Review by firentheflame
Welcome to Wonderland! You will have fun here.
Have you ever played American McGee's Alice? If you haven't, you should. But don't worry, it's not needed to understand the plot.
The game leads Alice Liddell in Wonderland, which is nothing like the original word invented by Carroll. It's darker, bloodier and scarier. A great adventure in which Alice must find what is making her crazy and destroying her Wonderland while trying to find out what happened when her parents died when she survived a fire in her house.
It's not exactly outstanding, but it makes a connexion with everything and leads you through all the stages of this platformer. The characters are nicely developed (even if they don't have much screentime) and the whole story makes sense.
Wonderland looks beautifully made and all the details make the scenarios beautiful. The levels are very imaginative, you just have to take a look at the amazing view of the rotten streets of London to get a great impression of the scenary design and the way Alice's hair and dress moves along with the wind. It still has awful texturing flaws as they sometimes take too long to load (blaming the Unreal Engine) and some character's textures looks odd. The worst flaw is probably the way it can lag when there are too many enemies in the screen at the same time, which renders the game tedious to play at times.
The voice acting is nice and credible, specially Alice's acting. The special effects do their work without being too amazing. The music is barely noticeable and it only works to give a chilling feeling at the levels (or to make them creepier)
While the game in PC can be hard to play due to some stupid technical issues with key bindings such as the umbrella not showing up with the default key, it's a fun game and precise in its controls. Alice reacts smoothly to any order you give her and the camera doesn't give many troubles in difficult jumps. It even changes its position at times to make it easier for you. The plataforming parts are fun and well planned and the enemies are fun to beat and doesn't get repetitive as each one requires a different technique to beat them. You have four weapons with you that are very versatile and intuitive, as well as a targeting system that works nicely. There are two melee weapons and two long range ones that you will use not only for fighting but to resolve puzzles aswell. The puzzles are the only tedious parts in the game but there are times when you can skip them if they're too hard (like the chess-like game in chapter 4)
There are countless items to find around the stages. Firstly, you can collect teeth to upgrade your weapons and make your Vorpal blade faster or increase the firing ratio of your Pepper Mill. You can also collect memory fragments of Alice's life, to clarify her past life and keep trying to solve the mystery of her parent's death and last but not least, the bottles, which unlock extra content as character sheets.
The game is long and should take you a good amount of 7-8 hours to beat, but this number can increase to 15 if you want to collect everything in the game.
This game is worth a try even if you're not fun of hack 'n' slash games or platformers but if you're fan of both genres, you'll enjoy it greatly and will certainly play it again even if only to see again the beautiful scenary. You won't regret buying this game at all but prepare to get scared a few times! Wonderland and madness go together in this game.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Alice: Madness Returns (EU, 12/21/12)
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