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  1. #1
    Network Hub Revisor's Avatar
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    An overlooked gem - Alice: Madness Returns

    Hello monsieurs and mesdames,
    a great game appeared in 2011 and it was shamefully underrated and overlooked - Alice: Madness Returns.

    It's a beautiful 3D platformer with an intriguing story woven around the original Alice in Wonderland and masterfully presented with regard to graphics, dialogues as well as voice acting.
    On the surface it looks very cute but there are some dark undercurrents beneath the facade - Alice's guilt about her family's death, her abuse in the asylum, a drunk nurse blackmailing Alice.

    I've been playing it for quite a few hours now and apart from a bug that was remedied by a direct .INI edit this game is flawless.

    There is a similar praising thread on Steam Forums
    http://forums.steampowered.com/forum....php?t=2190851
    Where someone compares Alice to Psychonauts.

    Highly recommended!
    Last edited by Revisor; 22-01-2012 at 10:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    What of actually playing the game? I heard its very pretty but dumb mechanically/structurally.
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  3. #3
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    Given that I bounced off of Psychonauts, due to the poor quality platforming mechanics, I'm not sure this is a poor comparison, Heliocentric. (Psychonauts is lauded by most people, as far as I can tell, because they like the writing, not because it is clever mechanically. People who don't click with its sense of humour tend to notice the mechanics more. Similarly, I guess with Alice, if it's anything like the first Alice game, but with art-design rather than writing.)

  4. #4
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    The game is pretty fantastic. It looks amazing, the voice acting isn't terrible and the story is pretty cool. However, it has four hours of platforming stretched out into infinity and adds very little mechanical variation. I found it became quite a chore to play after a quarter of the game, and after what I guess is about three quarters, even the new visuals couldn't persuade me to play any further.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    What of actually playing the game? I heard its very pretty but dumb mechanically/structurally.
    The mechanics are functional, but tend to be repetitive. I concur with Cryptoshrimp: Your desire to continue is directly related to just how much you wanna see the next level's visuals.
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  6. #6
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    I don't play many platformers (actually almost none) so I'm hardly an expert on platforming gameplay. I can however say that I'm having fun with it.

    Aoanla may be on to something as in Alice as well as in Psychonauts I love the writing and the games draw me in because of their characters and art direction, not so much because of the gameplay (which is good but in this case secondary for me).

    There is enough variation in the combat and the platforming puzzles (+ secrets, love that mechanic of shrinking to find hidden paths) so far.

  7. #7
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    I found the last act in particular a pretty extensive grind -- it wore out its welcome very early on (graphically and mechanically) and just seemed to drag on forever.

    I think Cryptoshrimp was right on in what he wrote, because three quarters in it really became a chore to play.

    The game is definitely stretched out and far, far longer than it needs to be. It almost feels like the developers just gave up at the end and stretched out that horrid fifth act.

    Its worth the $7.50 or so I've seen it on sale just to experience it, but not really beyond that, imo as its a one and done game.. and even then, you might not even finish it.

  8. #8
    Activated Node Ignorant Texan's Avatar
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    The several hour-long sessions I've had makes me very happy I paid $2.50 for it. Even if I never play it again, I received my money's worth.

  9. #9
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    I bought this through the Steam sale myself, it's... alright. Looks pretty and the platforming is decent enough, but the combat is somewhat stale for how much of it there is, and my GPU doesn't much like the PhysX stuff. Also a pad is necessary since it uses mouse accelleration with no clear way to turn it off.

  10. #10
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    I've only played this on the 360 but I consider it one of the best looking video games ever made...

    The platforming works OK - the combat is actually decent - if it has a problem, it's that most of the levels tend to outstay their welcome a bit - but you hammer-on because you know more astonishing visuals are coming...

    If you hate action platformers - if you think all combat should be done on one button - if you dislike games which have 'lives' (lose them and you're set-back to a more distant checkpoint) then avoid this

    If you have any care for the way a game can depict something amazing - take a peek

  11. #11
    Obscure Node Sūduruncis's Avatar
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    Like a lot of people I bought this game for 2.50$ on Amazon. To my surprise, the game blew me away. I can't think of many games that are more imaginative visually. The platforming and combat parts are solid as well, I can't say they are perfect but they do their job.
    And I think we can compare this game to Psychonauts. I know it's a "holy grail" for a lot of people, but I had a chance to play this game for the first time shortly before I played Alice. I terms of gameplay - even with its flaws - Alice is better in my opinion. At least I felt that way.
    For me this game turned out to be one of the best '2011 releases. Maybe it's because I picked it up from the bargain bin and didn't have big expectations, maybe I just have a weird taste. Anyway, this turned out to be a delightful surprise.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    I don't think the game was overlooked as such; there was plenty of coverage leading up to release both here and elsewhere.

  13. #13
    Network Hub Stense's Avatar
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    I picked this game up over the Christmas break. I've not gotten around to playing it yet as I've been pretty busy with other stuff, but I'm looking forward to giving it a go. I adored the first Alice game all those years ago. Interesting to hear the Psychonauts comparisons too, any game that is favourably compared to that is going to get my attention at least.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    Got the game, played 2 hours, not going to play again.

    Alice feels more linear than Super Mario. Occasionally, it hints at alternative routes, but blocks you with a high frustration ratio and, if necessary to make sure you're going the one path the game wants you, with invisible walls. The jumping mechanics are tedious and sometimes fail to trigger without any feedback of why this is the case. The combat is just tedious.

    If the game actually were a combination of Psychonauts and Darksiders, it would be glorious. Now, it's an utterly dull game with an intriguing story, which makes the whole package even more disappointing.
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  15. #15
    Network Hub Memph's Avatar
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    It's a lot more like Darksiders than Psychonauts. Mostly with the combat style, but those who found Darksiders' combat simplistic will find Alice even more so. It works almost identically, 1 slash button, 1 bash button, 1 shoot and a dodge but with much fewer moves overall, oh and the autotargeting can completely screw you over at times. When there's large groups of enemies, picking out a prime target is tricky business.

    I'm about halfway through (i think) and enjoying it, except for some tedious jumping sections involving invisible, moving platforms. Darksiders has much better depth and structure to it tbh, what with all the new mechanics employed as you progress. Each new section had me really wanting to plough onward, but with Alice, although it's still fun, i'm not so hooked.

    As for Psychonauts, i bounced right off it. Constantly spawning enemies and having to hoover up so many little collectables scattered absolutely everywhere on each stage I found too tedious to be bothered with.
    Last edited by Memph; 22-01-2012 at 12:45 PM.

  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node Flint's Avatar
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    But Psychonauts only has constantly spawning enemies on one stage?

    I've been replaying Psychonauts once again just now and it's mechanically as solid as it ever was. For all its amazing writing, it's still an excellent game underneath as well.
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  17. #17
    Network Hub Memph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flint View Post
    But Psychonauts only has constantly spawning enemies on one stage?
    Ah, was it? It was long, long ago since I last tried it tbh. The last thing i remember was some boss thing chasing me round and around a cube and me fluffing up on the controls.

  18. #18
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    Looking at the trailer, it loos like a really boring game with great art direction.

  19. #19
    Lesser Hivemind Node Flint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Memph View Post
    Ah, was it? It was long, long ago since I last tried it tbh. The last thing i remember was some boss thing chasing me round and around a cube and me fluffing up on the controls.
    Yeah, that's the second level of the game and the only one with constantly respawning enemies. I'd highly recommend giving the game another go.
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  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rauten's Avatar
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    Bought it quite a while ago, shortly after release; Played it till it was bloody damn done; Loved it.

    The platforming and combat mechanics both are rather simple and repetitive (only 4 weapons?! gtfo), but the story, the voice acting, the visuals, and those marvellous and beautiful cardboard-style 2D scenes won me over. Wouldn't recommend it to anyone, though.

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