Mirror’s Edge has been in development for about a year, and early impressions of the game were relatively positive. Now that Faith has sprinted onto the shelves, the Mirror’s Edge experience offers a very different style of gameplay.
Introducing Faith, a Runner on the Mirror’s Edge
The game centres on the adventures of ‘runner’ Faith, who is one of a band of high speed and illegal couriers who ferry private information around in an Orwellian city of control and authority.
Faith’s sister is implicated in the murder of an important public figure and she gets dragged into a complicated storyline that finished with a fulfilling ending, while also leaving plenty of room for a sequel.
Basic mission design centres on getting from point A to point B, moving as fast as possible and using Faith’s unique agility to stay out of the grasp of the authorities.
A Clean Yet Beautiful Visual Design
Faith and her fellow runners see ‘the flow’, an obscure visual filter that renders the city in simple colours that allow routes to be planned on the fly. For example, while running towards the edge of a building, a zip line may turn a bright red, to indicate it can be used.
Identifying these colours quickly becomes second nature, allowing the player to keep up Faith’s speed, which is essential for survival. However, the high speed of the game and frequent mistakes, missed jumps or temporary stalls can result in a frustrating trial-and-error gameplay, with Faith being forced to try again from a checkpoint. That said, the ability to run levels over and over and get the best time for completion will appease gamers who like to keep an eye on leaderboards.
The downside to the speed of the game is that the simple beauty of the environment can often appear incomplete, with textures and visual filters occasionally flickering, but on the whole, the game is stunning.
Cutscenes are rendered in an anime style, with excellent voice acting and compelling characters. The musical score is also excellent.
The First Person Viewpoint may cause Motion Sickness and Frustration
The game is played entirely from a first person view. While this allows a sense of connection with the character, the motions of a runner can produce excitement and sense of urgency, but may also lead to disorientation. For example, the roll that Faith executes after jumping from a height throws the camera around and can lead gamers to loose their way, stopping the ‘flow’ and causing more frustration.
The controls, however, are simple. Controlling Faith with the thumbsticks is easy, and the simple jump and crouch mechanic- LB to jump, LT to couch/slide, is easy to get to grips with.
Combat and Agility as Faith
Combat is a different story however. While she is a superb athlete and runner, she is not a good fighter. In fact, the whole game consists of outrunning the helicopters, cops and swat teams that chase after you, and while this is fun, the few moments when you have to beat the cops can really spoil the experience.
Faith’s combat moves consist of a few martial arts kicks and some disarm moves, but the timing of the disarm move must be perfect, or she will get pistol-whipped to death. The fact that Faith dies if more than three bullets hit her is also an irritation, but this is predictable do to the content of the game and its punishing difficulty level.
Overall, Mirror’s Edge is an exhilarating, if occasionally irritating, sprint through a compelling but short-lived story. One to rent before buying.
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