Saturday, 3 January 2009

Mirrors Edge

360-Mirrors-Edge Right it's been a while since I've done one of these, an actual review of a game! For Christmas my parents picked me up a copy of Mirrors Edge, now I know any long time readers of the Den will know I ripped Mirrors Edge a new one based on the demo but to my shock, surprise, and a little bit of sexual joy, the game is VASTLY better than the demo! So, what makes it so good? Read on and find out :-)



Mirrors Edge is one of those games that even at the quickest glance you know what game it is. It's use of white with blocks of vibrant colours is nothing short of beautiful and paints the picture of a perfect city, at the same time it can be a bit of an issue though as so much white can be a bit overwhelming at times and leave you lost, or blind if the brightness on your TV is too high. The game suffers from texture resolution jumps but less than most games (and these days with every game pushing the fold of graphics it's become so common for resolution jumps in textures it hardly seems worth mentioning), I also found that although the levels were amazingly good looking, the human characters...well they didn't so much feel like they'd fallen into the uncanny valley, but more that they were made of clay or something. They looked weird. Even with the graphical floors though Mirrors Edge is one of those games you should get for the visual experience alone.


Sound is very important in Mirrors Edge even though it hardly feels like a factor. All of the music is soft and ambient and even the combat music feels so soft the fart of a mouse could drown it out. Beyond music there's a lot of use of background sounds like cars, planes, running water and so on, other than that most of the time the main sound you'll hear is of Faith running, jumping, and grunting in a way which would make any man cross his legs. It might all sound a little pointless but I played a little bit with the sound muted and the world just felt wrong, even though the sound is so discreet, it's vital. Sadly there is an issue with the audio though, the voices over the comm system can be hard to hear at times causing you to miss information which might be useful in the level or plot, which leads us onto...


The story in Mirrors Edge is...well...pointless. Seriously, first time though I skipped all of the plot it would let me and enjoyed the game just as much as when I played with plot. The fact almost all the cut-scenes are done in 2D feels wrong, kinda like the plot is disconnected from the game it's self, it also felt pointless as 3D in-game videos would have looked and worked better and as far as I can see, would have been easier on the team at Dice. Anyway, the plot follows Faith (you), a free runner in a future city in which the government rules absolute and the world has entered a more pretty looking version of 1984. As all lines of communication are monitored your job is to transport information via the rooftops from one person to another without the cops catching you. The basic idea is very good and I hoped for some form of side-mission which would push you to find ways across the city to deliver information, alas this doesn't exist as your thrown into the main plot when you finish the tutorial. The main plot sees your sister framed for the murder of a government official who wants to relax the control on the city, you set off to prove her innocent blah blah blah. Seriously, if your looking for a deep plot this isn't the game for you. This one is much more about its...


Game Play:
This is truly where Mirrors Edge becomes a good game. Games like Prince of Persia, Assassins Creed, even Shadow of the Colossi have all tried to implement an element of free running, but although some have done it well, none have truly captured the flow and feel of true free running, Mirrors Edge has and has perfectly. The controls are mapped to only a few basic buttons (LT to Duck/Skid/Drop, LB to Jump/Pull Up/Wall Run, RT to Punch/Kick, RB to turn 180 quickly, Y to take a weapon, and B to show where your meant to be heading) which is impressive for such a complex game. The flow of your free running can vary from smooth and speedy if you hit the right jumps at the right times and judge things quickly, or painfully slow and embarrassing when you fall off the same drop 10 times, but beyond a few glitches in the system this is all based on your own skills in the game. One issue I did have was with some places in the game where your free running suddenly became 'slowly climb up these pipes for the next 5 minutes' which broke the flow. The game doesn't really give you 100% freedom but dose give you the feel of it which can be just as good if done properly like it is here. The combat admittedly left a lot to be desired but this is a free running game so I shouldn't be complaining about that, and I happily wouldn't except the fact they force combat down your throat at times which is truly a shame.


My Opinion:
Mirrors Edge should NOT be judged on it's crappy demo, the game is good. It has gotten a bit of a negative press but in fairness although it's not a perfect game, it's a good one and finally dose something new with the First Person system. Admittedly I was let down by the number of loose ends in the story and total lack of a character history for Faith beyond a short sum up which didn't really do her justice. I also felt a little let down by the lack of boss battles (there only being one which wasn't a 1 button quick time event) but Mirrors Edge feels kinda like how Jak and Daxter felt the first time I played number 1; a good game but more importantly it setup for an amazing franchise.


To Sum Up:
I'd recommend this game to anyone, it's learning curve is slow and steady, it's fun, and has a lot of reply value with the time trials and upcoming downloadable content. It has it's fair share of issues and floors but so dose almost every game but at least this one has the excuse that it's trying something new. If there is one reason I'd recommend playing Mirrors Edge it's because I do think this could become a major franchise in the future of gaming, so you'll wanna know where it all starts when your playing later and much more solid titles.

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