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4.3 out of 5 stars99
4.3 out of 5 stars
Platform: Xbox 360|Edition: Standard|Format: Box|Change
Price:£41.35+ £1.16 shipping
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on 19 June 2011
First off, PLEASE don't buy this for younger children: Despite the fact its Alice in Wonderland - it most certainly is NOT a kids game and it has a 15 certificate for a very good reason - the content is not only very adult (f-bomb/ c-bomb grade bad language and the obvious violence), but it is extremely disturbing too (going into it too much here would ruin the "twist", but suffice to say, the general play is dark, disconcerting and chilling, and the climax of the plot genuinely horrible).
So for a sound-minded adult or mature teenager, it's an excellent and innovative take on the much beloved Alice in Wonderland - but absolutely NOT suitable for children. Only a complete moron would knowingly allow a child to play this!

That out of the way - I'm not going to describe the storyline too much because as I previously said, the climax is (I felt!) a really shocking twist - but in a nutshell, Alice's family have all died in a mysterious fire, and Alice has been spending the last 10 years quietly losing her mind in an asylum. She's also lost her memory along with her mental health, and so cue a return to Wonderland, both to save its destruction from a mysterious train (!) and rescue her sanity into the bargain. Very odd premise... But you cant help be infinately captivated at the sequence when, for the first time in the game, Alice falls from the real world to Wonderland and transforms with a literal "boomph" from her grey, ghostly, lost soul persona - into the Alice wearing that iconic blue dress & white apron! (Albeit with a frankly unnerving psychotic glaze in her eyes and dappled with blood splatter! Whoever developed her character absolutely deserves an award; shes incredible)

The game itself has a very retro-modern platformer feel to it, and as such is very easy to "get into"; and controlling Alice is a joy. She is capable of surprisingly quite a large amount of skills, and each new weapon you get comes with new actions to learn, so it should by rights get confusing and awkward to control; but everything is very easy to pick up and intuitive to work with, and she moves in a very organic manner - visually its fantastic - I particularly like the visual of the dodge move, where Alice bursts into a cloud of butterflies, reforming just out of harm's way - very cool.

The real 'soul' of the game though is Wonderland, and it is absolutely brilliant. It's beyond dark, the inhabitants are more often than not utterly grotesque, and the scenery is insane and beautifully rendered: graphics are not photorealistic or groundbreaking and may not be the best of some of the recently released games, but it really is eye-candy to play in and is drenched with atmosphere.
The whole game is essentially an unravelling and regathering of Alice's mind and memory, so interspersed with the macabre Wonderland levels are real-world level-bridges, with Alice meandering through London visiting an asylum, orphanage, or some other grim and dingy place. These level-bridges ultimately serve to unwrap Alice's story, so theres not a lot of action, more so plot building and to move Alice from one twisted area of Wonderland to the set up for the next - This new presentation of Wonderland though is nothing short of genius (if a little sick admittedly!): Gone are the cutesy vales of singing flowers, and instead every stage is in some way a darkened and twisted nightmare version of what you'll be familiar with - be it very, very subtly (as with the opening chapter, which is pretty much The Garden) or utterly outrageously (the Red Queens Castle is absolutely DISGUSTING, and I don't want to spoil the shock value but imagine a gothic stone palace but with... raw, pulsing, meat growing out of the brickwork!!).

It's difficult to describe just how "big" the game feels too; you get a decent length of play out of it, but the level system is kind of odd - you play through 6 main chapters, each chapter being a themed Zone based on part of Wonderland (ie the garden, the mad hatter, the walrus & the carpenter, the caterpillar and the red queen - and then the not-so-familiar doll house), and these zones are split up into sections that flow pretty much seamlessly in one long level. Interspersed with the afore mentioned real-world bridges.
So you see it feels like theres tons of levels, but REALLY theres only 6... Anyway - each chapter will take around 2 to 4+ hours to complete depending on whether you zip through or play cautiously getting all the collectables.
The downside though, is that although there's a lot of ground to cover and a lot to do in each chapter, it is pretty much the same thing over and over (jump there/ flip switch/ shoot thing/ jump gap/ timed run etc) - so it does get repetitive after a while. This isn't as bad as it could be however, as the game play style of 3rd person / explore/ combat/ platform/ puzzle is broken up with an occasional strange new style: such as the retro 2D side-scrolling sub-levels in The East chapter (imagine playing through an oriental painting), or the pinball-ish style sub-levels in the Doll House chapter (with a bald, dolls-head facsimilie of Alice's head as a ball!). The only chapter I wasnt so keen on was the undersea "Walrus & Carpenter" one, because although its under water, it plays exactly with the same physics as the land based levels and I feel a trick was missed here.
The fact that Alice can now shrink at will also adds a great twist, where she can access hidden areas with her diminutive stature and "shrink sense" vision, and also adds a nice twist in combat where you can shrink to dodge blows in some combat situations too. And the constant shock-value of the playing field keeps things very fresh!

As you would imagine though, the further into the game you go the worse and more depraved it gets; so if you're easily offended you wont enjoy the last 2 chapters.

The whole air of the game is not just creepy but also understatedly menacing - it's very clever considering its nothing like Dead Space for the gore value or Silent hill for the horror. Play it through again though once you know the climax of the story, and the latter levels in particular take on an altogether new disturbing air when you think about what some of the imagery (of what is obviously Alice's psychosis) represents.

So - the only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is that there are some very basic issues with the game play (revel in the joy of suddenly not being able to move when occasional 'invisible walls' suddenly pop up then apparently vanish after a little button stabbing - confusing when it happens in normal play - infuriating when it happens in combat!!) and you have to play it through several times to get all achievements - but as mentioned, it can get repetitive and therefore tedious (and all that the difficulty levels seem to do is make the bad guys more or less resilient, and not increase the difficulty of the puzzle aspect) so the shine does dull after a while. In addition, its fairly easy to get all the weapon upgrades before the final chapter, so its not even as if you need to play through again for that - and yes you can buy (I think for a very reasonable 160 points) a dress and weapon pack to spice things up - but all these do are minor play impacts like the amount of damage dealt or taken, increasing/ decreasing drop rates of health, enabling "shrink sense" when normal size, etc... Although one of them is pretty much the grossest and most carnivorous looking thing since Lady Gaga's meat dress, so its worth it for the gag factor alone.

All in all though and all cons taken into account; it's an excellent piece of work and a well executed concept - not one for the squeamish or sensitive however, and possibly (being critical) not the best it could have been with a little more time in production. Basically though, if like me you can't force yourself to wait for the price to come down, it is still well worth its value.

And - you get a download code to get the full original American McGee's Alice too! Brilliant.

Oh and on a final note: LOVED the Cheshire Cat, but where was the White Rabbit?! Or is that for Alice 2?! (Hope so!)
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on 4 July 2011
This game is the sequel to the left- field platformer "American McGee's Alice". Designed by a man famous for his work on quake 2, this game was something of a revolution in terms of storytelling and inventiveness. Luckily coinciding with a fin-de-siecle interest in all things gothic and unusual, the game did well. Waiting well over a decade to produce a follow up whilst creating his own China based games production company (Spicy Horse), American McGee has served up a fine sequel to a seminal game.

This game is not only unique in its visual style, but the depth and content of the adult themes running throughout the plot. Yes, it is definitely not for kids despite its at times colourful storybook aesthetic. The game itself picks up with a slightly older alice and essentially delves deep into the back story largely omitted from the previous game.

American McGee's alice differs from Lewis Carroll's in several key ways. Firstly, she exists "outside" of the alice in wonderland story arc. She is a girl living in Victorian Britain who, the opening cutscene of the first game divulged, was reading the Alice in wonderland storybooks whilst her family's house burned to the ground. After this, she develops a kind of floral psychosis wherein she is able to retreat into wonderland. The Lewis Carroll characters are fleshed out a bit more and the more disturbing elements emphasised. The world and her subconcious as well as the events of the past are inextricably linked.

The game itself harks back to the days of very old school platformers in the classic style, with an emphasis on extended jumps across long distances. It has borrowed from classics such as jumping jack flash in terms of heights and "floating islands" as well as super mario bros 2's peaches "floaty skirt". The main fatal flaw in 3d platformers like this is the camera, but this has been kept well back at a good overview angle and you are allowed 360 degree full rotation, so any accidental death falls are kept to a bare minimum. Steam vents to get alice up to greater heights are a staple, as are invisible platforms viewable by shrinking alice (using LB) . Platforming elements aren't too taxing and provides for an enjoyable experience. Some jump puzzles and timing come into play to break up solid progress. These are generally quite do-able, with a few being annoyingly fiddly in the penultimate level of the game. By and large these don't tax your dexterity.
The core platforming mechanic does not change at all throughout the game, and many elements are simply copied identically and transposed to the different aesthetic of each level. I actually quite liked this, but some people who haven't fallen in love with the game may find it tedious.
Like all old style platformers, there is a heavy emphasis on collecting- teeth, to upgrade weapons, memories and pig snouts are hidden around each level - usually in dog legs away from the linear path of progression. However pursuing these isn't compulsory and at best fleshes out the story in small degrees. Some people may be annoyed by the grinding -lite elements to the game, but the experience does not detract very much from the player's progression.
The soundtrack references lustmord and other industrial acts quite heavily, evoking a sleepy, lulling and dark soundscape that sits perfectly with the feel of the game and does not detract from the action.
The combat has also been largely upgraded, and includes several weapons- usually ranged and melee. Players should be warned more actions are available to alice than can be mapped onto a joypad and so there is a bit of context sensitive combat. There is also a target lock on system which can get flummoxed when there are several targets, which at points is consciously used by the designers to make it more difficult to focus fire on major threats. Combat is a second focus of the game and there is quite a lot of it, however its really satisfying when you get the correct tactics and weapons locked in your mind and you can very skillfully take down what previously were very challenging monsters. You also have a desperation move called hysteria should your health falter- however its more than doable to avoid using this at all on normal difficulty.
There are "novelty" sections that change the main core gameplay significantly; however they are slightly gimmicky. This includes a 2d platforming section and a kind of guided crazy golf with dolls' heads. The puzzles and questions are however very fun, but they are quite patently only there to provide respite from the same action. Quite a long completion time and investment to finish it, which is welcome with todays triple A releases being more detailed but much shorter. This goes beyond the 15hours you have come to expect.

The game also looks absolutely beautiful and like nothing else out there, including its previous incarnation. Wonderland is a destroyed former shadow of itself- hence the many floating islands, with a variety of memorable and beautifully designed landscapes.
The story has stark and, especially at the end stages, very disturbing revelations and shocking images. These hark back to the underbelly of Victorian London- including poor and brutal treatment of the mentally ill, and the systematic abuse of children and prostitution. Some of it was quite hard to forget! Its for this reason I would be cautious of letting adolescents and children play. Even the juxtaposition of adult themes in what was considered a children's escapist game format is worked masterfully to an unsettling conclusion.

Well worth a play and I consider this to be a major work of gaming art with a story with issues it raises. As worthwhile of serious contemplation as a novel and I believe will be a major pivot in the development of adult storytelling in computergames.

Also a fanboy's game par excellence!! Once completed I can't really see the point in recompleting unless you are a completionist who must get everything. You should note that it follows the increasing trend in EA games of having no instruction booklet ( its in the game's menu screen ) and also a "suicide code" - which allows you to download the original to play, but can only be used once, effectively putting a dampner on the trade in market.

Unfortunately this game will be most likely passed over in favour of the big ticket releases, but it more than holds its own and I'm fairly sure it will exist as a cult favorite for many years to come. Superlative.
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on 17 July 2011
I bought this game o the fly having seen videos of it and thinking it was pretty good. I was not dissapointed.

It's great to see the return of a style of game that is very rare on the Xbox 360. Platforming.

It combines traditional platforming with violent combat and a dark storyline.

I decided to split this review into three sections:

GAMEPLAY
________
Ok so the game itself is pretty fun as you go from area to area collecting things like bottles and memories. The platforming can get a bit repetive which is why it lost a star. By the end of Chapter 3 I was getting pretty sick of jumping then killing then jumping some more. A hour or so break downstairs watching TV solved this so I'd recommend to take breaks or play something else. There are various enviromental varibles such as vents that prepel you upwards, springs to jump on etc. The game is also pretty long. I've been playing for about 15+ hours and have 59% completion. So gameplay is fairly good.

MUSIC & GRAPHICS
________________
The art style is pretty... INteresting. The graphics are fairly good and I like toughes such as waterfalls and everything. the music WILL grate after a while. It's most just 1 minute tunes and can get pretty repetive. I recommnd turning the music down.

PARENTAL ADVICE
_______________
Thought I'd just say what's in this game:

Frequent bloody fantasy violence (like killing dolls etc.)
Some swearing (i've only heard maybey two f words)
A pretty dark feel.

Ok so thats the review. Bye.
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on 24 June 2011
Alice Madness Returns is an imaginative 90's style action platformer,each levels art style is unique and a wonder to behold.The story revolves around Alice who is trying to remember and piece together her past and in doing so save wonderland and herself.

The levels are packed with hidden areas for you to find, to find them you will often have to use your 'shrink sense' which lets you shrink and see invisible objects and hidden paths. In these hidden areas you will likely find a glowing bottle or memory which lets you listen to some speech from one of the many characters in the game, Other hidden areas contain Radula Rooms which set you challenges (like survive attacks from a horde of enemies or solving some riddles), Beating these challenges will reward you with an increased life bar.

The combat in the game is very satisfying and easy to grasp. The weopens you unlock can be upgraded by spending teeth (the games currency) which defeated enemies drop. Every weopen works better against different enemies. The combat is a mix of melee and shooting.

Levels are very long and offer alot of gameplay, after beating the game you will unlock 'New Game +' which allows you to replay the game on a difficulty setting of your choice with all your weopen and health upgrades.

Overall i found it to be a very enjoyable action platformer. If youve enjoyed playing games like Banjo kazooie,Spyro The Dragon and Super Mario galaxy then i think you might enjoy playing it too.

Note: You will also get an online access code for the original American Mcgees Alice in the case.
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on 16 April 2012
This is an ADULT version of Alice in Wonderland so definately not a kids game!

This game is a rare thing by todays standards. This game does its own thing and tells its own story and as such - it oozes character! Graphically beautiful, stylistic and individual, alice sees the player make their way through a twisted wonderland which is a direct result of Alices fragile mental state.
And the gameplay flows smoothly and is also a lot of fun whilst still providing a challenge. Im not a fan of platformers (which is what this game is) but i can homestly say this is the best game i've played all year! EVERYTHING about the game just works in its own special way.
I would whole-heartedly recomend this game to anyone who likes a somewhat dark storyline, theres been a lot of imagination and passion poured into the making of this game and it really shows!
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on 17 October 2014
I'd recommend that any potential buyer read the "Amazon Customer" review from 11th June 2011 because that pretty well covers everything you need to know about the game.

After playing the DLC original American McGee's Alice first earlier, which I was very disappointed with, I was expecting the same sort of problems with Alice Madness Returns. It does start off badly though with a virtually non-interactive, very linear preamble through a faux Victorian setting filled with dodgy voice acting Mockney 'characters' and other unconvincing accents. But once Alice drops into Wonderland and the game proper begins suddenly things just get much, much better in almost every way.

The platforming isn't that demanding but still imaginative, the shooting/fighting elements solid and not without difficulty even on Normal if the weapons haven't been upgraded.

My main criticisms of the gameplay, as others here have mentioned, are that there are only four weapons in the game and it is very easy to have upgraded them to maximum power by halfway through. This makes the main collectable item utterly redundant from then on. It is not the first time I've come across this sort of design issue. I'd cite PS2/DC Evil Twin, a very similar type of game with very similar aesthetics, features and surprisingly adult story undercurrent, as another example. It is a serious gameplay flaw when most of the motivation for finding and breaking containers is removed long before the end of the game.

I loved the look of many of the areas in Wonderland, sometimes they're very pretty, sometimes deliberately ugly but there is a great mix throughout the game. I could have done with a greater variety enemies and whilst they do their best to avoid repetitiveness by adding in some unusual gameplay sections I think a little bit of editing would have benefited the over all experience. I also disliked the regular hand-holding at the start of each area prompting and in some cases telling you where you're meant to get to and even what you have to do - unnecessary and patronising.

But apart from these criticisms I think the game is generally a success and, particularly on the XB360, where apart from Kameo, we have been starved of good, colourful, imaginative 3D platformers this is well worth considering.
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on 15 April 2012
I first saw spoof trailers for this game on youtube which led me to further investigate and I found a guy doing a walkthrough on this game. My first impression was "WOW!" I have been waiting for ages for a horror-ish version of Alice In Wonderland to come out either on film or for a game, and this is pretty much it!
I have been a huge fan of Alice In Wonderland for a very long time and think it's amazing to have different genres of this film being produced.
Anyway, after seeing the walkthrough I just had to get it! So on Amazon I went and purchased the game for the xbox 360. When I recieved the game, I had to try it out!

Many people have mentioned that the graphics aren't amazing and don't fit what 2011 games should be bringing out, I do agree. However, I think that a good game is one that you enjoy playing, not what it looks like and how the graphics on it are (I still play metroid and zelda for the SNES, graphics = awful, gameplay = amazing!)

The plot of this game is really good. On the main menu you are able to read about what has happened in Alice's past and why she is currently staying at an orphanage. The basics of it; Alice's family were in a house fire one night and she was the only survivor (this happened when she was about the age of 8 I think) , she went a bit crazy and was made to stay in an asylum, after years and years and years of doctors treating her for different illnesses she finally started speaking and was able to leave the asylum (I think she was about 15 ish now?). The main plot of this game is the fire. You must control Alice through reality and wonderland and try to pick up memories so she is able to figure out the cause of the fire in the first place. The ending really did blow my mind!

I've completed this game 3 times now and will carry on playing it. Just like in any other game, there are levels which I feel are pathetic and I hate doing them, but it's all part of the game. (This level is the 2nd one I think, while she's underwater).

The layout of the game is amazing! And the person who created the character Alice really has done a good job! It is a completly different person to who we see on the film with blonde hair, a fair complection. In this game she has straight black hair, she is very slim and has a pale and quite scary looking face. She has dark around her eyes which make her look that bit more mysterious!

Whilst venturing through the game and levels, the cause of the fire becomes more clearer, at the begining she is seeking advice to help forget her past from Dr Bumby (The owner of the orphanage she is in) and you are able to have a little strole around London back in those days!

The enemies that you face during the game are really different and most are strange! The person who created these must have had some imagination I'll say! There are some Ruin's which are like black goo with a baby doll's face that walk, or a large one with three baby doll's face's and large arms, or one that somehow has a motor on it! The mad hatter is a genius creation! With very long legs and a robotic body that requires you to find his arms and legs!

But, the star of this game on the looks must be the Cheshire Cat! He looks amazing and really bizzare! A grey/blue ish cat, that seems dead as you can see all his bones through his skin! Markings on his face and arms (tattoo's perhaps - such a badass cat!), peircing yellow eyes and a peirced ear! This character is fabulous!

All in all this is a really good game! The graphics may not be up to 2011 standards and there are some glitches (for example, it may look like you can walk under the branches of a tree but there is something stopping you) etc. But I don't think games should all be about this, a game should be one that you enjoy and can play for hours! This is deffinatley that game. The background information to Alice also makes you interested. I really enjoyed this game and hope they bring out a new one!
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on 8 November 2011
Alice in Wonderland was always a trippy book to begin with, but when it is strained through the brain of American McGee it becomes scary as well as trippy. In `Alice: Madness Returns' you play as Alice in the real world (a cross between Fable, Oliver and hell) and in Wonderland (Hell, hell and hell). Within Wonderland the game becomes a 3rd person platformer with fighting elements and a few puzzles to solve. By making your way through the levels and taking on the various enemies of the world you uncover what is happening in Alice's subconscious and it ain't nice.

The entire game has a dirty and grubby feel to it. The real world is full of letches and turns, Wonderland is dark and the characters are rotten and corrupt. There is no real pleasure to be gained from stepping foot in the world of wonder and this is a real shame. The gameplay itself does not fair much better. I was always a fan of the old school 3rd person platform game; `Jax and Daxter' remains one of my all-time favourite games, but `Alice' feels ancient even in comparison with this PS2 title. The platforming is shoddy, the fighting slipshod, and the puzzles a bit rubbish (shod).

A world empty of joy and empty of entertainment does not make for a fun experience. A little more time spent of fixing the basic gameplay elements may have made the game more intuitive and forgiving. Instead you are bombarded with hateful imagery and hateful gameplay, not something that people look for in a game.
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on 25 June 2011
Graphics: 9/10
The graphics are not the best in the world but they still are very beautiful from the colours to shading effects it all adds to the dark yet colourful nature of Her wonderland. There are also many themed stages that alice travels through on her journey such as an underwater stage , japanese themed stage, the mad hatters domain filled with machinery, There is so much variety to each stage you will never get board on whats going on around you.

Gameplay: 9/10
The controls for the game pretty basic, And that's not a bad thing at all. Each weapon is assigned to a different button and switching between them is simple and fun. Combos are funa nd easy to pull off and once you get the hang of using them all you can do some real damage.
There are also loads of collectables in this game but I wont spoil it all for you.
this game also supports dlc outfits for alice to wear which effects how you play the game aswell.

Music: 10/10
Music is disturbing and atmospheric but can also be tranquil in certain parts of the game, every track is a masterpiece.

Story 9/10
even without knowing all the details of the first game, you don't ever really feel lost. It is a very unique twist on the story of Alice and her Wonderland. As you explore Her Wonderland.
The main story of alice madness returns is focused on Alice trying to figure out the tragic events from the first game surrounding the mysterious circumstances that lead to her families death as she tries to piece together her fragmented mind and destroyed wonderland.
as the games story unfolds its gets very dark and even quite disturbing in A good way.

Overall:
This game is amazing simple fun from story to gameplay im on my 2nd playthrough and its just getting better there are 4 difficulties to try out so dive into Wonderland If you Dare !
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on 20 October 2013
I absolutely adore this game, and it's funny because I didn't think I would!

I, like the rest of the world, have grown extremely tired of different interpretations of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I never liked the Disney version, and the Tim Burton one was the end of the line for me. (although I do recommend Jan Svankmajer's 'Neco z Alenky', my personal favourite version, fantastically eerie) so naturally I put this aside for a while until I could find time to play it.

BIG MISTAKE.

This game was incredible! The story line I will not spoil, but it is definitely something to get excited about. All the characters are kept close to the original story and everything has been designed so creatively and looks beautiful.

Controlling Alice is easy and she her famous 'feisty' personality shines through in the way she battles. Something I couldn't stop doing when I first started to fight was dodge, every time she dodges she turns into butterflies, always a pleasure to admire.

This game is admittedly not for children, but this shouldn't stop anyone mature enough from admiring the mad and twisted story. I saw other reviews go into detail about how gruesome and horrific it was, but this game does not rely on shock value so every 'disturbing' (in some eyes) image you see in this game goes perfectly with the atmosphere, what do you think a destructed mind would look like?

I cannot recommend this game enough, and I hope you enjoy exploring wonderland.
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