My best guy friend from California is visiting right now and he brought me a surprise, Alice: Madness Returns. He knew I had been wanting it but had been on the fence about buying since the reviews of it have been in the 6-6.5/10 range.
Well let me just say, I am glad he did. I don't think the game has been reviewed fairly by the gaming industry at all. I have seen reviews whining about the graphics but to me, the way the graphics are designed lends itself to the twisted nursery rhyme aspect of the game. Basically, I think they are artistic and I think that was lost on some people, sort of like how the graphics in Borderlands was lost on some players. People griped and moaned they were sub-par but honestly, they were perfect for the game and were artistically the way the designer wanted them. The voice acting is good as well. I am not going to say these people are up for Oscars but it's better than a majority of games. Cheshire Cat's voice practically purrs.
The controls can be difficult and don't respond as well as I would like. Having to hit LT and A to get an umbrella out to deflect a fireball can easily end up being A to jump instead because the 2 buttons were not hit at the same time. That does get old. I like the fact I can dodge (RB) and it actually works. The pepper grinder could be easier to aim, or I should say quicker to aim but maybe I have become spoiled by auto aim.
The game play is challenging, even frustratingly so with some boss battles. Yes, you read that right, boss battles. I just read an article about how games don't have boss battles anymore. Really? Maybe they should try playing this. In true, old school gaming fashion, the enemies get harder and there are boss battles. Those bosses eventually become routine enemies and replaced by bigger, badder, harder bosses.
It is a hack-and-slash, platformer but the story is rich and there are many small things to accomplish so you don't get bored. I probably played about 10-12 hours today and I haven't even finished Chapter 2, so it is A long-ish game. You can read Alice's "medical record" and get the backstory as to what exactly happened to Alice.
This Alice follows Lewis Carrol's story more and not the Disney-fied version. It's dark and so is the humor. You will bounce between Wonderland and England, as Alice tries to regain what she has lost, her memory.
Now I am far from being finished but so far the one thing that I have learned to thoroughly dislike about this game is timed switches. Trust me, after trying the same switch 6-10 times you'll want to chuck your controller through the TV too. I am playing on normal and I can't even begin to imagine trying to finished this game on Hard or Nightmare. Normal is completely challenging.
I downloaded my copy of the original Alice compliments of EA and it made me happy. There was the game I remember playing. They cleaned up the graphics but you can tell it's an older PC game. It seems to have ported well to console though and I recommend playing it.
All and all, though I don't think this game is a 10 or even an 8 (more like a 7-7.5) I think it's great game all and all. It's worth buying and playing. So go grab a copy of Alice.
This isn't the first time I have disagreed with the "gaming media experts" and it won't be the last I am sure. I still think Modern Warfare 2 was totally overrated.