Alice. The platforming is fun, but a little frustrating. The minigames range from decent to really annoying. They really aren't that good, and plus: You can skip them! Whats the point of having mingames if you can just skip them!? But the annoying ones aren't skippable. Go figure. The last boss was pretty......underadmirable. He wasn't really a cool villian. He seemed a bit like a gimmick.

    Final Verdict: A great fan service for few, but not much more then that. I loved the game. But I would lying if I said that the game doesn't have any flaws. It does. In fact it has a few that are pretty brain numbing. At least it was for me. But if your looking for a decent platformer to hold you over for a few days, check this game out. I loved Alice and all her insane thoughts. I'd reccomend it to anyone who's looking for something a little different. I was really hoping for more of a story, but we all can't get what we want. But it does offer a little something for everyone.
  • DRAGONS 4 L1F3DRAGONS 4 L1F369,407
    12 Feb 2016
    5 6 0
    I Love Alice Maddness Returns. It's got a polished and smooth combat system which feels fun. It's got stunning environments and a great Voice cast. It may have 6 Chapters Although some are longer then others and sometimes you'll be in one Chapter for hours. As Collectables go There are 4 Different types Red Paint for Health, Pig Snouts for Secert areas or Progress, Bottles for concept art and Memorys for a more indepth of the Story. For Achievements it's fun with some being Chapter exclusive such as 52 pick up and Off with Her head, There are also 6 Achievements for beating the original Game. all in all It's got Amazing Music, Challenge (Puzzles especially) and Atmosphere. It is one of my personal loved games and I give it 10/10 it's not too short and not too long which makes a Wonderful Balance and does have replay value.