Mirrors Edge was born out of parkour/free running and puts you in the role of Faith, a messenger to the people of the city who don’t trust electronic communications. Faith travels across rooftops, out of sight and out of mind of the authorities. However, things are about to change.
I was a bit late reviewing this as it came out on PC in the early days of the site and I had already bought several games to review. So I had the “opportunity” to read other reviews of this one and see if I had any hope of it being the great historical game it seemed it could be. Apparently not!
So now it was my turn to test and see if I agreed with the general consensus. And the answer to that is yes and no.
They take you through basic training that shows you how to run/jump and roll around special walls that help you traverse the landscape. I must admit I tried this on the Xbox-360 and found it much easier on PC. Throughout the game I ran into some areas that took me many, many tries to get past. I remember one area where it took me almost 30 times to pull off a tricky jump. So it’s not easy anyway. However, when you do it right, it’s fabulously fun and everyone feels completely accessible. I was really hoping for more possible routes in places though, they could have reduced the difficulty by doing this and made the game a bit more fun for those of us who don’t mind if we hit every move.
However, the scenery itself really drew me in. The shimmering whiteness and sheer scale of the city really gave Mirrors Edge an epic feel. However, the problem was that it’s a bit like driving:
You don’t really notice the scenery when you have to drive.
Combat-wise, it was a similar story to the rest of the game. They suggest that you try to isolate enemies before taking them down, but the process of isolating them is tricky. If you get more than one attacking you up close, you can guarantee you’ll be back at the last checkpoint in no time. On the other hand, there are moments where the combat flows beautifully and you seem to be running around the bad guys. I wish there had been a little more stealth in there. When they teach you how to fight, they show you how to disarm someone from behind. But I only found one opportunity to do this. The bad guys always, always knew where I was, even if they hadn’t seen me in a while, so there was no real way to secretly crawl in and then easily disarm them. On top of this, the real time window to disarm some of these enemies was ridiculously short and I was forced to kick everyone and then run before they could react almost every time. Either that or use bullet time (oh yeah, they have bullet time) to slow everything down enough to click.
The history of Mirrors Edge is short. It’s a gripe I agree with, but on the other hand, this is a fast game, so large areas that would take quite a bit of time in your standard fps game take only a few seconds here. And while the story is short, it’s not bad, which is a relief considering the daughter of the great Terry Pratchett was involved! I really hope that a sequel that focuses more on the story is on the way because if there was a little more plot, I think it could have been the hit of the year.
Part of the story is told in animated comic format. You will either love it or hate it. I, for one, thought it was great.
The story pairs well with the musical score which really worked for me. The minimalist sound really lent itself to the grand opening that the game, at least, represents. I’m also a fan of the title song, which helps I guess!
Basically, the main issues with this game revolve around its length and unforgiving nature when it comes to jumping and combat. It has big plus points in setting, story/environment quality, and fun once you get used to it. Whether you can get the demo or not, you’ll know as soon as you start playing if this game is for you, but I think it’s excellent.
Score: 80 out of 100
Final Words: Mirrors Edge is a great game, but watch before you jump! Try the demo first as it’s not for everyone!