Mirror’s Edge. A little thing done by the guys at DICE, who though to themselves how to revolutionize realism. They came up with a brilliant idea, a first-person shooter! But then they realized 300 other people had thought of the same thing at the exactly the same time, so what did they do? Firstly, they added a hot Asian chick and secondly they added a nausea factor while loosening up the shooting aspect. Mirror’s Edge was never intended as a full title, in fact, some little info bites point to the game being a tech demo before EA snapped it up.
Mirror’s Edge tells the tale of Faith, some sort of hot Asian chick who somehow has her sister captured by the police. She does the normal thing to do and goes on a quest to unravel a conspiracy while killing people. Actually, it’s a lot deeper than that and the game actually echoes some attitudes towards surveillance and security. Mirror’s Edge is set in a futuristic utopia which is all pristine and shiny, but everything is watched and monitored. It uncannily resembles something similar to ‘1984’ (book by George Orwell) and it is all told in the worst way possible.
Instead of set-pieces with dramatic dialogue being breathed down your virtual earpiece, or a thrilling cut-scene detailing the events, you’re treated to a flash animation. All that basically happens is a stiff-like Faith walks around a room while another character babbles on about stuff for around four minutes. Instead of some sort of artsy fartsy style, it’s all a stiffed lined anime-like animation which doesn’t fit the main game at all. In a way it even goes against the game’s vision and takes you straight out of the free-running wonderland and into a flash movie starring some hot Asian chick and Mr. Poor Characterization.
That being said, there is some wonderful things to be seen in Mirror’s Edge. The game is actually a pretty arty game and you even need some of this art to progress through the game. The skyline and backdrop just beckons out and pleases the eyes, the full Utopian pristine city calls out to you like free lemonade. In fact, it’s a lot like having one of those things called a window. It’s this new fangled invention which let’s you look outside. Outside! Who would want to even go there! Anyway, to say the least, Mirror’s Edge is a good looking game. But looks count for nothing, unless you’re a supermodel.
Mirror’s Edge is a good game, and it never falls on it’s feet (unless you end up doing it). You jump around and kick people in the face, nick their guns and then punch more people in their faces. You run on city rooftops, skylines, the underground, a skyscraper and down a skyscraper; it’s all lovely stuff. What serves as a guide is the red stuff, it’s either a red line or arrow to point you to your next direction, but it could even be a red box or red teddy or red chocolate box. This little subtle guide works extremely well and it’s nice to see a change from the old-fashioned ‘pointing arrow’ at the top of the HUD.
One complaint I do have is the enemies. They’ll either stand their waiting for you to kick them in the face or shoot your ribs. On their own they’re about as deadly as a housefly, but when they group together they’re deadly. Another complaint I have to share is the fact that you will die, a lot. You’ll jump towards freedom and touch the edge of a ledge or even another rooftop, then fall down to massively epic fail. The game never lets up on the immersion so you’ll probably find yourself vomiting at some point too. Fun for all the family!
So what exactly is Mirror’s Edge? Is it a free-roaming adventure game with the occasional fault? Is it a first person shooter with the tendency to fall over stupidly or is it simply an ‘OKish’ game? The answer – it’s an experiment and for that we have to excuse it. It’s obvious DICE is seeing if this sort of gameplay works as the game is only 6 hours long, there’s no multiplayer either except from an addictive time trial mode. It’s kind of obvious that EA looked at what DICE was doing and said ‘Can you make this into a actual game?’, I’m pretty sure none of the main setting, characters or story was even thought of before EA came along.
But I actually say, thank EA. Never said that before! But thank them for giving us a taster of what’s to come. If DICE just thought things over, lengthened the game, eased out a few of the faults and aimed for a setting which was perfect for the gameplay… they must just have a modern classic on their hands. What seems odd though is that the game is somewhat of a simulation, and without doing the motion, you’re likely to throw up. So basically, DICE can actually make one of the most innovative titles based around vomiting. Nice one.