And then we played Alice Madness Returns. More like I played and Ekhary laughed at me, my terrible sense at videogame logic and told me what I had to do when I was stuck XD
Ok, so I've been waiting for this for 10 years. How was it?
Not bad, it's the same game again. One of the main things I was afraid about a sequel was them trying to add too much and making a completely different game, but they didn't. It's more of the same, jump a lot, lower levers and kill things from time to time. I liked the changes they did make in the jumping-and-walking, like the shrinking mode or using the bombs as weights to press down buttons. Shrinking is particularly fun, with it's bright, funny hints all over the place.
The new combat system is not bad, it looks pretty, blood flows everywhere, and I just need to remember on which button is what weapon and I'll be all right. However, the focus can be tricky (I shouldn't be complaining, at least there IS a focus)and I feel like it doesn't have enough fighting compared to the last one, where enemies popped everywhere, and now they only appear in special important places and nowhere else (where are my annoying bomb throwing ladybugs?!) I just played two stages and it could get more enemy heavy later, but for now I think it really needs much more.
And now, about the creepy factor, the real reason anyone plays this: it's lacking. The graphics are good, but there is nothing special about the enemies, the atmosphere is not as oppressing as it could be in the last one, and the music. WHERE is the music? It blends too much into the background, doing nothing to help the mood. It's not bad, it's just bland. Go listen to that Chris Vrenna soundtrack again and feel the creeps. For example, the old vs the new Pool of Tears theme. Both are dark and sad; there is nothing wrong with the new one, it just feels like any other 'creepy music' background from any other game. I miss the music. Dearly.
Another thing that lessens the dark environment, and I would have never imagined it, is the lack of voices and noises during battles. Of course enemies whine and Alice grunts when hurt, but it's nothing compared to the last game, where shrill screams of agony were the norm every time you killed one of those countless monsters, or the horrible screams of Alice dying (I particularly remember dying in the fire, it was a pretty horrible scream, my brother and I used to joke that they had actually burned the voice actress to get that sound, it was just that strong.) Not only are there not enough monsters here, now that they make no sounds I noticed how much that helped in the whole mood of the game.
Something I loved about this one were the dresses. You have the normal dress half of the stage and a special dress the second part. The designs are great and they always look perfect (and her hair, it just floats around, it's amazing). I also like that you are going back and forth between madness and reality. The real world is way worst than wonderland, but I'm sure that's what they were trying to convey.
Overall it's nice, quite nostalgic but with new things (and hardish, if it wasn't for ekhary I could have spent some time completely lost XD)I do like it, but I'm not terribly in love with it. Now I'm going to listen to that old soundtrack again, if you excuse me.