“Mirror’s Edge” … Defying Gravity and Genre

By: Fred Bloss

“Mirror’s Edge” is a game that gives gamers hope that even in these days of cookie cutter FPSs and unimaginative, clichéd RPGs, new and innovative ideas still spring up from time to time.

http://upload.wikimedia.org
http://upload.wikimedia.org

The story is set in a totalitarian city where all forms of communication are monitored.  You play as a “runner” named Faith whose job is to deliver packages and messages by running and jumping across rooftops in the city.  This becomes complicated when armored SWAT teams with large guns are constantly pursuing you.  The game itself is played entirely in first person and you can use guns, but it is by no means a first person shooter.  Using guns slows you down and the aiming is a little touchy.

The hand-to-hand combat is where the fun is, involving stringing together acrobatics with martial arts.  There is a problem, though – the button used to attack and the button used to make a 180-degree turn are positioned a little too closely to one another, so early on when you want to kick someone in the head, a player may accidentally expose their back to Mr. Angry SWAT Man.

The game’s puzzles are fun and challenging, though most of the challenge comes from the player over-thinking the situation and attempting  some overly complicated string of jumps for hours when there was a ladder 15 feet away.

There are times when the game becomes somewhat repetitive.  This can be seen a lot in the indoor sections.  Though, it can’t be certain if this was done by improper design or if the developers are trying to hit home the point that the city is an ultra clean and conformist paradise.  There are also some sections where the combat is kind of forced on you, and at these points some players may be forced to brave the horrible gun controls.

At these points, the game feels like a mediocre fps, but these sections are thankfully far and few between. Trying to place “Mirror’s Edge” in a category is problematic. Really it just boils down to what the player wants it to be.  Some players will love the time trial mode, where they are free to explore the level and find the fastest route through it.  This makes it more of a free running simulator than an action game.  Others will enjoy the story mode, where they run and jump through the same level but with people shooting at them, which makes more of an action game.

The game itself looks absolutely gorgeous.  The way it uses color to express the ultra clean and sterile futuristic city is phenomenal.  The quality of the animated cut scenes, however, vary. Some look just as nice as the actual game while others seem to be of lower quality.  The actual storyline is high quality, though the game obviously sets up for a sequel so it leaves some points frustratingly unexplored.  Overall this game is worth a buy; it isn’t perfect but it is a new concept that can really be worked into something grand.

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