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Mirror’s Edge Review

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Developer: DICE Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: November 11, 2008 Available On: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

What do you get when you blend a first-person perspective, parkour, and a Eurasian female protagonist? You get a highly publicized game named Mirror’s Edge, Electronic Arts’ attempt at creating new experiences with a popular video game genre whilst expanding its video game repertoire. The concept may sound strange at first but it is an enjoyable video game experience that should help breathe new life to an otherwise saturated and possibly tired genre.

There really isn’t much I can say about the plot of Mirror’s Edge without spoiling it all for you. That is to say, there isn’t much plot to Mirror’s Edge. Mirror’s Edge is set in an unnamed city where its residents are constantly monitored by a totalitarian regime. You play the role of Faith, a “runner” whose job it is to traverse the high altitude rooftops of the city’s skyline to deliver sensitive information between resisting groups. Throughout the game you are in constant communication with your manager, Mercury, who feeds you radio information and guides you through the game’s obstacles.

Soon after you, a runner named Celeste and your manager Mercury are introduced, your sister is framed for the murder of the city’s mayor and you become entangled in the cover up. Rescuing your sister and uncovering the cover up serve as your motivation. There is more to the story but if I told you, it would take away from the game’s already short length.

There are not really any surprises or serious twists and turns that would define Mirror’s Edge as a memorable game as far as plot is concerned. The game’s structure is such that you play a segment and after you may get an in-game cut scene or an animated movie to move the plot along; then repeat. Thankfully, the voice acting well done and adds just enough depth allowing you to care for what would otherwise be forgettable characters.

Mirror’s Edge is an action-adventure game set in a first person camera perspective. With that said, let me be clear on one thing: this is not a first person shooter by any means. The game does nearly nothing to facilitate gun battles since motions are a bit awkward when holding a gun. When you run out of ammo, you’re done with the gun. There’s no cover system at all. You also cannot carry a gun with you while you’re vaulting about the game. I found all of this annoying since throughout the game you are pitted against heavily armed police officers which you have to face.

Mirror’s Edge’s controls are well thought out, with the exception of the gun controls. Most of the game’s significant actions are mapped to shoulder buttons on either the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 controllers. This control scheme does take some getting used to and there are some actions mapped to the face buttons, but by the end of the game you’ll be very well acquainted with the shoulder buttons. There were instances when trying to dash through a door that I instinctively pressed the X button on the PS3 controller, rather than the R2 button. To be fair, after playing for long periods of time, the controls felt second nature and really facilitated completing some impressively acrobatic feats.

Faith possesses an incredible acrobatic prowess and it shows through the core of the game as you climb walls, jump across roof tops, and complete a few death defying stunts. Of course, it’s not always a walk in the park. As you would expect, performing such stunts requires using physics to your advantage. One such element is momentum and when you run out of it, you might find yourself stuck temporarily. The game is forgiving, provides hints at your destination and permits you to conquer the obstacles with little handholding.

Mirror’s Edge runs on the Unreal Engine 3 if that matters anything to you, though it doesn’t mean anything to me. The game does look very good but the metropolitan and somewhat industrial setting doesn’t lend itself much for jaw dropping visuals. The graphics do successfully recreate the largeness of a city from a pedestrian or rooftop runner’s perspective. The game paints an image of a generally very clean and orderly city, almost sterile, with pedestrians casually walking about. Interestingly enough, there are rats everywhere and you run into them more often than other people.

What I appreciate most about Mirror’s Edge’s visuals is its bold use of color. Most of the game’s drama is played out in the colors that set the tone of the environment. The game manages to remain as a mature experience while moving through rooms painted in neon green or bright orange. Note: Mirror’s Edge is rated T for teen in the U.S. not M for mature. Mirror’s Edge uses a visual style reminiscent of Swiss design and makes it its own. There is no mistaking the visuals in Mirror’s Edge with that of any other first person perspective game out there.

With all that has been said, should you pick up Mirror’s Edge and give it a go? Yes, I think you should. Mirror’s Edge is a refreshing and enjoyable experience, even if it is a short one. It’s a departure from your run of mill first-person perspective games. At times, the chase scenes and audio remind me of Half-Life 2. Mirror’s Edge has that atmosphere of persecution much like in Half-Life 2. Other times it is much like Prince of Persia but in first person, and that is a compliment.

Because it is a short game, a weekend is probably all you will need with it. There are a couple of other modes such as a time trial mode and harder difficulty setting. You also have the option of tracking down 30 hidden runner’s bags throughout the game. Downloadable map packs are also available for PS3, 360, and PC which should somewhat extend the replay value of Mirror’s Edge. Unless you’re a first-person shooter nut, you should definitely give Mirror’s Edge a try. It is a fun and fresh experience that will entertain you for a weekend and make you wish for such athleticism in real life.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 8.1
Written by Angel Cortes Write a User Review