Alice: Madness Returns review

Madness Returns doesn't stray far from its predecessor, beckoning Alice and the player to return to not only the world of Wonderland, but to the era of 32-bit gaming as well.

80

I never expected to see a sequel to American McGee's Alice. It was a charming platformer that, in spite of its flaws, spoke to me. The imaginative reinterpretation of the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland pulled me in with its grim mood and macabre visuals. No wonder I was so enchanted by it--I was a teenager, and it spoke to my emo self.

Since Alice's release, a lot has changed. I've grown older--and so have games. Gone are the platformers that used to be so commonplace in that day. Its modern sequel, Alice: Madness Returns, doesn't stray far from its predecessor, though. It beckons me to return not only to the world of Wonderland, but to the era of 32-bit gaming as well.

My first few moments reunited with Alice were charming. It had felt like I had reconnected with a long-lost friend. Rendered by current-generation graphics, the twisted world of American McGee's imagination looks more surreal than before. Surrounded by pig snouts that fly and butterflies that help Alice glide through the environment, Madness Returns is a wondrous retreat from the war-torn worlds that most games inhabit.

The first level carefully introduced the various elements that comprise Alice's gameplay. Most notably, the combat has dramatically improved. I was able to rapidly switch between Alice's various weapons: a pepper grinder that functions as your long-range gun, the Vorpal Blade for melee attacks, and an umbrella that can deflect attacks back at enemies. It's no Devil May Cry, but the combat is fast--and thanks to some very clever camera work--feels in-your-face and intense.

But much like its predecessor, Alice is still a platformer at heart. She bounces on mushrooms and jumps from one curiously floating platform to the next. One clever twist on the gameplay involves a magic potion that makes Alice shrink, revealing secrets that are otherwise invisible. But, she cannot jump while in miniature form. Therefore, I had to help her jump from one invisible platform to the next.

My enchanted reminiscing didn't last for long. Much like the luster of Wonderland quickly fades for Alice, the game similarly loses its appeal. The rote alternation of platforming-fighting-platforming might have been sufficient a generation ago, but no longer. Madness Returns should be an "experience," but instead, is simply a "game."

It's disappointing to see such creativity go to waste. American McGee clearly has a vision for this world, but it's difficult to stay engaged or absorbed by it for long, especially as you collect meaningless collectible after collectable. Like classic N64 platformers, there are hundreds of items to find throughout the environment--and most are seemingly useless. Collection should be rewarding, not a chore.

The storytelling is equally shallow, a real disappointment given the genuinely intriguing premise of the game. Disjointed, poorly directed cutscenes make the journey less compelling, and more confusing. The journey set me chasing a train, inexplicably on course to destroy Wonderland. Instead of experiencing the story through the game, it simply jumps into pre-rendered cutscenes at seemingly arbitrary points. There is an interesting story here, but the game does little to engage you. Like its gameplay, the storytelling method feels like a relic of yesteryear's game design.

I'm sure the 15 year old me would've been perfectly content playing Madness Returns. Its slightly anarchist themes and grim attitude would've made me overlook the fact that it is, ultimately, a less-cute-and-friendly, less-polished Banjo-Kazooie. My tastes have matured since then, and games have grown as well. In light of platforming genius, like Super Mario Galaxy, and the cinematic workings of Uncharted, it's sad to see Alice couldn't grow up as well.

[Ed's note: It's easy to let games slip by over the summer so Shacknews is checking out a few recent releases to let you know if you might be missing something special]


Disclosure: The Alice: Madness Returns review is based on a retail version of the game for the Xbox 360, provided by Electronic Arts.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 30, 2011 8:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Alice: Madness Returns review.

    Madness Returns doesn't stray far from its predecessor, beckoning Alice and the player to return to not only the world of Wonderland, but to the era of 32-bit gaming as well.

    • reply
      July 30, 2011 8:01 AM

      the era of 32 bit gaming... so like, crysis?

      • reply
        July 30, 2011 9:46 AM

        Yes. He means Crysis exactly!

        He very clearly means the specific release of Alice (2000) and how the industry has changed since then. If you want to latch onto Wikipedia, it says the era ended in the mid 2000's. Just think about how much has changed in the last six years.

        • reply
          July 30, 2011 10:21 AM

          Crysis 2 also had a 32-bit executable! And Torchlight. Hmm, come to think of it there are quite a few.

        • reply
          July 30, 2011 10:29 AM

          Well, the idea of a "32 bit era" in gaming is a console thing, and the original Alice was a PC game. It's kind of amusing to try to apply the concept to PC gaming since the overwhelming majority of PC games are 32-bit. Not a big deal but there you go.

        • reply
          July 30, 2011 10:44 AM

          6 years ago every PC game was 32 bit. Now only 98% of them are!

        • reply
          July 30, 2011 11:50 AM

          Pretty much every game is still released in 32 bit; so it's a dumb thing to name an era after!

        • reply
          July 30, 2011 11:55 AM

          Still doesn't make sense.

    • reply
      July 30, 2011 10:36 AM

      Didn't this come out like a month ago? When does your Doom 3 review drop?

      • reply
        July 30, 2011 11:20 AM

        Clearly you jumped in to bitch without reading the last part of the review:

        [Ed's note: It's easy to let games slip by over the summer so Shacknews is checking out a few recent releases to let you know if you might be missing something special]

        Thanks, Frontpager. You are something special.

        • reply
          July 30, 2011 11:23 AM

          Frontpager? Ok, I don't think that means what you think it means.

          I did read the whole thing and it wasn't a positive review, so I don't see how that jives with you letting us know we might be missing something special, when the review conclusion was that it wasn't very special at all. Coincidentally, this is a conclusion I'm sure most of us discovered over a month ago.

          • reply
            July 30, 2011 11:28 AM

            Oh, I know what that means and you're certainly acting like a frontpager.

            Also, "let you know if" -- that does not inherently mean everyone we're going back to look at is going to be good. And "most" ... that's a great, sweeping generalization. You might want to look at some of the comments about the game after we talked about it on Weekend Confirmed. That podcast conversation and subsequent discussion in the community about the game was what pushed us to go back to this game to see if--as some Shackers said it would--the game would get better over time.

            • reply
              July 30, 2011 11:40 AM

              are there any shacknews editors that don't hate us?

              • reply
                July 30, 2011 11:42 AM

                Do any of the other editors actually spend time commenting?

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 11:52 AM

                  Alice does from time to time, but she does bitter scorn with more style

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 12:00 PM

                  it really doesn't buy you any credibility or good will to be mean. you can refute points without low blows. you're a writer, xav. you have no excuse to be like this - and if you really can't take the negativity or contrary opinions surrounding the site/stuff you work on, then you shouldn't post publicly.

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 12:12 PM

                    why, he's being as real as anyone else here? someone made a shitty ass comment about a late review - it wasn't even constructive - and he responded in a way that suggested he was being a 'frontpager' which is kinda true. if that's name calling, it's apt.

                    I see plenty of people, yourself, take your buddy OverloadUT, just totally sling shit and insults at people via posts. Don't get high and mighthy with Xav here and all of a sudden go on with this YOU ARE MEAN shit. Very hypocritical of all but a few here on the shack .

                    • reply
                      July 30, 2011 12:15 PM

                      there's a huge difference between my posts here and his: he's an employee of this company. i can draw a correlation to myself perfectly: if any of my community managers posted something like that on the forums where i work, i would not only be embarrassed, i would rip them a new one.

                      you can counter a bad comment with a level of professionalism and grace. lord knows, i've had to deal with it over the past five years at my job. it's not necessary for editors on this site to do that because they don't have to engage if they can't stay calm, but they should not engage, then.

                      • reply
                        July 30, 2011 12:18 PM

                        you aren't in a position to critique how he interacts with the shack in the forum. he isn't a community manager, he's a part of the editorial team. Different thing, don't extend a role unto him because it's either intimate with what you do in your professional life, or you think that's what he SHOULD be doing.

                        i go to countless websites, ign, giant bomb, whatever - where the ed staff is very free with their mind in the forums, as they should be. They aren't some neutral manager or mod, they work to write content and I think it's damn refreshing they interact like real people and not reinforce the already pretty intense police state we have here lately

                        • reply
                          July 30, 2011 12:21 PM

                          it's not about his title - it's that he's a public facing person who represents the company. as such, he should be respectful. that's a general rule of thumb for all public facing positions within companies.

                          i don't think anyone - editor, writer, community manager, etc. - is "neutral" on his or her company arena. that would be boring. there's a huge swath of discussion that can be had where you are not neutral but don't openly insult or attack people.

                          • reply
                            July 30, 2011 12:25 PM

                            I've seen his posts and they are pretty much all the time dahanese. I'm confused, why are you taking the position all of a sudden that he's some abrasive poster? He's not? He responded to ashkie's pretty shitty insult with both an explanation, a modification to the story (to his credit) with a disclaimer on why it was late, and then told him his attitude was shitty (hence the frontpager comment).

                            I still don't see what is wrong with that and I think you're stretching.

                            • reply
                              July 30, 2011 12:28 PM

                              if you read my replies in this thread you'll understand - particularly my last few down below!

                              all is good now. deep breaths.

                        • reply
                          July 30, 2011 3:13 PM

                          I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter. People are far to quick to judge others actions.

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 12:16 PM

                    My credibility is in the work I produce. I'm here now commenting on someone's quick reaction and crappy comment. I defend our position against one person and you're reaction is that i've given everyone bad attitude. Sorry, but that's silly.

                    • reply
                      July 30, 2011 12:17 PM

                      when i loaded up this thread to check out the DNF thread i saw your comment and i thought it was off-putting and unnecessarily negative. then i scrolled down and saw this and wondered what was going on with you. that's how it went. it's odd to see insults from editors and writers and it's not something i think you should strive for.

                      if that's how you guys roll, rock on. it's just a shame.

                      • reply
                        July 30, 2011 12:20 PM

                        be honest though I bet you wish you could insult people at work too

                        • reply
                          July 30, 2011 12:22 PM

                          some people frustrate the hell out of me, yes. running community and customer service yields some nasty stuff sometimes and i've joked here that you have to be a masochist to like it. but i really do.

                      • reply
                        July 30, 2011 4:27 PM

                        It was obviously a joke. He's been posting in the typical Chatty-Asshole mindset for a while now and it's great. You've been here long enough to know that most Chatizens would never intentionally mean to hurt feelings or belittle someone's creative work. There are your major-league assholes that are in it to be a dick, but they are easily ignored.

                        Honestly, we need an extra "Smart-ass comment" tag for the Shacktags Legend so everyone doesn't take each comment so fucking personally.

                        • reply
                          August 1, 2011 2:02 AM

                          This was my intention but I think it was blown out of proportion.

                          We do a lot of stuff for the community here. Dark Chatty anyone? Hey, it was six months later... but it happened!

                          We didn't do it because we cared. We did it for the readers.

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 5:54 PM

                    Could not have said it better myself.

                    Shack is so much different since Steve left and no not in a snuggly kind of way.One little complaint about the site and NUKE NUKE NUKE,warning you will be banned.I only come here for the comments now and here mr smarty pants not willing take any constructive criticism.

                    We all know this game is kinda of meh why act like your giving us great content on a Saturday when clearly your just pissing into the wind posting that.

                    • reply
                      July 30, 2011 6:34 PM

                      i dunno, the game did come out a month and a half ago -- way longer than anybody will have cared about this game. at least ashkie's jab was accurate. Xav's response seemed more butthurt than clever or funny. i like shack burns to be clever and funny!

                      • reply
                        July 30, 2011 6:35 PM

                        oops. supposed to be a reply to Crabs because i can't chatty

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 12:47 PM

                  Remo dealt with stupid comments with finesse and hilarity that has yet to be matched.

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 1:01 PM

                    and in the end even he couldn't put up with us :(

                    • reply
                      July 30, 2011 3:12 PM

                      :( Remo was a large reason why I became a fulltime shacker and lurked no more. He was a member of the community fully.

                      • reply
                        July 30, 2011 3:15 PM

                        (I also fear that Remo's day might be the absolute high point of the Shack - especially the post quake shack - and I've been coming here since it was a meager quakeholio)

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 3:12 PM

                    Yes ,but he's known to love Far Cry 2. He's a loony.

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 1:08 PM

                  personally i think the editors being snarky is great, i just thought calling ashkie a frontpager seemed like a really inaccurate comeback given how long ashkie has been a chatty regular. you could've made it sting a little harder is all

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 4:22 PM

                    Anyone who makes a dipshit comment on a front-page article deserves every put-down they get.

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 1:22 PM

                  What, amongst these filthy BACKPAGERS?

          • reply
            July 30, 2011 12:24 PM

            holy shit!

            ashkie!

            where the fuck have you been???

            sorry xav, this mofo pre dates you probably.

        • reply
          July 30, 2011 11:39 AM

          Did he seriously call Ashkie a frontpager?

          • reply
            July 30, 2011 11:41 AM

            Technically I'm saying he's quick to bitch like one.

            • reply
              July 30, 2011 11:52 AM

              The sole purpose of a game review, or a review on anything in general is to help people on the fence with a buying decision. Most (omg sweeping generalization) of those decisions come around the time a game is released. The Shacknews reviews, while mostly full of good insight and sound conclusions, usually come very late.

              You have a self admitted small group of editors so I don't see why you wouldn't put them towards reviewing current games like Bastion, or bring attention to indie titles like Dungeons of Dredmore, or something that was a super duper game that didn't sell very well and needed attention.

              • reply
                July 30, 2011 12:08 PM

                I know the general thought behind a review is that the writer is acting like a buying guide, but that's not what we do.

                As for Bastion. We already reviewed that. On embargo day.
                http://www.shacknews.com/article/69326/bastion-review

                We have been late with reviews in the past, yes. We're working to change that. We've been on time with other reviews like The Witcher 2 and Shadows of the Damned, to name a few recent pieces.

                If you want indie stuff? We started a new indie feature last week (the second one went up today). We also have a sister site dedicated to Indie.

                What made me laugh (and made me call you a Frontpager) was the Doom remark. "Oh, man. A month late? What's a hilarious example of the next piece of content I can say they're doing?!" That's a Frontpager joke, and I expect more from Shackers is all.

                The reason we're going back to review Alice, Child of Eden (and on Monday, Fear 3) is not because we're scrambling to finish the reviews. It's because, according to NPD, those three games did not do well at retail. So, the idea of "most" people know that they should or shouldn't buy them makes no sense to me when "most" people didn't actually buy them.

                So, we came up with an idea: Let's go back to those games that didn't sell and tell people if there is something special sitting on the shelf at their local game store that they should be buying.

                I loved Child of Eden. Andrew, initially liked Alice, but it became a chore. We'll see how Fear 3 shakes up.

                That's all I'm saying. We're trying to do something different (talk about a game after launch, when many other sites else ignore it when it's out) to start a conversation about the potential that's out there. The kneejerk "herp, derp" reaction to "OMG OLD" is what we expected initially so we added that Ed Note to explain WHY these are "late."

                We'll have to agree to disagree on whether or not it works.

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 12:15 PM

                  expecting more from us was your first mistake! we're a bunch of lowbrow, drooling hyenas that get off on reposted content, reddit links and cock jokes. Interface with us at your peril

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 12:18 PM

                  "So, the idea of "most" people know that they should or shouldn't buy them makes no sense to me when "most" people didn't actually buy them. "

                  That doesn't make much sense. People didn't buy them because they knew they weren't very good games and people knew this based on reviews that were published when they were released. Children of Eden was a niche title which could be argued why it didn't sell as well, but Alice and Fear 3 were very lukewarm games, Fear 3 especially and I'm sure the finished review of that game will shake out the same conclusion.

                  Also, while on the subject of reviews, it would be nice if you had a link on your front page that listed all of the reviews done by Shacknews. I see no easy way to access them once they've cycled off the front page and if you use the search feature to look for "reviews", the returns start in 1999.

          • reply
            July 30, 2011 7:47 PM

            Seriously ? When did Frontpager become this community's "N-Word"

            Thats our word, how dare you use it!!! You guys are fucking ridiculous.

        • reply
          July 30, 2011 11:52 AM

          It's pretty fucking unprofessional to use "frontpager" as a derogatory term. It's like having "readers of our website" be a derogatory term. Have some fucking pride in the website you work for.

          • reply
            July 30, 2011 11:56 AM

            this thread is gonna get ugly :(

            • reply
              July 30, 2011 11:59 AM

              Agreed. Mods feel free to nuke my parent post.

              • reply
                July 30, 2011 12:11 PM

                I think apart from my own kneejerk reaction in calling you a frontpager, this thread is fine. It's a good discussion.

          • reply
            July 30, 2011 12:10 PM

            Pride in the content? Absolutely. I think we're doing some very great stuff (bias). Pride in readers? I'm not your father... some of the most hardcore Shackers don't even look at what we write, anyway.

            • reply
              July 30, 2011 12:11 PM

              it's not about being a "father" - it's about being professional and having a level of respect for those who visit and post on your website. have some grace under pressure.

              • reply
                July 30, 2011 7:42 PM

                and that respect is a one way street ?

            • reply
              July 30, 2011 12:15 PM

              You're not using a term that insults hardcore shackers. You're using a term that insults those that DO read your writing, by the very nature of the word. You're have a derogatory term that means "the people that come to our website, read our articles, and comment on those articles."

              Sure, the elitist pricks in latestchatty are going to have terms like that because most online communities breed a sort of elitism based on how long people have been around, but you as an employee of the company that profits from said "frontpagers", should be a little more respectful.

              As an employee, you are somewhat of a spokesperson for your company whether you like it or not. What you say here, at least when it relates to the site or its community, directly reflects on the company you work for. You're making Shacknews as a company look terrible.

              • reply
                July 30, 2011 5:17 PM

                Thank you for posting this.

                He did this same thing about a week ago (called someone a "front pager") and got nothing but positive reinforcement. He even bragged about it on the pre show for Weekend Confirmed.

                It amazes me that someone can want to be part of a community so badly that they'd admittedly cater to people who don't even care about the work they produce while alienating those that do.

                I'm an evil "front pager". I've been reading the site since it was sCary's QuakeHolio or some ridiculous shit. My posts aren't trollish or anything like that. I check Shacknews 2-10 times per day depending on how bored I am. I listen to the podcast. I used to pay for Mercury. I have a GameFly account...yet according to an editor here...I'm essentially a retard because I choose not to participate very often in Chatty.

                I think it's great that Xav participates in the community. I don't think an editor has any right to be part of the elitist prick element of that community.

          • reply
            July 30, 2011 12:22 PM

            We're all frontpagers now technically.

        • reply
          July 30, 2011 11:59 AM

          it's fairly embarrassing for an employee of this website to condescend to and insult visitors here, but it's downright humiliating for you to do so to a person who is an established member of this community. you not only look petty and mean, but also intensely foolish.

          • Ebu
            reply
            July 30, 2011 12:02 PM

            Yea, I'm kind of poleaxed by his replies in this thread.

          • reply
            July 30, 2011 12:12 PM

            Yes. I'm utterly humiliated.

            • reply
              July 30, 2011 12:14 PM

              just ignore the tag team UT/dahnese "internet morality when it's convenient" tag team.

              • reply
                July 30, 2011 12:15 PM

                we're not really a team. we work together, but i wasn't drawn to this thread because of him. and this isn't internet morality - it's common sense.

                i'm not the only one who said it.

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 12:21 PM

                  As stated above, I defended our position against one person and you seem to be projecting that to all users. He made a shitty comment. I commented on that. I already said in another comment that my "frontpager" remark was kneejerk and I apologize.

                  It's not like I told everyone here that they are worthless.

                  But if you want to continue to berate me for something I didn't actually do, then that's totally fine with me.

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 12:24 PM

                    well, to that end, i apologize for jumping in and adding to this derailed subthread - and thank you for your reply. the internet is full of half-assed comments and i like you and your articles so i was just shocked that you sunk to that level.

                    for what it's worth, i'm enjoying the older articles (particularly the eden one which is a game that interests me a lot). and i never meant to imply you thought everyone was worthless, just that your attitude through your posts was jarring and beneath what you usually are like.

                    so to that end, internet high five, and thanks for at least taking the time to address what i had to say.

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 12:26 PM

                    Literally the only thing that put me off here was your use of the "frontpager" term, so I appreciate your response to it here.

                    I absolutely think it's well within acceptable behavior to defend your work from lame attacks. And I do think the post that sparked this subthread was fairly dumb; no doubt about it!

                    I just took umbrage with that term is all.

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 4:54 PM

                    My only lingering memory of you is that you repeatedly whine and berate users in your own article threads. Maybe I'm off, because I honestly am just a front pager and skim. But with that small cross-section of reading and attention, you're condescending "defenses" have caught my eye multiple times so far.

                    Maybe you should take a cue from your coworkers and shut up. That sounds harsh, but beyond your own catharsis from venting at people, what do your comments do for anybody? It's not exactly endearing to your customers.

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 12:22 PM

                  whether or not you design it or not, there's a certain level of fatigue seeing you two in lockstep in most subthreads with some abrasive or hardnosed opinion here or there that usually I think is pushy too the parent thread poster. whatever, i think you guys are good members of the community but there's no need to act like such an authority on issues, and then pinball off one another when neither of you don't have any claim to that position. It gets old and if you had some self awareness you might tone it down at times

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 12:27 PM

                    i don't scan threads to check if Overload is in them and i'm sure he doesn't either. i also think it's silly to say one of us should not post because the other is there - we often have vastly differing opinions on topics and as i said before: we're not the same person, we're not a "team" or coordinating posts (which would be hilarious and sad) and i respect that in this instance you are annoyed by what we're saying but our posts really have nothing to do with each other's.

                    regardless, my qualm was with xav, not you, and he and i already talked it out, so i don't think there's any need to fuck up this thread any more with bullshit.

                    • reply
                      July 30, 2011 12:28 PM

                      nor I you, so stop responding.

                    • reply
                      July 30, 2011 1:01 PM

                      I imagine you looking over the cubicle walls at each other, winking, then both sprinting toward the supply closet where you keep your matching capes

                      • reply
                        July 30, 2011 1:12 PM

                        thank god we don't have cubicles (but the downside is i can see him as he sits over in the other corner of my area. at least i can keep an eye on him then).

                      • reply
                        July 30, 2011 1:13 PM

                        I'm bringing in matching capes on Monday

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 12:28 PM

                    Hey man I was an asshole on this website before I started working for dahanese, give me some credit here

                    • reply
                      July 30, 2011 4:30 PM

                      Lol, it's tough when she always jumps in and kicks me in the teeth while I have you in a headlock.

              • reply
                July 30, 2011 12:27 PM

                haha I'm glad someone else notices this. (but I still agree with them here)

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 12:29 PM

                  shut it frontpager

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 5:51 PM

                  Hah, you guys are definitely not the only ones who notice it (although I do like both of them on their own).

          • reply
            July 30, 2011 12:37 PM

            I like sassy Xav! It can get super depressing reading all the mostly pointless negativity around here, glad to see someone poking back a bit.

            • reply
              July 30, 2011 12:38 PM

              I don't think wanting Shacknews to actually have relevant content is pointless negativity.

              • reply
                July 30, 2011 12:42 PM

                It's relevant to me.

              • reply
                July 30, 2011 4:33 PM

                It's a fucking videogame. It's relevant. I'd hate to think I had to choose whether to buy a game based only on what I new on release day.

                • reply
                  July 30, 2011 5:01 PM

                  I don't mean relevant as in jiving content, I mean relevant as in useful information for its readers, and I PERSONALLY don't find a review for a game that comes out a month and a half after the games release to be very useful. I think its akin to a movie website posting a review of month and a half old movie. Its not exactly relevant to people looking to see a new movie.

                  • reply
                    July 30, 2011 5:20 PM

                    That's a fairly poor analogy. Games typically don't disappear from the shelves as fast as first-run movies.

                    Why continue to go after the staff for a post-launch review when you said below that you already read 5 other reviews? Will something in the Shack review reveal something that the other 5 did not? If it factors in patches and DLC, it certainly can. I just don't see the reason to make a comment that could lead the staff to think that a review that hits after release week is a waste of time.

                    To go back to the movie analogy, have you never ever read a review for a movie that was older? When I'm looking to buy or rent older flicks that I didn't catch on the first run (or unaware that they existed - kind of like this Alice game, right - nice marketing EA), it doesn't really matter when the review was posted, only that I can make an informed decision to spend money.

                    • reply
                      July 30, 2011 5:32 PM

                      I take issue with it simply because I want the Shack to have pertinent interesting timely content and a 6 week old review isn't any of those. If it is for you then cool, but its not for me. I would have much rather had a post-mortem interview with the developer, or an in depth game analysis that didn't care about spoilers but tackled where things went right or where things went wrong like RPS does all the time.

              • Ebu
                reply
                July 30, 2011 4:33 PM

                I really don't like the direction the Shack has been taking.

      • reply
        July 30, 2011 12:17 PM

        I don't believe any review that doesn't come out within 5 minutes of a game release.

      • reply
        July 30, 2011 12:21 PM

        damn dude, I thought you were better than this, hahahaha

      • reply
        July 30, 2011 5:55 PM

        I'm more likely to read a review after I play a game than before a purchase.

    • reply
      July 30, 2011 11:30 AM

      With a small staff and the majority of us focusing on E3, which is when review code for a lot of games we're looking at now arrived, we skipped them.

      Rather than put them on the shelf and ignore them, we decided it would be a good idea to give them the attention they deserve.

      • reply
        July 30, 2011 11:46 AM

        xav, when can we expect to see a review of deus ex:hr?

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          July 30, 2011 3:04 PM

          We should be getting it in time to have it on embargo day.

          I specifically requested a PC version, as i know that is the community's preference.

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            July 30, 2011 3:07 PM

            thanks for the heads up. i just read that oxm gave it 10/10 0_o

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      July 30, 2011 12:15 PM

      I still want to play it. I really enjoyed the first one. I guess it's one of those wait for a steam sale type of games though.

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        July 30, 2011 12:24 PM

        I really loved it, and if you liked the first game I would recommend just going out and getting it.

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          July 30, 2011 12:26 PM

          I have a bunch of other games I bought on the last steam sales that I need to get through first.

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      July 30, 2011 12:36 PM

      Respectfully Disagree.
      "the era of 32-bit gaming" What?

      Because it's a plat former? Or because you don't level up? Maybe because there aren't perks?

      I just disagree with that sentiment entirely. I really enjoyed Alice 2, and while I'll admit it had it's faults, it was in no way "32-bit gaming". I found it refreshing to have a more old-school style experience that wasn't overly dramatic whiskey-tango-foxtrot encounter after another all the while taking itself far too seriously.

      Some great attributes Mr. Yoon failed to mention:
      - The visuals and art style are fantastic. Graphics tech wise it isn't anything brand new, but it's still pretty, and the world looks and feels amazing. The art style really helps seal the atmosphere and Alice's changing wardrobe (combined with some really nice PhysX effects) just put that extra polish on an already engaging art style.
      - The combat is not only better than the first, it's actually really good on its own. Weapon choice makes a huge difference, but you can actually use any one weapon in most any situation if you so choose, and enemies all have unique attributes that you have to be aware of in order really succeed in combat. Honestly this game would be fun if it was just a Serious Sam style arena with wave after wave of enemies.
      - There is a point to all the items you collect. Without spoiling anything, every item you collect basically goes into either progressing the story or upgrading your weapons. If you missed that then you missed a good portion of the game.
      - The weapons themselves are a nice change of pace from the standard fare every game seems to default to these days. The Clockwork Bomb especially is tons of fun.
      - The controls are fantastic (at least for PC). In an age where so many games have unresponsive and / or poorly implemented M+KB controls Alice really felt like a solid Quake game with it's controls.

      Honestly the only part of this review I really agree with is that the storytelling is, at times, shallow and the cut-scenes are somewhat annoying and would have been better served in-game.

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        July 30, 2011 12:58 PM

        I agree that it's simply a "game". The first one sucked me into the world. This one constantly reminded me I was playing a game with it's many collectables and predictability. The levels from the first game were so much better. This one's less scary, less macabre, and more linear. I had some fun with it, but certainly not as much as I had with the first.

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          July 30, 2011 1:03 PM

          Perhaps my memory of the first is fuzzy but I remember it being just as linear.

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            July 30, 2011 1:32 PM

            It was linear, but not as obviously linear as this one. There were nooks and crannies that were there for no purpose at all. Ledges that looked out into the endless void. There were varying puzzles. This new one had the same puzzles over and over. Shoot a thing to activate another thing to jump on. Pressure pads. These things didn't seem like they belonged in the world even a world such as Wonderland. It stood out as very gamey to me.

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      July 30, 2011 1:47 PM

      What a shitty review. The game is awesome. "hasn't grown up" wtf? Compared to MARIO?! /sigh

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        July 30, 2011 3:01 PM

        Grown up in terms of gameplay. Don't over react, it's an opinion.

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      July 30, 2011 2:36 PM

      Nice review, I really like this style of review writing.

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      July 30, 2011 3:05 PM

      This thread is gayer than that one kodiak talked about fucking a black guy.

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      July 30, 2011 3:46 PM

      I grabbed this for my girlfriend to play, but have been having a blast playing it myself. My only gripe is the combat lock-on zooms in on your target so you can't see what's attacking you from behind.

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        July 30, 2011 5:20 PM

        Just abuse your dodge / teleport ability and that will never be an issue.

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          July 30, 2011 7:18 PM

          yeah, that's what I've been doing since locking on is basically an invitation to get destroyed by unseen bad guys.

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      July 31, 2011 10:14 AM

      This entire thread is a ridiculous mess.

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      July 31, 2011 11:40 AM

      Somebody get Ja Rule on here I wanna know what he thinks of this!!!

      you ppl got too much of nothing to do ~_~

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      July 31, 2011 7:14 PM

      This game is based on a cartoon that was a real-time experiment or creation of the MK-ULTRA project.

      The alternate reality of the Alice's mind is a dissociation from the reality.

      Dissociation in the mind is the result of trauma either psychological, psysociological, physical, or both, to make the reality barable.

      When the experimental subject (slave) creates a dissociation , his mind can be filled with any crap you want, any commands you want.

      Medically this is called dissociative identity disorder, it is not maddness or idiotism , it is mind control.

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        July 31, 2011 7:24 PM

        At one point I began having doubts about all this, wondering whether I was nuts to think that I was seeing all these symbols and trigger phrases as originally pointed out by Fritz Springmeier within all of our “entertainment,” from books to movies to music. I mean, just because it’s there doesn’t mean it was put in there with that intention, right?? Then I received an email from an aquaintence that I’ve known for several years now via a message board we both participate in, and he was telling me about the new computer game “BioShock.” He did a write up about it for his own website back when he first started to play the game, noting the symbolisms I’ve talked about here – the Alice in Wonderland reality vs. illusion theme, the masks, and so on, and even included a link to this page for people to read more about it all. So the game was definitely suspect, but, he couldn’t be certain just yet. Maybe it means something, maybe it doesn’t. Well recently he just finished the game (SPOILERS AHEAD) and guess what? It turns out that the twist of the game is that the main character is a mind controlled pawn, with handlers, in the vain of “The Manchurian Candidate.” Surprise surprise surprise. ;)