Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Alice: Madness Returns

Man, I am on a roll this week. Yesterday I finished up the second entry to the Alice series, and I gotta say that it's really beautifully done. The way of story telling and the level design, along with the music and the cutscenes are just superbly done. It does have some flaws, but it's enjoyable and really good.

The environments in this game are really beautiful and really well detailed. They aren't as messed up as in the previous game, but it goes along with the story. Hell, some of the environments in Wonderland are BARELY messed up to start with. But as I said, this goes along with the story. In Madness Returns, Alice isn't as insane or mentally disturbed as the previous game(seeing as she overcame her demons), therefore it shows in Wonderland's environment. Towards the end of the game Alice starts to become slightly more insane and it definitely shows. From a beautiful eastern adventure midgame - to a dark, broken down dollhouse-esque environment nearing the end. I really like what the dev's did here. It's really smart and really gets you thinking.

A scene from a London Level (I know, right? o.0)
Another thing that appeals to me and the 'horror' part of the game is the 'real-life' levels between chapters, where you control Alice in a dark, harsh London and try to find out more about her past. I think that this contributes heavily to the story aspect of this game. You can't really jump or attack in these levels, but you walk around and interact with your surroundings and find out more about Alice and her past through other character's perspectives in cutscenes. I think this is a really good way of story telling. Some of these levels starts to become really twisted as Alice starts to have hallucinations and starts to twist her own world into a horror-ish wonderland. One in particular will haunt me always and I will always remember it. It's the real-life level between chapter 4 and 5. It really made me go, "What... the ... HELL? o.0" When a game does that, I really start to have much respect for it.

The gameplay of this game differs GREATLY from the first game. Where as the first game revolved more around a 'third person shooter' style, this game emphasizes a LOT more on platforming and it's combat. Hell, the platforming in this game is HUGE. You can't go on a few minutes in the wonderland levels without jumping. They even added a TRIPLE jump feature along with a 'float'. But hey, I'm not complaining at all. These platforming parts are really well done and are really beautiful to look at. From jumping from platform to platform is always really pretty to look at, especially the effects on Alice's hair. Her hair moves incredibly lifelike in every movement. ANYWAYS, enough about hair >.<. The combat has also evolved in the game, HEAVILY. It's really a lot simpler in some aspects, but every enemy has it's own tactics that you need to keep in mind. The game really shines in it's combat and platforming. Anyone who enjoys the likes of GoW would definitely enjoy this game. The only problem that I have with the combat is that the weapons in this game are very few as apposed to the first game. In the first game you had MILLIONS of weapons at your disposal, in this game you have 4. BUUUUUUTTTT, in the first game I barely used like half the weapons, so essentially I had 4 I used anyway, but in Madness returns you use all your weapons, and the game definitely makes sure of that. Some enemies need to be bashed by all your weapons at different times in order to kill them, so it's quite balanced.

As with the first game, the symbolism in this game is immense. As with the previous game, I'm really taken-up with this and it left me at the end going "Wow...". I won't go on too much about that, as I rabbled on about it yesterday.

The last thing I wanted to point out are the themes shown in this game. In the first game the theme of insanity and facing your demons was prominent, with nothing else being shown. In this game, the theme of insanity is shown in both Wonderland and London levels, but the theme of truth and the past is important to this. In the London levels, many mature themes are shown, such as molestation, corruption of authority, false justification, alcoholism and prostitution. I find these themes to be really deep and in showing that in the 'real world' levels, where the whole world has gone 'insane' with the above mentioned, Alice is the only 'sane' and moral one. That in itself conveys a powerful mesage.

Alice: Madness Returns is a really good game. It doesn't give the same haunting design as the first game, but it is justified through it's story. It's a lot more story-driven than the first game and is seemless and beautiful. Definitely a pick-up.

Baka Approval Rating: 8.5/10



  1. Nice review.

  2. HOLY DAMN! That game looks awesome! Nice graphics and looks like it has some nice gameplay!

  3. looks griddy, i like it.

  4. Once again, great game!

  5. Good review, sounds deep, will try it out.

  6. This game looks so beautifully made. I wonder if I can borrow this off someone.

  7. Very high rating. Glad you loved it.

  8. Played this game for a bit, really like how dark and creepy it is - just what I wanted out of it ;D

  9. alice never looked so good

  10. I like it, love the graphics.