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4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon May 13, 2011
The Art of Alice: Madness Returns is a video game art book. A very good one.

The book's a 184 page hardcover published by Dark Horse. It's in a large vertical format. The paper is thick low glossy. Binding is superb. Production value is top notch.

The concept art and ideas are awesome. There are out-of-the-world background paintings, character designs, props, weapons and gruesome creations. Also included are discarded ideas that didn't make it - usually the too abstract.

When you mix a classic like Alice in Wonderland with pop culture, video game designers, concept artists and throw in a Victorian-gothic theme, you get very strange new world. A world so dangerous Alice has to be equipped with a kitchen knife at all times or sometimes a Bazooka firing hammer (yes, hammer) or a teapot cannon.

Every page brings a little element of surprise and twist. You can see crows with baby faces, Jack the Ripper with tentacles, Alice helping a mother giving birth to a load of kids (gruesome concept), an angler fish with human legs, cow birds, steampunk-like contraptions, a Chinese Humpty Dumpty, flying pig noses, embellished pieces of weaponry, etc. There are lots of mix and matches for things that shouldn't go together.

The environment and set designs are amazing. It looks like some gothic Victorian hell that Alice is treading through. The landscape is ever changing along the game. They are beautiful and detailed. They totally nailed the mood.

There's also plenty to read with the little captions that describe the designs, characters and stories. It gives a nice idea of how such a strange game came about. It's all very interesting to read.

Some of the artists involved in the book are Ken Wong, Sun Guoliang, Luis Melo, Hong Lei, Wu Yuehan, Ben Kerslake, Nako, Tyler Lockett, Fellipe Martins, Pu Jinsong, Wang Shenghua, Yuan Shaofeng, Jin Lei.

This is an excellent art book. It should be one of the best for 2011.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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on May 8, 2011
I have been a huge Alice fan since I played the original on the PC. I was really glad to see that a sequel was being made, and knew I had to pick this Artbook up as well. The book is a nice size which is great. It is a hardcover, and the pages are thick and very nice quality. The colors and art can be appreciated with the bigger size and the better quality paper.

The content is beyond incredible. The art in the book comes with blurbs about the piece from the artist or a producer, and it often goes into detail about the piece, why it was made, and what the goal for the piece was. Most of the work is concept art, but they are of high quality. There is alot of complete pieces with full color and depth. Not just sketches or storyboards which is common in alot of artbooks you get as preorder bonuses with games. The book is broken into chapters, with each chapter giving insight on an aspect of the game, such as preproduction or Wonderland locations. Each chapter has art pertaining to the theme. So in preproduction, you see alot of the brainstorming and ideas that came up early in the game's development that ended up getting cut from the game. It's a real treat to see. Even the design of the characters are in detail.

The book is about 170 pages or so, and has a ton of material to go through. I could not put the book down, and finished it in a day. It was just really good and kept my interest up the whole time.

If I have any small gripes, it is that a few of the pieces which are VERY interesting, have no blurbs about them. There were a couple of pictures I had really hope had some context to it, but it only lists who did them. About 5% of the pictures have no blurbs. Also, some of the artwork isn't talked about enough. For example, there is a really neat picture released when the game was announced of alice scaling a tower crawling with snails and a mechanical snail at the top. The piece is here, but is only briefly discussed. Another minor gripe is that book is a bit spoilerish in that it shows some of the new characters and the new look of original characters. Also, in talking about the levels, alot of information is given about them, which kind of gives away a tiny bit of the story. It doesn't ruin the story by any means though. I couldn't fathom an artbook without ALL the material either, so I am glad it wasn't cut out for the sake of being spoilerish. I do wish there was a disclaimer somewhere though.

Still, this is an excellent book, and one I enjoyed. I hope you enjoy it too!
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on May 11, 2011
I've been a fan of Alice since the original game on the computer and I can't wait for the 2nd game to come out! Anyways the book came in a box. After I opened it, I was already staring at the front cover. I love the cover alot, it shows you exactly what your getting your self into before you open the book. The book is hard covered and the pages are thick and have some nice weight to them. This is one of the better art book for video games I've had. Most of the other ones are paper back.

For what it costs right now ($20) this book is definitely a must buy. If you are a fan of Alice from the original game on the PC you should get this one. Theres tons of content to read about the processes and somethings about the upcoming sequel. The art itself is very beautiful, its dark and yet there is so much detail put into every page. There's comments and such on each page, its very nice to read what the artists take on things were. My favorite section was Alice and her Dresses, which shows you sketches and reasons behind the designs and such.

If your a fan of Alice you should get this book, the price is nice. If you like the original fairy tales that were more dark and morbid, than you would probably like this book. You won't be disappointed, it also makes for a good gift for those who like more dark and twisted things.
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on July 19, 2011
I have been collecting Alice stuff for many years now, and when American McGee made the 1st Alice game... I was hooked. I am glad there is a 2nd one and that someone thought to publish an "art of" book about it. Inside is a very nice collection of game and development art.
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on August 26, 2011
It's an awesome book. I loved looking at all the different designs they had before the finals. Some characters in the book didn't even make it into the game, which was also really cool. The packaging was very secure and it arrived in time. No complains.
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on March 31, 2013
I decided to purchase the Kindle version since the price dropped significantly and the hardcover is out of stock (perhaps even out of print). Unfortunately, the presentation of it was not well thought out. The book utilizes a 'comics' viewer that doesn't allow for pinch resizing or menu resizing of text (which is tiny!). It also does not allow the book to be rotated to landscape even though some of the art would be optimally presented that way. Paintings that are spread across two pages in the physical copy have a relatively thick black line down the center in the digital version--it's just bad presentation any way you look at it, and it mars what is otherwise a nice art book. I've requested a refund and will save my money for the hardcover version.
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on September 23, 2011
The artbook is a fantastic purchase for anyone that can enjoy a set of unique and sometimes grotesque art. If the book was to disappoint me in anyway, it would have to be the fact that a lot of what is in the art book did not make it to the game. A shame considered when the game has great execution of the art style, but is lacking in so much content.

Highly recommended.
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on February 23, 2016
This is exactly as pictured. This book is extremely high quality. The book is the same type of material that they use for college text books. This item has held up perfectly over the past few months. Even after lots of getting tossed and moved around from person to person. This book is also quite a bit bigger than I was expecting. I was expecting more of a novel or chapter book size but its around the same size as the average text book for school. Overall great quality and amazing product
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on October 13, 2011
Simply one of the best artbooks ever made. Just like what almost everybody else has mentioned, it's crammed with amazing artworks and definitely worth the money. Many artbooks that I've seen in the past are either crammed with words, or contained only a few pages but sold at a ridiculously expensive price. This one exceeds most of them, and every page is a delight. In addition, despite all the information and pictures in it, the book is almost spoiler-free (but you get a good glimpse of what will be in the game.)

However, seeing it makes me disappointed in EA and Spicy Horse (yes, both are responsible for the actual game turning out not as brilliant as the concept.) I've obtained the artbook first before playing the game. After being thoroughly impressed with the art and starting to play, what I've expected didn't show up, or it either did but appear in an awkward manner that was off and didn't fit in the plot.

I'd still say PLAY THE GAME if you have the chance to. It's not the best EA & Spicy Horse can give us, but it's not too horrible either.

Anyway, it's a 5-star from me, and as the game didn't seem "complete" enough, the artbook did fill the rest of the stuff in. Great collection!
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on May 14, 2015
By far, the best of the game's artbooks I own. Features notes on the criative process, and a lot of designs that weren't included in the final game. And I mean a lot....clothes, different Alice models, levels that were cut, enemies...really, it's a huge book! I can recommend this not only to fans of Alice, but also for people interested in dark, twisted, evil ilustrations.
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