Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Alice in 3 Parts: Part 2

II. Alice: Madness Returns

I may not dress like a goth girl, wear dark makeup like a goth girl, or write depressing poetry like a goth girl, but I've always been more into the darker side of things, which is why a dark, grown-up version of Alice in Wonderland appeals to me.

When this game was first released, we weren't sure whether we wanted to get it. D. probably wanted it more than I did, because I had originally attempted to play the first game on the good ol' PC and was less than impressed by it (see previous post). There would have to be a mountainload of changes for me to think highly of Madness. The review I read in Game Informer didn't help. They gave it a 6.75 out of 10, and claimed that the original Alice game was far better, but I just don't get it. They, along with other reviewers, had a lot of nasty comments to say about Madness Returns, but I absolutely loved the game. I didn't run into any level glitches, and I guess I was so busy enjoying Wonderland to notice grainy textures. True, I don't play games just to review them, so maybe I'm not so jaded. When I pick up a game I'm looking to enjoy myself, not pick it apart piece by piece. So the frustrations reviewers experience, I simply didn't notice.

Alice herself is well-designed, a truly beautiful character. Each level in Wonderland has Alice in a matching dress. The art style is just wonderful. In a nod to its predecessor, there are familiarities in this game that people who played the original might recognize and enjoy, but there is enough new ground here that it doesn't feel stale or overused. My favorite part of the game was the level design. Alice can shrink at will, locating hidden pathways and traversing keyholes to obtain collectibles. She also has a triple jump ability, letting her glide through the air. This doesn't make the game overly easy by any means, but it helps ease frustration, especially if you die--usually you'll respawn right on the ledge you jumped off of.

The game makes use of minigames, breaks in the regular routine of things that annoyed some people. I honestly didn't mind them, and they aren't so overwhelming that they take precedence. I think too many people expect too much out of games these days. Alice: Madness Returns is simply a fun experience, and a breath of fresh air after attempting the original game. If I had to give it a score: 8.5 out of 10.


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