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Alice: Madness Returns - A terribly underrated gem
Bought it for $10 used and still regret it. Rated perfectly fine i.e. forgettable
I gamefly'd it after hearing people claim it to be an underrated gem and sent it back about a week later. Here are my thoughts
Combat - Its simple, literally no depth, not diverse in any regard, and boring
Platforming - Is awesome but unfortunately gets reptative
Levels - Drag on way to long at times with very little to do in any of them but probably has some of the best art direction I have seen in a gen full of "realism", though it all starts to look/feel the same in the levels.
Enemies - repetative and offer no challenge
I LOVED the concept behind this Alice and at first I started to love the game. But by time I finished chapter 1 it was already taking its toll on me. While the levels are long and big they offer very little to do. Hopefully the game gets a sequel and they fix these things.
I loved it too TC. My only gripes were the texture pop-up (worst I've seen) and the dolls head mini-game.
I also loved Alice: Madness Returns. My only gripe is that the story was so good that near the end of the game I found having to play through another ~2 hours of admittedly awesome levels to find out more about Alice annoying. Some might not consider that a gripe. =-p
Teenage angst has paid off well, now I'm bored and old.
"Artistic Design" is a 10.
Everything else about this game is a 5 (out of 10) at best.
I certainly wouldn't call it "terribly underrated".
My 2 cents.
Best of 2012: Sleeping Dogs, Mass Effect 3, Max Payne 3, Far Cry 3
Thought it was a really cool game as well. The industry could use more platformers these days.
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Muintir, might I add some counterpoints?
The combat is simple to control for the most part, no massive combo chains - it reminds me of Darksiders in that regard. Combos are determined by weapon level as well as sometimes the contextual situation. The actual "combos" don't develop until both the Vorpal Blade and Hobby Horse are at least weapon level 3, and weapon level 4 is when all of the combos are unlocked.
The Vorpal Blade and Hobby Horse both at weapon level 4 have several mixable combos that can be used between them. For example, as cool and powerful as the Hobby Horse level 4 attack string is on its own, try Triangle/Triangle/Triangle/Square/Square instead for a lead into two special spinning swipes with the Vorpal that do massive damage in about 1/2 second - which can then easily be led into one of several other combos or a dodge/block. The Pepper Grinder and Teapot don't have combos, obviously.
Even without that though, just Alice and her Vorpal were fun IMO because she is so quick and agile. Especially once the Vorpal is fully upgraded. Alice's Butterfly Dodge is so extremely fast, she can rip around the battlefield like mad while landing quick and potent attacks only to flutter off again to another enemy in less than a second. The combat in the game was obviously designed to be handled with a feverish pace, and playing as such helps keep the intensity up. Ideally you want to be a cloud of butterflies racing towards an enemy a good deal of the time.
The game did need at least one more weapon though, it's unfortunate that several were cut for the mentioned time constraints.
Platforming is by nature doing the same thing over and over, going from platform to platform. A:MR's diverse worlds/areas, unique layouts and situations for the platforming, and extremely solid controls always kept it fun for me.
Levels 1,2, and 4 were all great IMO; very diverse, always moving forward and changing, and not too long as to wear out their welcome. Chapter 3 and 5 however, especially 3, I agree they lasted too long. Chapter 3 in particular is the weakest chapter in the game, lasting far too long and making us do the same things way too many times.
The game has plenty of enemies, and they are all unique to fight. With the exception of Insidious ruins, who are nothing more than fodder, no enemy in the game can just be pummeled to death. Each and every one requires a unique approach, which can make battles pretty epic when you are facing several at once.
There are Insidious Ruins, Drifting Ruins, Menacing Ruins, and Colossal Ruins. All of whom appear in every chapter. Then there are chapter specific enemies....
Chapter 1 has Eyepots, MadCaps, and BolterFlys. Very "classic" enemies. Eyepots are memorable especially for those grinding, screeching, creaking noises they make.
Chapter 2 has Cannon Crabs, Drowned Sailors, and Ice Snarks. Cannon Crabs have got to be one of the coolest enemy designs ever - a giant crab with an ship cannon for an arm, who smokes cigars and lights said cannon fuse with the cigar? That's just cool.
Chapter 3 has Samurai Wasps, Samurai Ink Wasps, Samurai Archers, and the Daimyo Wasp. The Daimyo Wasp especially was a really fun, engaging fight.
Chapter 4 has Card Guards, Royal Guards, and the Executioner. The executioner is never directly fought, but he chases you the whole damn level.
Chapter 5 has Baby Dolls of several types, and ***** Babies. Baby Dolls have great design, and make for fun fights as well.
That makes for 19 enemy types, not counting subtypes. All of whom are hugely different aesthetically, as well as hugely different to fight. If only all of the enemies, and better yet bosses, cut due to time constraints could have been in the game.
Huh...I bought it on a whim a few months ago but I haven't played it yet. I was starting to regret it even though I haven't bought it, but now I will look forward to when I finally decide to play the game.
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I got it last year on Steam, but it's a broken mess. After dozens of bugs, I got to chapter 4 and the game refused to progress, so I had to uninstall and leave it. It was great though, and had fantastic art direction. I might pick up the PS3 version if I find it cheap.
Really enjoyable game. The art design was fantastic, the atmosphere was great and the story/characters were really well done.
It did have it's faults though. The platforming was fairly solid but the combat became a bit repetitive, as could the puzzles. Dragged on a bit a feel in some parts, but overall it was a fairly long game for a platformer so great value for money.
I picked it up and played it around a year ago on PC and it was a real hidden gem.