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Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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8.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 477 Ratings

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  • Summary: American McGee's Alice returns, with his own brand of creepy supernatural Victoriana.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Jun 14, 2011
    92
    Alice: Madness Returns reminds me a lot of classic N64 platformers like Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie in the best of ways. By mixing a dark reimagining of a literary classic with stylish combat and rock-solid platforming, EA and Spicy Horse have created a gaming experience quite unlike any other. At any rate, its miles better than the lacklustre Tim Burton movie released last year. This is one rabbit hole worth tumbling down.
  2. Jul 21, 2011
    85
    It's not perfect, but it's as close to the definition of masterpiece as it could be. A thrilling and exciting adventure to the dark corners of Wonderland. [August 2011, p.83]
  3. Aug 8, 2011
    80
    Combat is flawed, but does little to detract from the game's breathtaking depiction of lunacy. [Sept 2011, p.61]
  4. Jul 26, 2011
    75
    As the title might suggest, Alice is maddening. Somewhere wrapped in a straightjacket and thrown in the dark recesses of Madness Returns is one of the best games of the generation. But it's floating amidst a sea of inadequacies that prevent it from reaching its true potential.
  5. Jun 17, 2011
    71
    The creativity put into this game is more than enough for three games, but behind the art there's not much diversity. But we still wanted to know how the story ends.
  6. 70
    Beautiful and rich fairy world is full of imaginative tasks and minigames. Excellent sound and visuals are spoiled by camera positioning and a weird checkpoint system but it should not discourage you from this interesting game. [July 2011]
  7. Aug 8, 2011
    64
    Despite its fantastic visualisation of Wonderland, repetitive gameplay means it fails to muster a chortle. [Sept 2011, p.100]

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 11 out of 136
  1. Jun 18, 2011
    10
    this game is everything alice 1 was and much better...the art makes this game a beautiful one...the pc version, once again is th betterthis game is everything alice 1 was and much better...the art makes this game a beautiful one...the pc version, once again is th better version with tight controls, great interface....a total underrated gem...love this...pirated, played the first 10 minutes, bought it on steam...thats how much i enjoyed the first 10 minutes...great game..do yourself a favor and play this, its a breath of fresh air amongst the console crap of nowadays and shooters...a plat former for everyone Expand
  2. Jun 24, 2011
    10
    1) Art: The amazing art direction is still there. I see a lot of things in Alice: Madness Returns that they probably wanted to do in the1) Art: The amazing art direction is still there. I see a lot of things in Alice: Madness Returns that they probably wanted to do in the original but the technology wasn't really up to it at the time. The attention to detail and the uniqueness of the settings compared to what we often get in most other games these days is pretty amazing. The last few areas in particular are really immersive and quite creepy.

    2) Graphics: On max settings, the graphics are actually pretty impressive thanks to the unreal engine. The graphics do not look photo-realistic, but they are not meant to. For the most part, the texture work is quite well done, along with the rest of the art assets. There are a few low resolution textures here or there, but not enough to ruin the experience. One potential annoyance, however, is that the game is by default capped at 30fps. This seems like a strange choice to me, and luckily it can be fixed by editing an .ini file.

    3) Physx: Some people don't seem to like physx, but I think these are mostly the people who either don't have a gpu that supports it in hardware, or they haven't bothered to try the game with physx. In this game, the physx adds a lot to the immersion. You get nice volumetric smoke and fog effects, apex destructible objects, cloth and hair physics, dust and other environment particles, fluid simulations, etc. If you haven't seen the game with physx enabled, you are definitely missing out. The subtle physics effects in this game are part of what makes it so beautiful in action.

    4) Sound: The sound is quite good and very fitting for the different scenarios. The voice acting is excellent and really gives personality to the characters. The sound effects are well designed and of course everything sounds great in a surround set up. Jason Tai replaces Chris Vrenna this time around for the soundtrack and he doesn't disappoint. The music varies a fair amount, but always has a bit of a dark or sad edge to it.

    5) Gameplay: The gameplay is relatively simple as with the original. Alice: Madness Returns does improve on the original in a lot of ways though. Aside from simply having more mechanics, the enemy encounters feel more dire and are more engaging. You do have to use different tactics for each enemy, which wasn't so much the case with the first one. There's more little minigames and puzzles and stuff like that too. Each weapon really feels like it has its place.

    6) Story: If you enjoy dark, gothic, Victorian aesthetics, you will like this. It might be said that perhaps because of the nature of the story, the game is more linear than it could otherwise have been, but I don't see this as a real problem. I'm fine with linearity if it's done to support good storytelling, and I think that's what we get here. I will say that I am a bit surprised with just how dark the story turned out to be. They touched on some topics I wouldn't have expected, adding a level of maturity often not seen here.

    7) Conclusion: I think that the sequel definitely lives up to the original. Everything about the original is done just as well and often quite a bit better.

    As I said, the game is relatively simple, but that's not a bad thing. It's a beautiful game, and more importantly, it's very fun. Just exploring the different environments and seeing the sights is worth the price of admission I think. Some who are looking for more action may disagree and claim that the game is boring, but if you have a bit of patience and an appreciation for unique and inspired art design, I think you will have fun here.

    If you're the type of person who likes old-school platformers or the original Alice, I'm pretty sure you'll like this game. The platforming elements are done well, the controls are slick, although I recommend using a pad for this. Trying to do the jumping puzzles with a mouse and keyboard is not as easy.

    7) Rating: I don't like giving ratings, but if I had to give this one it'd probably be 9.5/10. One point missing because I feel that there are many other cool ideas that could have been in the game that weren't, but I understand that games have to be published in a given timeframe with a given budget, and I don't feel let down at all by what I've experienced so far. What they did choose to put in the game is great. Indeed, playing this has been one of the more enjoyable gaming experiences I've had this year for sure, and probably longer.

    Finally, I hope they release a demo so that people can experience this cool game and decide for themselves. I think a lot of the reviews from the big gaming sites are misleading (I wonder how many of them played and enjoyed the original?) and probably will turn some people away from the game who would really have enjoyed it. If you look back, the original Alice didn't get such great ratings from many places either, but down the road it was definitely recognized as a gem. I think this will be the same.
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  3. Jun 15, 2011
    10
    If there's one thing I expected with the second game, it was not to be disappointed.
    And it delivered.
    It delivered oh so well. Where do I
    If there's one thing I expected with the second game, it was not to be disappointed.
    And it delivered.
    It delivered oh so well.
    Where do I even begin?

    This new iteration of Alice appears to be bigger and better in every way.
    There is a plethora of collectibles, bonus objectives, the so-called "memories", etc., but none of them are boring or tedious to get.There is a huge variety of clothing for Alice as well.
    The intro cinematic is macabre, moody, dark, pulls you in the moment it starts and sets the mood perfectly.

    The music..Let's just say that while I was disappointed at first that Chris Vrenna is only doing one track for the new game, the new composer nails it perfectly and does a fantastic job. Most of the pieces are outstanding in their own, like the main theme, some of the battle music.They do a flawless job of enhancing the atmosphere without being intrusive.
    They're errie yet beautiful.They juggle your mood from sadness to hope.The style of music itself is somewhat different from the original game, but the QUALITY is in no way worse.

    The controls are fluid and require little getting used to, they just seem natural and aren't that hard to master.The camera is great, rotation is very helpful and the ability to go intro first person is a great touch.Alice's movements are great, her motion capture is very well done, her facial expressions are great.

    Mostly every NPc you encounter actually has something to say - not random gibberish, mind you.And Alice often responds.

    Which brings us to the next major strong point of the game - the vocie acting and dialogue.
    I'd lie through my teeth if I said I didn't expect both to be top-notch, but I was still very, very pleased with what they did.
    The dialogue is witty, doesn't feel forced, lines are often cryptic and metaphoric, they perfectly fit with the dark tone the game sets by shrouding a lot of what is said in mystery. The vocie acting..It's just perfect, I can't say much about that.There are fcew NPCs that aren't on par, but the ones who stand out the most are Alice and Dr. Bumby (for me, at least.)

    The game has a great variety of characters, all unique, all interesting, all with their separate personalities and you're often left wondering what are their real intentions.

    Combat has been flawless so far. I loved how McGee and his team preserved the core original style, but brought much innovation into the sequel's.Weapons are over-the-top, extremely fun to use and original.
    What I love even more is that fighting requires tactic - you can't win by just sitting and spamming one attack in one place. The game knows the player wants a challenge and rightfully delivers.
    Every weapon, naturally, has its own tactics, much like in the original game.

    The graphics, while not being exactly groundbreaking (but who said they have to be?) are quite something - Alice herself, the locations, enemies all look gorgeous and there is extreme attention to detail in a lot of departments. Of course, there are the occasional blurry textures absolutely every game has, but that is is no way adetriment to the enjoyment of how good the twisted, yet beautiful Wonderland and its inhabitants look.Alice in particular is quite detailed, her hair flows around very naturally while jumping/running and her movements are believable and more or less realistic. The game utilizes the Unreal engine and does a very good job at using its potential.

    The gameplay is everything I expected and much, much more.
    A platforming game in a gorgeous setting with detailed environments and interesting puzzles that seem to find the perfect balance - as in, they're not that hard to figure out, but the game won't spoonfeed you what to do, either. And I love that. And finally, the storyline.
    It's just fantastic.Deep, immersive, gritty, macabre, enchanting, depressing.
    It's flawlessly paced, flawlessly told and perfectly presented.
    Helping Alice overcome her sorrow, guilt and escape from the depths of her madness is something you truly take to heart if you let the world of the game suck you in (which it has no trouble doing.)
    In the spirit of keeping this spoiler-free, let's just say that the game offers everything the original did and much more, and does an even better job at doing it.

    Overall, this game is more or less a shining gem that every fan of platforming adventure, mingled with tactical combat needs to try out.
    It's beautiful, dark, thrilling, and a stunning journey to the depths of insanity.
    Perfect score for being a perfect game.
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  4. Jun 21, 2011
    9
    Fantastic visuals, twisted plot, fun game play. If you liked the original American McGee's Alice, you'll love Madness Returns.

    Cute yet
    Fantastic visuals, twisted plot, fun game play. If you liked the original American McGee's Alice, you'll love Madness Returns.

    Cute yet creepy environments that are beautifully detailed abound in this successor to the original. The controls are well done, but could be slightly better. Summary, if you liked the first one, you'll love this. Classic platforming at it's best.
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  5. Oct 13, 2014
    8
    An imaginative platformer / adventure type game that I am glad to have tried and experienced. The artwork, creative and varied level designAn imaginative platformer / adventure type game that I am glad to have tried and experienced. The artwork, creative and varied level design and story were easily the strong points of this game. I also thought Alice as a character was very well done and the 'disturbed' take on, and story of, her journey through madness was interesting and at times surprising.

    On the down side however the game was too long and towards the end had some very annoying sections that were an unnecessary and frustrating chore to complete versus advancing the story (e.g. the fiddly 'head pinball' style sections and annoying slides).
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  6. Dec 10, 2014
    7
    This game is gorgeous! Unfortunately, that is its highest point. Yes, it is really atmospheric and you feel immerse in this **** reality,This game is gorgeous! Unfortunately, that is its highest point. Yes, it is really atmospheric and you feel immerse in this **** reality, which is made even better with the awesome soundtrack. But, on the other hand, the combat and platforming are really repetitive, and the game is only nice in short bursts. And it really drags on with its 15 hour campaign, and the last level is a real bore to me. But the whole art style, the sound and even the story are amazing to me. Yes, you should try it. Just don't play more than 2 hours per day, and you'll love it. Expand
  7. Aug 15, 2011
    0
    Way too long and repetitive. People who rate this game a ten have to be out of their minds..how can you sit through such boring gameplay. YouWay too long and repetitive. People who rate this game a ten have to be out of their minds..how can you sit through such boring gameplay. You have seen everything after the first few hours. It never gets refreshing after that..Sure, some of the stages have been designed nicely but it's always the same "jump", "push a switch", "kill enemies" -> repeat ad nauseum. Expand

See all 136 User Reviews