2008 Reviews

Mirror's Edge

  • Review Date: 2013-10
  • Release Date: 2008-11
  • Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE
  • Rating: 7.0

Having just grappled and swung my through Bionic Commando, I thought it appropriate to give Mirror's Edge a turn. A fellow fast paced action game played at great heights. But they do differ greatly. While Bionic Commando is all about action, Mirror's Edge is all about thinking you're way through, intense sprints away from the enemy and, frankly, trial and error frustration.

There isn't a lot of frustration and in most cases your checkpoint is close by. There were only a few times where I felt like I was having to replay too much to get to that 'difficult' jump I keep screwing up. But there was some cursing, and more retries in Mirror's Edge than any other game I've ever played. There were a few times where I must have had to re-attempt the situation ten times over. Most of the time it's due to the combat and being gunned down before I can get away or disarm the enemy.

That is Mirror's Edges' biggest weakness; the combat. I guess they wanted it to be difficult, more like survival horror. I was well over halfway into the game before I realised you can pick up an enemies weapon (my own brain fade is to blame there) so 90% of the battles were just me running like hell. When I finally did start killing some enemies and shooting back it was at a point where the enemies were quite difficult. They'd take several hits (but only 1-2 hits to kill you) and if there were more than one in your line of sight, you're fucked.

But fortunately you don't need to kill them, the game is in fact designed so that you CAN just run the whole thing, apart from a mini-boss fight. It's a good thing, because melee is not well done. Trying to disarm an enemy I think I did all of about once, despite trying it many times.

What it does succeed at is building a great intensity as you're sprinting across rooftops on the verge of being shot down. Later on in the game you even go against other runners who are just as quick - very intense!

Mirror's Edge takes some practise to get to learn the vulnerabilities of Miss Jumpy and what she can and can't do. Which begs for the sequel that IS in development! The jumps themselves weren't too difficult, which would be easy for the developer to have done. But sometimes it feels like you're able to make an impossible looking jump while much simpler ones can't be done.

The art and design of Mirror's Edge takes a completely different direction to most games, which I'm very happy about. Not often enough does a developer show a little artistic talent, instead opting for realism, as beautiful as that may be. Mirror's Edge is minimal in design and places a lot of emphasis on it's colour schemes, almost slightly abstract in style. The world looks fantastically creative. Even the menu screen showing a cityscape is bravely rendered with no textures.

The story tells of your character trying to get her sister off from being framed for murder. I didn't really find the story that interesting at all. [spoiler] Your blonde female fellow runner turning out to be a baddie was completely predictable.

It's supposed to be a trilogy so perhaps it'll get better. The cutscenes are done through stylish animated sequences (I don't know why more developers don't do animated cutscenes). Unfortunately, coming from someone who watches a lot of anime, I couldn't help but feel they were a bit crudely drawn, and could have been much more stylish.

I did have a lot of crashes in an earlier level where I couldn't play for more than a couple minutes, but an update to the Nvidia display drivers fixed that. The Mirror's Edge DVD may have installed it's own crappy 2009 versions that failed.

Mirror's Edge is a good game. I look forward to the sequel. But it's not something I'd want in every game, it's just something a bit different that makes a nice change from the constant action shooters. It's high point is the design and running high above sky scrapers. Low point; combat.