It’s been close to eleven years since auteur games director,American McGee, released the first Alice game. In American McGee’s Alice, the developer took the world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and gave it a darker twist, favouring more murderous imaginings over the cutesy, child-friendly stuff that we all read as a kid. In Alice Madness Returns, we get another chance to explore Alice’s macabre Wonderland.
American McGee’s Alice is set shortly after Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass; our heroine is mad and institutionalised in a mental asylum. Her descent into madness began after her family died in an accidental house fire, which she barely escaped. After the disaster, Alice took refuge in her imaginary fantasy world, but when she arrived she found that it was different; it had become a grimy Gothic and threatening place (in tune with her mental state). Here, equipped with a large kitchen knife (yeah, that’s right), she battled against the horrors in her head in a bid to restore her sanity.
While it isn’t essential to play the first game before moving on to Alice Madness Returns, it’s not a bad idea to visit the origins of the series, and there’s no excuse not to because all new copies come bundled with a remastered copy of the original (a PSN code is in the box). However, you can bypass the first altogether and still feel at home in McGee’s Wonderland.
Don't mess with a giant insane girl
The sequel begins with Alice free from Rutledge Asylum and living in Victorian London, in a grotty orphanage under the care of a psychiatrist called Angus Bumby. Living conditions are atrocious and she keeps prostitutes for company. She’s also still recovering from the traumas of her past. Her memories of the fire are now blurred and confused; she has repressed them, causing her madness to return (yep, that’s the title), so she must revisit Wonderland to uncover the truth about the fire, and to once again save her sanity.
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