Alice: Madness Returns

Greetings all! My first blog entry will talk about the game Alice: Madness Returns.

This game is available to play for PC, PS3, and XBox 360. The console I used was XBox 360. It is the sequel to American McGee’s Alice, which unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to play. Take note, it is rated M by the ESRB (does anyone actually pay attention to that?). It is created by EA games, American McGee, and Spicy Horse.

Here’s the story. Alice is insane due to the trauma of losing her parents and sister in a house fire. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Bumby, is using hypnosis to make her forget her unpleasant memories. Alice has a psychotic break and enters Wonderland, where she finds it altered and twisted into something dark and dangerous. She travels through Wonderland collecting memories that she had forgotten, and through this you uncover the true events on the night of the house fire.

Now on to the graphics! This game is a third person (characterized by over the shoulder and slightly above viewpoint) psychological horror (a subgenre of horror that uses your characters fears against them) action game (a focus on physical challenges for the character). The visual graphics were very well done. I didn’t notice any repeating patterns in the background, no blurred areas, and no lack of color or styling. Each stage of the game had a different theme that seemed well thought out and immense detail seemed to be put into the characters, the enemies, and the environment. The audio elements were very good as well. The game has audio so you can hear the characters speak (as opposed to some games that just show text) and they animated moving mouths as well. They also included text at the bottom of the screen for those who have an easier time reading versus hearing, although I did notice a few instances where speech occurred but no text appeared. Fortunately, the dialogue at those times were unimportant.

So, gameplay. As the game progresses, you switch between reality and Wonderland pretty frequently. You do not have the ability to use weapons or skills in reality, but there really is no need for those things anyway. Reality in this game is mainly story filler and background information. As for the challenges, there are a few riddles and puzzles but they are not the dominant trials in this game. There are a few more slide challenges (character is sliding down a ramp, don’t fall off) and some musical challenges (hit the correct buttons when prompted). For the most part, the challenges focus on speed, brawl matches, and normal video game hand eye coordination techniques. There are a few tricky parts where you have to use your head, but nothing you readers can’t handle. 🙂

Controls. They controls are pretty simple. The only trouble I really had was switching rapidly between the tea pot and the pepper grinder in a boss fight but it still wasn’t very difficult. (Remember this is XBox 360. Other consoles might be easier or harder.) My hints for the game is to remember to shrink and look around on occasion, and dodge is your best friend over a hit attack. I encountered a minor bug where I was dodging a doll’s scissor attack but got trapped between three different enemies, while they all wailed on me, and the camera seemed to be stuck in the doll’s head so I couldn’t even see what I was doing. I did manage to get out without losing too much health and without restarting the console, so nothing too bad.

All in all, I recommend this game for people to play. I noticed underlying symbolism which I found very interesting. It has a great story line, great visuals and audio elements, the controls are pretty simple, and it incorporates more than just beating up enemies. It has a dark cartoonish theme to it which is actually quite entertaining.

Message me any comments, concerns, or recommendations you may have.

Now, dear readers, I must bid you adieu. Happy playing.

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