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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fan of the original
Before I start, I'd like to make a few things clear. I am a big fan of the original game and was looking forward to the sequel so I already have a positive attachment to this game. Secondly, I'm running this on an Alienware computer with dual graphic cards so I cannot comment on lag issues that have been highlighted by other reviewers.

The Review
Published on June 26, 2011 by Jeremee Wetherby

43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you have a good graphics/video card!
I bought this game the first day it came out, anxious to play it. While it did not work on my computer because I had crummy a graphics card, my brother allowed me to use his because his computer has the recommended graphics card, and was more suited for...
Published on June 19, 2011 by o.o

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5.0 out of 5 stars The best game of 2011..., March 22, 2012
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9.5/10 (not a perfect "10," but pretty darn close)

Hmmm...where to begin. Perhaps we could start with discussion regarding the grave injustice that has been committed not only against American McGee and co., but against all gamers looking for something that's truly impactful and worth its going rate (for a change). Or, perhaps we could start with discussion regarding the (seemingly obvious) fact that game critics (as a whole) seem to be blinded by an overwhelming fear of ridicule (at the hands of their peers in the "game reviewing" business, of course), or perhaps more prominently, an overwhelming fear of termination, should they be brave enough to break free from the flock. Therefore, we can only rely on the much more beneficial critique of the "common gamer" through trusted sources such as Metacritic, Gamestop, and Gamespot/IGN user reviews, who seems to be far more in tune with what makes a game "worth playing," "immersive," and "memorable," as an *experience*, as opposed to "good" or "excellent" on a technical level (invisible walls, a couple weak textures here and there, etc.), as most game critics seem to apply far too much weight to (probably because they don't play the games through until completion). Please note that I have never played the original "Alice" game, so it's important to remember that this review is based solely on my impressions of its sequel, knowing nothing of the gameplay, graphical quality, or most importantly, impact, of the first title.

Before I delve any further into detail of any aspect of this stunningly artistic and endlessly engrossing game (that I am hopelessly obsessed with), let me please say "thank you" to for permitting me to steal it from them for just $8.99 USD; had this opportunity not arisen, thanks to the game's absurd mediocre (critic) review consensus (the gaming public seems to strongly disagree [thank you, Metacritic]), I would have most certainly missed out on the best gaming experience of 2011. Again, "thank you," Amazon, with all the sincerity I can muster (note: Gamestop was also offfering the download for $8.99; alas, that offer has also ended).

First, let's get the technical stuff out of the way first (as it's of the least importance in terms of whether or not a game is worth playing, contrary to critical opinion); the game, quite simply, runs beautifully if you've got the hardware (minus the PhysX smoke that will decimate your framerate). Minus "smoky" battles, the game runs perfectly smoothly (60fps, locked), all settings maxed, at 1080p with around 50% GPU utlization (560ti @ 950 MHZ; 2500k @ 4.3 Ghz), and it looks absolutely amazing doing so (more on this later), contrary (from what I've heard) to the console versions. Sure, there's an "invisible wall" from time to time, but as it never affects gameplay in any relevant way (in my experience), I'll have to disagree with the critics that this is apparently worth deducting what I estimate to be at least a full point (out of ten) for. Let's call it a .5% reduction. Done. Why? The game flows beautifully, all else considered. The controls are tight and perfectly responsive (note: I use a 360 controller, as this is vastly preferable to me than mouse/keyboard [not to mention I game on a 46" 1080p and am therefore not sitting most uncomfortably at a desk, as does the stereotypical "PC gamer"...]), and Alice is very easy to control; unlike most hack-and-slash games out there, there aren't three-hundred superflously arbitrary button-smashing combinations for someone to agonizingly attempt to memorize for little actual gameplay or enjoyment benefit. Technical score: A

Now, on to what matters.

First, Let's talk about what really makes a game "good," and what game reviews should therefore focus on (and typically don't, at least these days). For me, personally (a "hardcore" gamer with over 25 years of experience), it isn't any of the things that nearly all critical reviews seem to focus on: graphics, sound, etc. Sure, they matter. However, graphics and sound (and an invisible wall here and there) don't make the game, and they certainly don't make it "memorable" or worthy of 9.0+ (out of ten) scores. What, then, are the keys? In my opinion, it's simply a series of questions that couldn't be more simple:

a). Did you feel as though you "loved" the game (and/or character(s)), and did this only intensify as the game progressed?
b). Upon the game's conclusion, did you feel hopelessly compelled to begin another quest (thank God for "new game +"), in spite of the five or more games you might have downloaded after this one and not played yet?
c). While playing the game, were there numerous moments where you simply sat in front of your screen in awe of what you were witnessing (artistically, etc.)? How big was the smile on your face, or how trance-like was your state (how absorbed were you into the moment)?
d). How likely are you to emphatically recommend the game to another and tell them how amazing or truly one-of-a-kind it is (regardless of any reason you can vocalize at said time)?

Really, that's all there is to it. Now, if I go back and look at the average game that say, IGN or Gamespot has given a 9.0 or higher within the past generation(or even 2011, specifically), what will I find? Say I compared these scores to the average gamer score...what's the standard deviation of critcally-scored 9.0 titles vs. gamer scores?

What irks me most is that, without looking, I already know the answers and implications of these questions.

Anyway, you want specifics? Sure.

Let's start with the supposed graphic quality problem that so many reviewers have taken issue with (fuzzy textures, etc.). First, I find it quite ironic that a game that maxes out a 560ti (overclocked, as it were) on a regular basis could take hits for graphic quality. Quite simply, at 1080p/60fps maxed settings, the image quality is simply amongst the best out there (minus Battlefield 3, of course [the game's one redeeming quality, in my opinion]), which only helps the art design (which is amongst the best I've seen; more on this later). I'd like to simply state that I am most impressed with Alice's hair; it's amazingly realistic, and I'm still not sure how it was done (I don't believe it's PhysX, since it seems to be identical in console editions [and because consoles suck, they aren't PhysX capable]).

How about the game's music? Quite simply, it's mesmerizing, and is utterly beautiful, much like every other aspect of the game. From the opening screen, the music draws you in emotionally and doesn't let go. Ironically, it seems that the sequel's music doesn't match up to the original's (from what I've read), but based on the sampling I've done online, I'd have to disagree. It's simply stylistically different...much more subdued and mellow, but equally or even more engaging and trancendent than the original's (though one track of the sequel, I've read, was created by the original conductor [it's immediately obvious which one it is, as you progress through the game]).

In terms of gameplay, sure, it's somewhat "old-fashioned." From what I've read, it's a near duplication of the original title, which, it seems to me, was heavily inspired by Super Mario 64 (note: this is not just a good thing, but an excellent one). As mentioned before, it's a good measure of hack-and-slash combined with straight-forward platforming, and quite fortunately, we aren't required to try to memorize various combinations of button-mashing that add little or nothing to the actual enjoyment of the gameplay. Just like most other games on the market, the gameplay is somewhat repetitive, which is somewhat amplified given the solid length of this game. However, I have to believe that most reviewers that slammed this game for its "repetitve" gameplay failed to play the game through to completion, as there are indeed variations that I wouldn't dream of spoiling here. Trust me; it's worth playing this game through to the end (and I recommend that any critics that didn't do so go back and discover what they missed). Ultimately, regardless of the game's length (about twelve hours the first time; I expect fifteen or more the second [aiming for 100% completion this time around]), no matter how long some stages occasionally felt, I was nothing but overjoyed at the thought of playing through the entire title again (much unlike most titles these days, which I can't even reach the presumed midpoint of due to my boredom and disinterest). That, to me, is the surest sign of a game that's worth being a part of a collection.

Alas, the game cannot be deemed to be "perfect," as close as it comes; I have three notable gripes (that incidentally could easily have been solved with a patch):

a). all mini-games (not just some) should be made "skippable" (I find them tedious and unnecessary, but as they were all the result of outsourced production houses (so I read), I can't weigh them heavily in the overall score)
b). stages two (Waterworld) and three (Asialand) are about 25% too long (both drag a bit toward the end and seem unnecessarily elongated; the game's run-time is twelve hours, where ten hours would have been perfect)
c). bottles don't seem to have any relevance but as pointless collectibles; had they had messages in them, e.g., collecting them would have been much more interesting

These quibbles aside, I genuinely feel that this was the best game of 2011; perhaps there were a couple "invisible walls" here and there, and no, the game isn't technically "perfect," but for me, it was the most thoroughly enjoyable, escapist, memorable, and emotionally impacting game of the year (by a wide margin). Again, I feel that these traits are, generally speaking, the things that really matter, as video games (now more than ever) are something to be *experienced*, as a whole...and what is an experience but the emotion it creates? Anyway, it's back to playing the game, for it now and come to the conclusion, like me, that game critics, as a community, need to take a step back and rediscover what video-gaming is supposed to be about (and what truly makes a game worth our time and money and is therefore worthy of 90+% scores...).

Edit: because you must not play this game limited to 31fps (for God's sake and your own), here's what you need to do (right not play the game before doing this):

C:\Users\(your name here...)\Documents\My Games\Alice Madness Returns\AliceGame\Config

Open AliceEngine.ini, press control and f simultaneously, enter "smooth;" you should see the below:


Make it look like this:

MaxSmoothedFrameRate=60 the file, and enjoy the game at 60fps (assuming your hardware is capable of it; it takes a 560 (give or take) to max the game at 1080p/60fps, and also a decent CPU [my 2500k at 4.3 uses about 30% (of the typically 50% available to most games, as most games can't utilize more than two cores simultaneously)]).
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5.0 out of 5 stars A real beautiful game., March 18, 2012
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This game has a lot of attention paid to the background. The land is full of cool lush views. The trees have tons of leaves and the detail paid to Alice is real apparent, her hair is made of individual strands that wave in the wind and when she runs. The game is full of imagination, such as the variety of weapons such as a pepper shaker, a bloody butcher knife, an umbrella and other things are fun and fresh to play and kill things with. The gameplay is similar to beyond good and evil and zelda with roses instead of heart containers. About the complaints of invisible walls. The game is linear, and people should realize that. That doesn't mean it is a bad game. The invisible walls keep the player from going off track and getting stuck in some software bug. when playing keep that in mind and if you hit one look around for the correct way to travel, because trying to beat the program is not productive and not fun. This game really fits an xbox 360 controller beautifully, all the buttons are set up for you and it even vibrates when you pick up coins and stuff. One thing though is that manual aim is better on a mouse no matter how you cut it, but the targeting system they have makes up for it (although i try manual aim on the joystick just to get better at it. It is more of a challenge). The game does take a decent amount of cpu power if you want to run it in 1080p, but it looks better on a pc for sure! One recommendation, Watch the video on youtube on changing the fps limiter on the game. It is set to 31 fps max by default, but 60 is a bit better of a limit. All and all if you want some light hearted fantasy gaming that not super complex then pick up this title. The price is low making this a good deal.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good game but a lousy port, March 17, 2012
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The game itself is quite nice but I had some trouble with the phys x. The FPS went down whenever there was a battle. I had to search through the ini files (and it took me some time to realize that some of them are not in the game directory) only to find out that the game intentionally doesn't use your hardware properly. Now I have no problems running the game at all and it is indeed a beautiful game. I just don't get why I had to go through all that to play it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Game, March 8, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Alice: Madness Returns - PC (DVD-ROM)
I enjoyed the first game and the second was no disappointment a lot darker and grittier. The story and controls are spot on and the bosses...........
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4.0 out of 5 stars great game but HIGH graphics REQ., March 3, 2012
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the game is beautiful it plays well the hand placement of the game is a bit hard to get use to but not unplayble i have a half a gig graphics card and it runs with a little bit of chop witch tends to be anoying and thats on low settings but anyone looking for a awesome twist to alice in wonderland i would not pass this up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Return to Madness., February 23, 2012
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I went into this game having never played the previous game, but the art style and twisted reality of the Alice in Wonderland universe intrigued me. I was pleasantly surprised to see how realized the world of Alice is. Plus the game runs beautifully on PC. I also have this game for Xbox 360, but have yet to actually sit down and play it. The sale on this copy was too good to pass up. A great game for those wishing to 'Return to Madness' with Alice down the rabbit hole, or to experience everything for the first time, it does a great job of catching you up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun game, needs better PR., February 2, 2012
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The first time i played this I set it to the highest resolution 1080p because i just got a new monitor (asus VS247H) and wanted to see it, compared to the 32 inch tv i had before.Well I got about 2 hours into it before i had to do something else. When I had a chance to play it again, I was shocked that it didn't keep the Auto saved game!!!. Well, I noticed during certain fight scenes with allot of action, smoke, sparks, particles and movement, the game slows considerably, so i set it to 720p, and for some weird reason it saved the game and KEEPS it!!
I'm about 25% done and it has been a fun game thus far,Despite the earlier inconvenience. I think it had something to do with my under-powered graphics card.
The music is great. And the graphic are also up there. I recommend having a good graphics card to really appreciate this games strong points
I like allot of involvement and options when fighting.
You can lock on your opponents with caps. switch target with tab, "flash -step" with shift, ( hit and move combat style)
Q sets a time/trigger bomb, left mouse click is regular attack, right click or "T" shoots auto gun (pepper grinder,) space jumps
"E" reflects enemies shots (When targeting) "R" changes your fast knife to a big hitting Giant Chess knight piece/Hammer thing, Slower but more powerful. And if your energy is almost gone you get prompted to hit return" and you change onto a white and black Gothic killing machine. You hit harder move faster and avoid taking damage for around 20 seconds. Like a reserve panic button.
Each attack seems to have had a allot of thought and embellishment with action and graphics into it.
(Some PROS.)
Reset point is close to where you die or left off.
You get different weapons during your game play. Each unique in itself.
You get to Upgrade your weapons! And they change their appearance.
BIG PRO>> Baddies can hit each other!!
Auto save
Movement is very fluent and timing is not an issue when fighting.

(Some CONS.)
.Not that much of a challenge as far as puzzles, or secret areas.
.Might be to violent for the younger kids
.Demanding of a better than average graphics card.
.Camera movement moves very fast, I have a mouse that changes the speed but for those who cant change the mouse cursor speed on the fly, might find this annoying as heck.

My graphics card is an eah 5550. but i don't have anti alias on or any of the other cool things,
so get something better than what I have to enjoy it fully..
Im getting the 6870 pretty soon wich is worlds better than my gpu now.
Ill set the options all on high, play a bit, and see if I have any auto save issues, like I did before.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy, February 1, 2012
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i really like this game, the graphics, the story, not the typcal game with the bad ass guy who kills everyone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Alice madness returns game, December 11, 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Alice: Madness Returns - PC (DVD-ROM)
This is a fun game to play, But I sure wish the company would come up with a patch to fix the auto save problems. The game also freezes and glitches. It is worth twenty to thirty dollars, but I wouldn't pay more. The case was also cracked when I received the game and I can't get a reply back about it. Over all the game is fun to play, but a little repetative.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive but fun, July 31, 2011
Xyooj (CA United States) - See all my reviews
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FYI, Amazon's Game Download service is slow. I received about half or 2/3rds of my regular download speed; but at the reduced price, it's worth it.

Alice runs on the Unreal engine, so most modern mid-range video cards should run fine. The game also support Nvidia's Physx engine. If you are not running high-end or SLI Nvidia cards; the option should be set to low as the CPU will have to process the data and reduce your frames. Physx is mostly noticeable on Alice's flowing hair and dress and used sparingly on the environment (debris & ooze puddles).

As the for the game itself, the graphics and level designs are amazing but low resolution textures and invisible walls do exist. Each level has its own specific enemies but you'll encounter about six of the same ones in each level. Also, each level has a specific theme with brief "mini-game" type of gameplay. For example, in the oriental theme level, there is a brief section where it switches to a 2D platforming. Alice's time is spent mostly in Wonderland and a short amount of time in the "real" world.

Alice is a hack & slash with a lot of platforming involved. Basically press single button until enemy is dead and then jump around some more. Weapons include the Vorpel Blade, a mace, "machine-gun", grenade launcher and a bomb. The game is best played with a controller; using the mouse and keyboard had issues especially using auto-targeting. There is some replay value as you can go back and collect missed hidden items as well as restart the game with a few unlocked items. It was very repetitive but overall, I enjoyed it.

To get the new dresses and weapons included in the Collector's Edition, which is no longer available, all you have to do is change a value in one of the games CONFIG file to unlock them. Unfortunately, you can't play the original even though it will be displayed in the game menu.
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Alice: Madness Returns - PC
Alice: Madness Returns - PC by Electronic Arts (Windows Vista / XP)
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