In addition to playing a couple hours of “Ocarina of Time–3D” on Sunday, I also picked up and tested out “Alice: Madness Returns”. I remember hearing about the first “Alice” game but never got around to playing it; seeing the gameplay footage again last week intrigued me… ’cause you know, sometimes you don’t want to play a shooter or a puzzle game, sometimes you just gotta slice and dice your way to… no… no… this isn’t going in the direction I intended…er…
I can’t compare the sequel to the first game because I haven’t actually played the first game, but purchasing the second game gives you the opportunity to start from game one if you’d like, for free (download). I jumped right in and entered the macabre world of “Madness Returns”. The graphics are decent–somewhere between “Twilight Princess” and “CoD: Black Ops”–but the actual design of the environment is in no way lacking. Each “area”–for example, the first stage, which somewhat resembles an enchanted forest with too many toadstools, is littered with shells, waterfalls, glowing flowers, bugs–let’s just say if I were watching someone play this game it wouldn’t be a bad idea to… be under some sort of influence. I should probably include that it’s one of those platform/adventure games, so it’s a great deal of fun being a view/searching for where to go next. I’d like to note that the cutscenes are done 2D-style, not unlike illustrations pulled from a children’s book or a wood carving.
I haven’t played as many games as I should have, but I think I’ve played a fair enough amount to note that the gameplay in “Madness Returns” is very unique, overall. There are many ways to defeat your enemies–I’ll start off with your weapons–you see on the cover art she’s wielding a fancy butcher knife. It’s for slicing and dicing–if you didn’t realize by the gameplay trailer I posted, this game is a bit bloody. You also get a pepper grinder for long-range shooting. You can lock onto enemies for easy targeting (pretty helpful), and I have never had to use so many of the XBOX buttons at once. There’s a button for shrinking (“Drink Me”), while you’re tiny Alice you can see things you normally would not see, good for seeing hints or ways out if you’re lost. There’s a button for dodging, 2 keys to press when you want to block an enemy’s attacks using your umbrella, pressing the analog button does another thing, every single button is used and abused and I’ve barely even started the 2nd chapter of the game. In fact, I’m only on the 2nd “area” and the environment has completely changed already, including Alice’s clothing.
Enough about the gameplay, there are endless youtube videos for that. The story is straight-forward–taking place a few years after her family’s death when their house burned to ashes and Alice was the lone survivor, witnessing it all, she now resides in an orphanage, still undergoing therapy. You would think that Alice would never have ventured back into Wonderland, but American McGee says, “No.” So here we are, playing as a mentally unstable and very dangerous little girl, in a fairly grim, steampunk-tinged fantasyland, trying to collect memories and forget about the trauma.
I’ve only played for 2-3 hours so far and barely made it through the first chapter. There are about 6-7 main chapters, and each chapter has about 17-20 sub-chapters. Oh, did I say first “chapter”? I MEANT SUB-CHAPTER. I am going to feel like a fucking accomplished human being after I beat this game, but only for a few moments before realizing how truly pathetic that
is could be.
Sidenote: You can download “dresses” that can enhance certain aspects of your fighting prowess, it’s like dress-up with a purpose.