“It’s creepy, and I love it!” | It’s been 2 years since I last looked at Alisa from developer Casper Croes. Back then, it had only just been released, and much still needed to be fixed with several game-breaking bugs. However, despite all of that what Casper had done was create something that felt like a real 90s Playstation 1 game. I know that the style seems very overdone now, but very few do it correctly. Alisa has pre-rendered backgrounds, and fixed camera angles, along with quirky design choices and a story that isn’t just your normal run-of-the-mill zombies. It’s clear that a lot of care and attention has gone into the development of Alisa and the Developer Cut only adds to the already impressive game. More cutscenes, more enemies, new item placement for a refreshing playthrough, and more items to use. It’s honestly been a great experience playing through Alisa again and experiencing the new additions. For context, if you want to check out my original review, you can do here.
I also had the pleasure of sitting down with Casper Croes and asking some questions about him, and the development of Alisa which you can find in a separate article.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on X!
|Top Hat Studios
An homage to the original survival horror game Resident Evil
Things I liked!
- New Enemies | In Alisa: Developer’s Cut, the enemies you encounter are a diverse and formidable array of creatures, each presenting unique challenges and strategic considerations. From the grotesque and otherworldly denizens of the circus area to the cunning and treacherous foes found in the garden outside of the house. Every encounter is a dynamic test of your skills and decision-making. The enemies span a range of attacks and dodges that make each encounter likely to be your last. Each adversary is meticulously designed and fits the environment well. The enemy that comes to mind the most is Elise’s mother. A woman dressed all in black floats randomly towards you. When you enter a room within the house, Elise’s mother will randomly appear and if she catches you it’s game over. So be careful.
- New Areas | Alisa: Developer’s Cut, also features a couple of new areas. While not many, it does make sense given that the underground mansion is self-contained. The new areas are worth exploring with one room looking like it has been ripped straight out of Twin Peaks. I love the design. It fits well with the rest of the mansion and holds some additional items you might want to grab.
- The Cutscenes | Alisa: Developer’s Cut now has additional cutscenes all pre-rendered just like the rest. If you have played the original, you will now be rewarded with the “good” ending, but if you are like me, you will want to experience them all. There is a rather chilling “bad” ending which you can unlock by using a modification purchased from the new puppet shop. I won’t spoil it for you but it was my favourite. There is also a secret ending that you can unlock by purchasing and equipping all 6 modifications, and also returning Elise’s leg.
- New Puppet Rewards | One of the biggest additions to Alisa: Developer’s Cut is the new Puppet Rewards. After defeating Pier Edmiston you can return to Pol to have the puppets switch out and get new rewards. These new rewards are items such as the mallet, some stone teeth-looking things, and more. While I never got the chance to go through and discover what exactly the stone teeth were for, it is clear that more items can be unlocked given the space available for them in the UI. The next set are modifications that you can propose as well. This includes magnetic fingertips, skin lacquer, cosmetic makeup, puppet strings, and a toothwheel skeleton that gives you additional movement speed and damage resistance. We also get access to new dresses with my personal favourite being the straight jacket. This one strips you of all weapons but does come with some built-in melee attacks, and if you are after an additional challenge, then this one is for you.
- The Boss FIghts | While nothing new has been added in the way of boss fights, Alisa: Developer’s Cut, does offer some really fun and challenging ones. Each boss has a special attack pattern which can result in having multiple takes to get it right. Pier Edmiston has his boxing gloves and mallet which will strike you as the room spins around, and he even has a second phase after you destroy the machine. We also have a water-themed boss that throws a trident at you, a metal rose knight in the external areas of the house, and the classic final boss which is huge and can summon minions to add more stress to the fight. By far though the best boss is the on-rails boss fight which is none other than the thief you chase at the start of the game. It’s a huge change of pace from the rest of the game and one that personally took me seven tries to finish. It’s very well done and looks aesthetically accurate to the sort of games from that era.
- The Audio | The music and in-game sound effects for Alisa: Developer Cut are still very good, and each new area that you explore works well. The circus area has it plays jolly, upbeat music and captures that circus vibe of the 90s. Some areas entirely are devoid of any music or ambiance and it works well. Sometimes just hearing the scurry of feet shuffling aimlessly towards you is enough to strike panic into your heart. My absolute favorite though is when the woman in black shows up. The music immediately fades out, and in kicks this ethereal drone as she floats slowly towards you. It’s creepy and I hate it, but at the same time, I love it!
- Easter Eggs | Resident Evil was always my go-to game back in the 90s. It’s great to see that Alisa still carries on what is clearly an inspiration to its style. The first enemy you see is hunched over eating something, and when noticed, turns slowly looking over its shoulder just like the first zombie you meet in Resident Evil 1. Other little easter eggs include another Resident Evil reference by declaring that you were “almost a sandwich” after escaping a certain room of death.
These guys will prove a fair challenge
Neither good nor bad
- The AI | There are a couple of enemies specifically in the game that will tend to pose no threat whatsoever depending on how close you are. While it doesn’t break the game, it is easy to dupe them into just circling you if you stand next to them. These enemies are found mostly in the later half of the game in the form of the metal flower woman and the multi-limbed baby dolls that crawl from under the ground. I would consider having some sort of sideways attack updated for these enemies since it can take you out of the immersion when playing.
Stop or I’ll shoot!
Things I disliked!
- The One Bug | The only issue I encountered when playing Alisa: Developer’s Cut, was the infinite loading loop when manually selecting the return to the main menu option. This happened every single time and will happen a lot given the fact that the game will require you to go back and load a previous save if you mess up, because otherwise you have to go through the effort of dying and loading. When this happens, your only choice is to go back to the dashboard, quit the game, and reload, ultimately increasing the time needed before you get back into the game. I do hope this gets fixed in the next update as I do plan on going through the new game plus mode.
How long did I play the review before publishing? 8 hours
How long to beat the story? 6 hours
How many Achievements did I earn before publishing? 11
How long to achieve 1000G | 16 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Cold Fear
96/100 ⭐| Alisa: Developer’s Cut has once again proved that indie survival horror is still very much alive two years later. With its new additions, refined gameplay, and new endings, Alisa not only warrants a second playthrough but demands multiple so you can really experience everything that Casper has crafted. Without a shadow of a doubt, Alisa: Developer’s Cut has been one of my favorite indie games in the last few years. You can check it out on consoles coming February 6th.
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I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.