Alice: Madness Returns
Let me start out by saying, “No, I did not play the first American McGee’s Alice.” And for that, I am sorry. I picked this up on a Steam sale and didn’t even think about it. You know those games that you severely underestimate, this is one of them. I was always timid to play these games because it seems like something a high school goth kid would get caught with in his backpack so he could be seen carrying it around. I was wrong and enthralled by the first moment of this game.
As someone who did not play the first Alice it took me a minute to understand what was going on. But, being the good game that it is, it made me want to figure out. In fact, I appreciate that more. I wanted to move on and get the memories (these little side items similar to the Riddler’s hats if your are familiar with the Batman: Arkham series) so I could get more of the story-line. They do provide you much of it inside the cut scenes and you pick up on a lot listening to the various people talking around you. So the side items aren’t necessary but they are enjoyable none-the-less.
I was surprised at how well the gameplay worked. At first I was afraid this was going to be some estranged third-person shooter but I was very wrong. It’s more of a puzzle game than anything else. In fact, so much so that many of the “Boss” fights I didn’t actually have to do much. So if you are looking for a hardcore, hack-n-slash game this is not it. However, if you are looking for a visually and mentally stimulating puzzle-platformer with a few intense fights then you’ve found it.
The tools you get to help you succeed in your mission to reclaim your lost memories seem to be the perfect blend necessary to move forward. While I will admit that if you upgrade your Vorpal blade it does seem a little over-powered, the other tools are still quite necessary to move on. Each tool has its own very distinct purpose and many times you are required to frequently switch between them.
The monsters after about the 4th Chapter seem to get a bit monotonous and some of them can be really frustrating. Colossal Ruins, I’m looking at you:
However, once you learn their patterns it can be pretty easy to beat them. Very similar to World of Warcraft’s tank and spank bosses. Shoot, Block, Rinse, Repeat. The monsters that they have do get a little creative the further you progress as far as character models go and I can definitely appreciate the artwork here.
All in all I believe that Alice: Madness Returns was a fantastic game. I feel like it was just a bit short but it could be because I sat down for like 2 days playing straight through. The game left me wanting more and more but sadly there will not be anymore [as for now anyway].