Alice Madness Returns:Review

I am going to start off by describing this game in one line, being; A mediocre game following a rather appalling attempt at a unique penetration in the platform genre market. The first installment of this new take on Alice In Wonderland had severe problems and failed to impress, making playing the game feel as painful as jamming a rusty nail through your eye socket, so I was eager to see if the lazy developers fixed the previous problems, since this game was extremely backed up by the EA marketing department and stirred up some attention from the public.

Plot: The game starts off from where we left off Alice in the previous installment; Alice is now locked up in an orphanage being treated by a psychiatrist whose main goal is to eliminate all of Alice’s memories of her parent’s death through hypnotism. After a session Alice wonders off in the streets and starts to hallucinate, and ends up in wonderland again to help the Madhatter reunite with his dismembered limbs. Alice together with the Madhatter have to stop the March hare and the Dormouse from building the infernal train which is set to bring down Wonderland. The story unravels and opens up both in Wonderland and in real life and Alice is faced with some tough decisions that will decide the future Wonderland.

Audio and Video: Well in the visual department, there nothing much to be amazed about, it just does a good job in keeping up to today’s standards. The only thing that makes this game stand out is just the artwork and styling, which to me feel creepy in a god way, and really adds to the feeling that you are in Wonderland. The graphics engine seems to have a tough time when there is a lot of stuff going on in the picture which ends up causing screen tearing and often latency in the frame rate. The textures and environment look so identical that you will get lost ALOT of times and you’ll have no bloody clue where the hell you are going most of the time. Character diversification is laughable, and some enemies look like shrunken madhatters without the hat. When coming to the sound department you can’t admire anything really, only the option to mute everything (but that attribute goes to the TV maker). The voice acting is cheap, unprofessional, and feels forced at times. The quality of the sound is mediocre to say the least especially when having muffled speech most of the time. The soundtrack is depressing, I know the director wanted to give out the feel of Alice was a creepy story, but god damn it the soundtrack is like a constant suspenseful moment during a horror flick.

Gameplay: This game is basically an action adventure platformer, with a bold underline under the word platformer. You will start off with a Vorpal blade to bring down opponents in swift button beatings. You will acquire more weapons which will need upgrading every once in a while as you progress through the storyline. Combat is an interpretation of turn-based combat, with the character being able to focus on one opponent at a time (even though they can attack you all together and piss on your motionless body in one harmonious flow). The platforming side of the game is basically jumping from one pod to another using game mechanics made by 11year old demented people with a goal to stress gamers. With such a large focus on the world of jumping (like its predecessor) you would imagine that the developers would have fixed the jumping mechanics which was rubbish, but instead of making proper Gameplay mechanics they drown the problem out by adding more features (crappy features). It’s like having problems with your car engine and the mechanic fits pedals in the car instead of fixing the problem. It hurts me so much that a game based on jumping has the jumping feature that doesn’t work at all and doesn’t even have a ledge grabbing which is basic in all genres of gaming. The character also feels heavy and chunky, and combat is repetitive and isn’t that immersive since it’s a button battery rather than a cleaver aspect of the game. The game tends to repeat itself allot but in different environments.

Personal Impact: This game definitely had potential, but the team behind it was too lazy to think clearly and produce a decent game. Too many rookie mistakes which were outlined by the public in the previous installments have been ignored making this game a bigger fiasco than its predecessor. The game tries to combine a lot of different aspects and not having one single strong aspect that might have put this game ahead of the opponents. I don’t feel like I was even mildly entertained by this game and I am so disappointed by the waste of potential.

Overall Rating: 4/10 (and I'm being really generous)

By Matthew C.