Alice: Madness Returns  (Xbox 360, 2011) Reviews
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Alice: Madness Returns (Xbox 360, 2011)

36 ratings (2 Epinions reviews)
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Cool character, flawed game

Aug 19, 2011 (Updated Aug 19, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Neat character, awesome music, cool jump mechanism

Cons:Endless repetition of monsters; not much to do with "Alice in Wonderland".

The Bottom Line: The game could have been so much better with a few more months of refinement and development. As it is now, it's basically a "C-" kind of game.


Overview
I remember how cool the original "Alice" game was for my PC ten years ago. So I was really excited to learn that a sequel to the game was available for the XBOX 360. Unfortunately, this new Alice turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag.

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What the Game Got Right
The animation and ingenuity of the Alice avatar was nothing less than stunning. It is quite obvious great attention was paid to detail when drawing the character you control. Her dress alters with every phase of the game. Little butterflies and leaves pop into existence when she flutters about. The voice talent is a good match for the avatar. 
The control mechanisms are responsive and accurate. This game does not suffer from lags that make the character miss jumps or miss opportunities to attack. The menus make sense. I just absolutely love the jump/float/glide mechanism. 

The available weapons are inventive. My favorite gadget is the "machine gun" pepper mill. That's right, it's a pepper mill that can kill all manner of critters by hurling packets of pepper into the faces of one's foes. The hobby horse is a blast when cracking open chests or breaking down collapsible walls. Each weapon can be upgraded by collecting teeth that remain behind when an enemy is defeated.

The background music for the game is emotionally stirring and accentuates the tension when Alice faces combat. Likewise, the "hysteria" feature is totally awesome. Your character frenzies when she is at her last hit point and -- for a finite time -- becomes an unstoppable killing machine. The visual effects of "hysteria" have to be seen to be believed. It really is stunning.
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What the Game Gets Wrong
There are too few monster types and you end up fighting the same kinds of creatures again and again, without end. The black blobs with baby-doll faces really do get tiresome after the first half hour or so. Unfortunately, they keep showing up even until the final Boss Stage. The endless repetition of the same monsters basically ruins this game. It is this particular flaw that gets this game a "not recommended" vote from me.

There game is punctuated with really bad mini-games. One particularly odious one involves rolling a severed doll head through an obstacle course. Blech. 

Not nearly as much attention is paid to the scenery as the main character. The textures in the game are coarse and has a "rush to get the job finished on time" feel. Moreover, while the animation for Alice is smooth and flowing, the animations for the monsters are staccato and halting. Again, it is apparent that much more effort was placed on Alice's avatar than on the monsters.

The "Recovered Memory" bubbles are utterly useless and don't advance the character or the story line in any way, shape, or form.
The game doesn't have a lot to do with the original book. It's less about "Alice In Wonderland" as it is about a character named Alice that roams around a strange realm killing black blobs with a pepper mill.


Recommend this product? No

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