If it's crap ... We'll tell you
When Alice: Madness Returns was first announced I thought it would be the game that caught everyone by surprise. Sadly though Alice suffers from some problems that keeps it from being that. Lets just jump into the review.
Madness Returns takes place directly after the events of American McGee's Alice. Alice now lives in Victorian London under the care of a psychiatrist, where the traumatic memories of her parents' deaths in a fire still haunt her. She begins to experience previously repressed memories that indicate the fire which claimed her parents' lives may not have been as accidental as she remembered. Alice starts to hallucinate and soon she returns to Wonderland. Unfortunately, it has become warped by her growing insanity, and she must save its residents from the evil that is taking over Wonderland. If Alice wishes to stay sane, she must find the true cause of her family's mysterious deaths.
Gameplay for Alice is relatively simple. Jump here, jump there, glide there, glide here, flip that lever. Everything standard in a platformer, nothing really new brought to the table in that aspect. For me though combat was the high point of this game. Alice is given 4 weapons to fight all the horrific creatures that now roam Wonderland. A lot of the time you will need to use a combination of your weapons to defeat enemies. There is a problem with the camera though when you lock-on to an enemy, sometimes the camera would keep most of the enemy off screen preventing you from seeing some of their attacks. Another problem I had with the lock-on system was it wouldn't always lock-on to who you wanted it to. An enemy would be a foot from you and sometimes it would decide to lock-on to enemy further away. The length of the game is ok, I finished it in about 8 hours. If you buy this new though you also get American McGee's Alice for FREE! So that adds some length if you play that also.
The soundtrack does a pretty good job of setting the tone of the game. Whether Alice is battling enemies or just going through another level it just all fits perfectly. This was definitely another high point for this game. You can listen to the main theme below just to get an idea of the soundtrack.
Some parts of the game are more beautiful then others. Overall though I really love the art direction of this game. It's everything I wanted the Tim Burton film to be. I love that Wonderland is just dark and twisted. I did notice though that sometimes the levels would look a little bland but this wasn't very often. Some characters look better then others. There were some that looked like the could have been on a last gen console. Then again though I didn't entirely think the graphics would be on the level of LA Noire or even Infamous 2. So the graphics were pretty decent overall.
Bugs and Glitches:
Where to start. There are some audio sync problems that can be annoying. Then all of a sudden while you are walking Alice through a level you will get stuck for no reason. There are camera problems that I listed above. During combat I noticed frame rate issues. Other then that though the game runs smoothly.
I really wanted to love every part of this game but it just didn't happen. It has problems keeping it from being the amazing game I wanted it to be. That said though, I think people should still check it out. I think if you loved the first game then this should definitely be a buy for you, plus you get a free copy of the first game so you can revisit it. For everyone else I would say just rent it because you can finish it one play through if you want.