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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alice: Madness Returns

By David Tadros

Gameplay - 7.0
Alice Madness Returns attempts to replicate gameplay found in most 3D Mario and Zelda games, but it lacks in certain key elements that hold the gameplay back.  Camera angles constantly change on you, forcing a change in the direction you’re moving.  This usually happens at the worst times and often leads to a death.  At random points your weapon will cease to work, or while walking along a path Alice will get hung up on what looks like nothing.  Though the game does have different weapons to choose from for different enemies, the gameplay barely ever changes.  The enemies may look different, but almost all of them are killed the same way.  The different environments could have been a great opportunity to add different styles of gameplay to the mix, but you will be quickly disappointed when you realize that each level is just a different skin of the last.  Alice: Madness Returns adds a few moments of change here and there with some side-scrolling scenes, sliding sections, and sliding puzzles, but these changes feel more like a hindrance more than an addition.  Alice: Madness Returns clocks in at around 20 hours of gameplay depending on if you are a collectable hunter or not, but this may not be a good thing.  Most of the chapters seem to drag on with the same repeating gameplay over and over leaving you wishing for the chapters end.

Story – 6
The story of Alice: Madness Returns follows a now older, and still quite troubled, Alice as she falls in and out of reality.  While in Wonderland Alice finds memories of her past which she tries to sort through in her quest for answers. Though it seems as if this story would play a major role in the game, Alice: Madness Returns feels more like clusters of mini games placed together that have little to do with the overall story.  New story elements do not occur often enough to even care about.  The game adds too many hours of gameplay, so much so that by the time any story elements start to come through you’ve already forgotten that the game had a story to begin with.  Some story elements do add to the games environments and are interesting enough to keep you playing, but these revelations mostly occur after the halfway mark of the game.  Overall the story is predictable, lackluster and can be summed up in a few short sentences.
Game Modes/Presentation - 7.5
With each location within Wonderland, from the industrial era influenced “Hatters Domain” to the “Card Castle In the Sky,” you will be amazed by the beautiful artwork and detail placed into the backdrops and foreground, but at some points the backdrops are too detailed  so much so that some areas look to be enterable, and turn out not to be.  In stark contrast to the imaginative environments of 'Alice' are the lackluster designs of the enemies, who more often than not appear to be nothing more than black blobs.

Graphics – 6.0
Between subpar character movement and objects popping in and out, the graphics in Alice: Madness Returns are a disappointment to say the least.  The only graphical moments to look forward to are cut scenes and, of course, Alice’s hair!  In fact, Alice’s hair movement is one of the most detailed I’ve seen in a game.  Madness Returns graphics aren’t quite up to this console generation’s standards, but they aren’t completely terrible. 

Sound - 6.0
Musically Alice: Madness Returns is ignorable.  The background music is just what it is – background music.  It seems as though the game only has music as if to avoid silence.  Some of Alice: Madness Returns does rely on its sound space, but this really only pertains to listening for flying pig snouts which lead to certain collectables and items.
Online - N/A
Final Score:  6.5
Aside from Alice: Madness Returns lackluster plot and repetitive plat former gameplay, it is a decent experience if you can overcome the annoyingly long chapters and constant glitches.

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