Mirror's Edge Review
|ON OTHER PLATFORMS: Xbox360, PC|
genre: Action Adventure
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Nov 11, 08
|» All About Mirror's Edge on ActionTrip|
Heart-pounding chases through urban jungles is a skill few can master. The art of parkour doesn't just require endurance and determination. It entails precision, fast thinking and above agility. What's more, it's dangerous as hell. These days, however, you don't have to risk your neck in order to feel the rush of such extreme sports. DICE attempted to create a gaming experience that brings us as very close to this urban discipline. It struck us as a unique concept for a video game. You might have felt a similar sensation when dashing across rooftops with Altair in Ubisoft Montreal's Assassin's Creed, although this is different... quite different.
Errr... that's a really big hole.
I can do that. Wait!
Players are hurled into the confined and not-so-cheerful futuristic setting. In a world where everything is monitored, swift couriers known as Runners move over the tops of city skyscrapers, delivering vital information. Faith, one of the Runners, gets framed for the murder of Robert Pope, a case which unhappily also involves her sister, Kate. Robert Pope was, by the way, a mayoral candidate thought to be capable of actually changing the government. Faith sets out on a mission to find out who is responsible for the murder. In the process, she faces the state's police who are always on her tail.
From beginning to end, Mirror's Edge offers a decent enough story, wrapped elegantly around the main character. While the course of the plot is at times a tad predictable, it keeps you on your toes, leaving you intrigued at the end of each chapter. Players will no doubt feel attached to the Eurasian female protagonist. Faith has the will to survive and an admirable skill to outrun even the most persistent pursuers. She also has a fighting spirit in her, so even when enemies catch up, expect Faith to handle herself in a punch up when necessary.
Maintaining the tempo and flow of each run is where the real challenge is at. Don't think it's easy. You're gonna want to master the tutorial, before confidently marching into action. The entire experience is in first-person. The game conveys the sense of high-speed rooftop chases better than anything we've seen on the market. You can almost sense the wind rushing through your hair (I'm assuming you're not bald as a coconut) while making miraculous jumps, narrow escapes and death-defying leaps of faith. And remember, carts of hay aren't waiting beneath to brake the fall. Instead, the game presents what's called Runner Vision, enabling you to see objects of importance in the area. Switching this off increases realism, albeit it may throw the game slightly off balance, since it's usually difficult to spot where you're supposed to be going if you're running really fast and trying to avoid enemies at the same time. The problem is this symptom occurs even when Runner Vision is on.
This is perhaps the only perceivable flaw in Mirror's Edge. When things get really hot, chances are you won't survive during your first go unless you have super-human reflexes. In fact, dying more than a couple of times is inevitable during the more complex sections in the game. This definitely reduces the sense of speed and kills the rush you normally get from the game's ceaseless adrenaline-pumping chases. The thrill can easily disappear if you have to retry a series of jumps over ten times. It usually happened in a few oddly designed indoor areas, where I found it hard to notice where Faith should make her next step or leap. On the other hand, in certain areas you are actually meant to slow things down a bit so you can think about the next action carefully. Still, Mirror's Edge works great as an action game, though not so good as a puzzle-solver.
Somewhat clunky hand-to-hand combat mechanics could lead to additional frustrations. Disarming opponents, shooting and fighting isn't as smooth as we were lead to believe. Timing is of the essence when you want to relieve a cop of his side arm. Occasionally, this seems almost impossible to pull off, particularly when facing multiple enemies. Shooting works reasonably well, but it's an aspect of the game you certainly don't want to dwell on, since it's often unsatisfying. Your ammo is wasted very quickly and you cannot reload.
8.8 Very Good
Very imaginative, adrenaline-pumping chases are a blast, excellent soundtrack, cool art direction, if you want something different, try this;
Shooting and hand-to-hand combat feels awkward at times, the trial-and-error slows the pace of the game, single-player's a bit on the short side.