Alice: Madness Returns First Impressions

The beautiful Alice is back, armed with her vorpal blade and a new...pepper grinder.

The brief teaser trailer from EA's studio showcase a few months ago left us eager to see more of Alice: Madness Returns, the sequel to American McGee's take on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. At EA's Tokyo showcase in Shinjuku, Japan, American McGee revealed another tantalizing trailer, and we were able to get a first look at the game. While it was strictly a hands-off demo, we did see our heroine, Alice, in her signature blue and white dress slash her way through all kinds of demented creatures.

The trailer showed Alice in Victorian London, pale and gaunt, shivering as she walks down the deserted street. She is drawn toward a display of marionettes where she sees some familiar characters having tea. Her dead parents suddenly appear in the reflection, standing solemnly in front of a fountain that is now spilling blood. Before we know it, the display bursts into flames, and she's yanked into the inferno by a swarm of tentacles. This sets us up for the demo, which places Alice in the Vale of Tears, a beautiful landscape with floating islands, discarded dominoes, and extra-large mushrooms to jump across. This area highlighted the platforming aspect of the game, and we see that Alice can leap as well as double jump to higher ground.

In the next area, Alice comes across a hovering purple potion labeled "drink me" that pours an endless amount of fluid into a lake. She drinks this, of course, which then causes her to shrink, giving her access to new areas as well as the ability to see messages scrawled on the walls. During EA's presentation, McGee said that in this world, Alice is an idealized version of herself. A more beautiful, stronger, and more confident woman who is able to defend herself physically and mentally. As distorted as everything is already, she brings her own madness into the world, so as her surroundings begin to degenerate, her sanity starts to go as well.

Alice is given some new weapons to help her on her journey into madness. Other than brandishing her deadly vorpal blade, she can now wield a pepper grinder like a machine gun. This allows her to fire a stream of deadly bullets of some kind, while keeping a safe distance. McGee mentioned that each enemy is like a puzzle, and the only way to destroy them is to find their weakness and exploit it. You're also given a hobby horse and a teapot at some point, but it looks like we're going to have to wait to see how they work in battle.

Like in the previous game, there is a mix of exploration and platforming along with the combat, where you may need to hit switches to reveal a path to the next area. The game is linear, so there's no chance of getting lost, but you will need to wander off the beaten path of hidden objects and collectibles.

What made the first Alice so appealing was the gorgeous, dark art style, and that has continued in Madness Returns. Familiar creatures return, like the china-doll-faced nightmare spiders as well as the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter. New characters will make their way in this bizarre world, so it'll be interesting to see who we'll run into. We're looking forward to being able to play the game, as this demo was for our eyes only, and the build was still in pre-alpha. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more information as soon as it becomes available. Alice: Madness Returns is set to come out in 2011 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

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149 comments
DKnutz187
DKnutz187

i hope its not a 60$ piece of sh*t

DoctorXombie
DoctorXombie

Will the original game be ported or modified for the PS3? I'd love to play both on my PS3.

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

@icebox98 The Bioshock series has very nice environmental graphics as well.

biokrysty
biokrysty

yeah what can I say , wanna see the gameplay

icebox98
icebox98

why cant other games come up with such good environment graphics....................and @game: i hope its not just nice graphics, but also good G-play

destrux408
destrux408

Wow ,played the first one on my PC way back in the day it was a great game graphics wise. Curious to see what today's tech will do for her.

kravitzzz
kravitzzz

Looks epicly bad graphic wise, but we'll just have to wait and see. Nothing that breaks my wait of Fallout or Portal or anything...

Cocoloto
Cocoloto

Is totally scary.WTF.Is a horror,terror.I have pi on me

SDSkarface
SDSkarface

still got the first Alice havent beaten it yet..need to buy that new Riva TNT

jjfitz0
jjfitz0

I too have been waiting 10 long years for this game to be made. The first game won me over within the first 5 minutes of cutscenes and gameplay. I have always described it as "delightfully demented". I can not wait to return to this world!

PvtFreddy
PvtFreddy

Since I'm not a player of the first game, I am not going to be judgemental on how this new game shall turn out. Although, with saying this, after watching the first interview at the EA's Tokyo showcase I have the sense that the interviewed person gave away too much, too much which made me think it was a boring platform game with puzzles. I hope I am wrong.

wahyudil
wahyudil

I played the first one in PC, so ... I will wait for the PC version

BLaZe462
BLaZe462

I like how she gets tentacle raped

that1guy67
that1guy67

I CANT WAIT ANY LONGER!!!!! I WANT IT NOW!!!!! I HAVE BEEN WAITING 10 YEARS FOR A SEQUEL TO ONE OF THE BEST GAMES EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! the first one was so good. if you have not played it you must definitely look into it. i highly recommend that you play the first one before you decide to play this. it was for the pc so you must definitely pick it up.

madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

I didn't knew a lot about the first game, but after seeing this teasers for Madness Returns i got really interested, i've been reading a lot about the first game, and decided to get it, only waiting for my copy to arrive this week, if it's as good as everyone says, then no doubt i'll get the second one, i just love the art style.

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

I just hope the pc version isn't some lame direct port with xbox360 button on the menu. Invest some time making a proper pc version like taking advantage of the current hardware and implementing them such as dx11, super hi-res textures, physics, eyefinity support, more AI and NPC on screen at once, etc. Capcom did excellent jobs with their pc version of Devil May Cry 4 and Resident Evil 5.

that1guy67
that1guy67

i could go on and on about the first game but its all about this one now. it looks like they are keeping the craziness of the first game. the first one gave me nightmares. it was so disturbing i immedietly fell in love with it. i hope that american can deliver the madness again. im just so excited for this. im going to go insaine just waiting for this. ok im going to stop talking now and follow the white rabbit. will you join me?

that1guy67
that1guy67

I CANT WAIT FOR THIS!!!!!! its been so long since the first one came out on the pc. it was the best game i have ever played. the twisted art style and take on the alice world is just fantastic. i like the dark version of the story instead of the stuff that disney chewed up and craped out. this is how it originally supposed to be. just madness everywhere.

irwin888
irwin888

Sweet...I've always loved games that could pull off a creepy atmosphere. Clive Barker's Jericho was absolutely phenominal in that aspect, but it failed miserably in the gameplay. I haven't played the original Alice, but from what I hear it's pretty good. If it's anything like what this seems to be, I'll have to find a copy.

Digital_DJ_00
Digital_DJ_00

To this day I'll never understand the fascination and craze about the Alice in Wonderland world...

Charliesix
Charliesix

how the heck did American McGee find work after making Bad Day LA?

bartimeo8
bartimeo8

@ FarmFreshDX It makes sense that they are this way, i thought he came up with most of Alice's world in an opium nightmare, and in many ways it fits, the size changes, colors, especially the deformation of body parts with the queen having a huge head and all

Raxia-
Raxia-

This looks good. I think I'll try it.

FarmFreshDX
FarmFreshDX

For those who are curious, this is not nearly the original Alice. The original books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass And What Alice Found There are more madness in the sense that they are off-the-wall, odd, bizarre, strange, yet in a way that almost makes sense to the mind. I like to call it perfect nonsense. McGee's game(s) take the stories (almost perfectly) and twist and pervert them. Like Wonderland mutated into evil. I highly recommend the first game to anyone and everyone to change your perspective on games. The atmosphere is unbeatable thanks to incredible art design and an amazingly creative and atmospheric soundtrack.

oneEnigma
oneEnigma

im really looking forward to this but i hope it will still have alot of lit and colourful areas blended with a bizarre storyline and character enemy design, hopefully it wont be too dark and corridor like in its environment, then im def buying it. Loved the first game alot

Tysonweir
Tysonweir

OH yeah this is going to be awesome

Dasteret
Dasteret

Thats kinda... creepy. But alice is better this way, then the stupid disney movie with Johnny depp.

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

@Comment1 Ah, thanks a lot. Gotta hate Disney for screwing things up like that. This really got me interested in the game. AND the original Alice.

Comment1
Comment1

@TheDarkSpot 1865, it's a novel by Lewis Carroll. A lot of the other fairy tales were collected by the Grimms around Germany and a lot of those stories could be really old. Alice in Wonderland has a lot of madness all over the place, but I don't know how dark it is. With a lot of these things Disney just made it all cute and cuddly, all this kinda grim and dark stuff is a legitimate interpretation I reckon.

Leria
Leria

Yeah, Hansel and Gretel with an American McGee spin on them would be AWESOME! Actually, any game with an American McGee spin on them would be awesome. As to these games 'not being for kids'... hardly. As I keep on saying, I allowed my 6 year old cousins to play Doom 3, and they had no problems whatsoever. No bad dreams or anything.

RollingMeatball
RollingMeatball

Anyone else think there should be more fairytales with a grim twist in the gaming world? Just imagine how awesome Hansel and Gretel would be if it uses the same formula as the Alice games.

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

@Gao_Wuji So this is the original Alice? How old is this version exactly?

marth380
marth380

4 WEAPONS !!!! WTF, THEY BETTER BE GOOD. no but seriously, he mentioned upgrading your weapons so i hope its like in ratched and clank, where you level them up, and buy mods :DDDD:D:D:DD:D:D:D:D::D SOOOOO EXCITED FOR THIS GAME this wil be the first game i will get for my ps3

skullmanIOWA
skullmanIOWA

And he I thought the only Alice that loves to kill was in Resident Evill.

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

Just what I want to be, a psychotic little girl with a knife! :)

Evil_Saluki
Evil_Saluki

She looks like a young slightly cartoon Elizabeth Hurley.

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

This Alice - and American McGee's Alice before it - are definitely not for kids. Not unless you want them to grow up terrified of rabbits and playing cards. The original was a pretty standard platformer. If I'm reading this right, this is a very late sequel that follows a similar playstyle. The attractions will be: -Updated graphics and artwork -New and unique weapons -Further exploration of Wonderland -Novel puzzles The atmosphere of the first Alice was intoxicating; this might even pull me out of Azeroth.

whatevawhateva
whatevawhateva

@Gao Wuji true and frankly i like them better that way

Gao_Wuji
Gao_Wuji

@TheDarkSpot A lot of the old classic childrens stories we grew up with originally were much darker before disney got their hands on them. It comes from the older school of parenting, "Be good, or horrible nasty things will happen to you".

deadkingdg
deadkingdg

The environment reminds me of Folklore.

accretia27
accretia27

this is better than the movie... i think

gameboy716
gameboy716

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

Whoa, wasn't Alice in Wonderland supposed to be for kids?