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New 'Alice: Madness Returns' Looks Awesome

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 16 comments
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Monday EA and Spicy Horse Games released a new batch of screenshots and a new video of Alice: Madness Returns, finally showcasing actual gameplay footage. Based on the clip originally presented at GDC 2011, the game looks to be both creepy and fascinating just in the visuals alone, offering gamers a chance to play a darker version of the beloved Lewis Carroll character.

Alice: Madness Returns arrives on the heel's of Tim Burton's similarly-themed Alice in Wonderland feature film released in 2010 starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice) and Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter). As with the movie, American McGee's rendition takes a darker spin on the storyline presented in Carroll's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass books, although the game is a bit more sinister, a bit more edgy and brooding.

Alice: Madness Returns also arrives ten years after the original ALICE hit the PC. Unfortunately, the sequel has the daunting task of introducing its dark world to new players while refreshing fans of the first installment. The original ALICE was rich in visuals using the id Tech 3 engine all those years ago, depicting a trouble girl who leaps back into a troubled, twisted world altered by her own depression.

Picking up ten years after the original title, the upcoming sequel reveals that Alice is still plagued with the gruesome death of her family, burned alive in a house fire. She's now released from an insane asylum after nearly a decade, and is under the care of a psychiatrist intent on helping the girl conquer her "nightmarish hallucinations." But Alice wants to know the truth behind the mysterious fire, and returns to an unfamiliar Wonderland that's been altered by the actions of her last visit.

Under the hood, Alice: Madness Returns is a murder mystery. But it's also a 3rd-person action game that stretches across six unique domains residing within Wonderland itself. The realms represent her state of mind as she grows closer to the truth about her family's brutal end. That said, each realm grows increasingly darker, increasingly more sinister than the last. Alice actually knows what really happened-- it's locked away deep within her subconscious. The journey through the six realms is her way of reclaiming those memories locked away long ago and getting to the bitter, maddening truth.

As with the original ALICE, the sequel requires some exploration, problem solving, and lots of teeth-grinding action using four specific weapons including the vorpal blade, a pepper mill that works like a machine gun, a hobby horse that doubles as a parasol, and grenade-launching teapot. Alice also commands a clockwork White Rabbit that can be used as a decoy, and an ability to shrink at will (instead of using a potion as seen in the original). This latter ability allows Alice to access areas she previously couldn't reach, and to see various secrets previously hidden to her eyes when exploring at normal height.

Outside the storyline and gameplay, Alice: Madness Returns will undoubtedly be remembered for its stunning visuals: the character designs, the surrounding environment, the whole bit. Based on what we've seen thus far, gamers will feel as if they've stepped into a painting, into a world worth revisiting again and again if only to behold its stunning beauty once more. If anything, the game creates its own classic look and feel that will make it one of the biggest games of 2011.

Alice: Madness Returns will arrive on Windows PC, Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 on June 14, 2011.

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  • -6 Hide
    LetUsAdvance , March 9, 2011 5:24 PM
    "looks awesome". Is that your subjective opinion, Kevin? Cause I don't know, I thought this was supposed to be an objective news article and all. It's about time Tom's hired some real journalists for this section.
  • -3 Hide
    g0rilla , March 9, 2011 5:32 PM
    LetUsAdvance"looks awesome". Is that your subjective opinion, Kevin? Cause I don't know, I thought this was supposed to be an objective news article and all. It's about time Tom's hired some real journalists for this section.


    Yeah if he's going based on looks, graphics look about the same as the previous version.

    Tom's has no real journalists. They just re-post everything on Engadget 2 days later and call it news, which is unacceptable in the internet age.
  • 8 Hide
    fyasko , March 9, 2011 5:51 PM
    10 years later... so is alice legal now?
  • 5 Hide
    djackson_dba , March 9, 2011 5:51 PM
    g0rillaYeah if he's going based on looks, graphics look about the same as the previous version. Tom's has no real journalists. They just re-post everything on Engadget 2 days later and call it news, which is unacceptable in the internet age.


    If you find it that lame.... why are you here again?
  • 5 Hide
    christop , March 9, 2011 5:52 PM
    So you people think you can do a better job? Why is it you are not working for bestofmedia? O thats right cause you have no skills at all.. If you don't like the reviews go some where ells and troll..
  • 0 Hide
    Benihana , March 9, 2011 6:53 PM
    Sweet! I didn't get to play the first one, but hopefully I'll picking up a copy of that soon!
  • 1 Hide
    deweycd , March 9, 2011 6:58 PM
    I think Kevin did a fine job with his review. Here's one for Kevin.
  • 0 Hide
    applegetsmelaid , March 9, 2011 7:19 PM
    Its OK Tom's journalists... I still like you.
  • 2 Hide
    mikem_90 , March 9, 2011 7:37 PM
    g0rillaYeah if he's going based on looks, graphics look about the same as the previous version. Tom's has no real journalists. They just re-post everything on Engadget 2 days later and call it news, which is unacceptable in the internet age.


    Not sure what version you played, but the one I played was indicative of the graphics abilities of 10 years ago. The art style and "feel" appears the same, but the graphics seem reasonably updated for current generation systems.

    My only beef with the American Mgee Alice was there wasn't that ambiguity between "is this real? or is it only a dream?" You kind of throw that out the window mid way.

    Loved the style, I enjoyed the Movie and it made me think very much of the previous game. I wonder how much it was influenced by the game version?

  • -4 Hide
    bv90andy , March 9, 2011 8:43 PM
    It looks like s#%t.
  • 0 Hide
    cletus_slackjawd , March 9, 2011 9:43 PM
    I'll admit it does look great. This gives me hope that they'll also release a sequel to Clive Barker's Undying, which was a very similar game that came out the same time as the original Alice.
  • 1 Hide
    cliff , March 9, 2011 10:03 PM
    The original was brilliant. The writing, the gameplay, the finale - perfect. Not to mention it was a visual masterpiece for the time, which INSTANTLY put American McGee on the map (fame he later squandered on a string of awful games). And that soundtrack... Dear God, go to YouTube and look up some of the tracks used in the original Alice.
  • -1 Hide
    killbits , March 10, 2011 6:51 AM
    LetUsAdvance"looks awesome". Is that your subjective opinion, Kevin?


    hey asshole, it does look fucking awesome.

    its not his opinion if its a cold hard fact
  • 0 Hide
    sudeshc , March 10, 2011 7:17 AM
    Graphics do look promising here, never played first one but after looking these pics i am looking forward too.
  • 0 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , March 10, 2011 11:48 AM
    You call that awesome ?
  • 0 Hide
    K2N hater , March 11, 2011 12:22 AM
    Excuse the pun but the graphics desperately need some love.