Product Type: Electronic Arts Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... to guide you the way. Red doors can be burst through to enter the buildings themselves, and each interior feels different due to... more
''There's no looking back''
Mirror's Edge (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Stunt 101
Mirror's Edge (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Unique, brilliant art style, terrific sound, fantastic speed, thrilling.
Disadvantages: Mediocre combat, ends too quickly, weak last level, some trial-and-error.
If you thought the future that Frontlines: Fuel of War showed was bad, wait until you get a load of the city Mirror's Edge depicts. It seems that corporate control is superior here, with bigger crackdown on crimes, security cameras and lots of other precautions which make life a little bit safer. Most people accepted that life would be more claustrophobic but some took a stand, with riots and other issues caused. These events tie into Faith, a runner. Runners in this city are people who jump from rooftop to rooftop as they deliver vital information undetected. Faith is a pretty decent runner, who gets caught up into some trouble when her sister is framed for the murder of a big politician. Now, it's up to Faith to discover the truth of this crime. The story is pretty decent, as there's enough here to keep you going, but there isn't much too truly engage you. There was a twist in the game which I managed to guess minutes before with no help, and my guess was accurate. However, Mirror's Edge packs a decent story.
Mirror's Edge has a simple control scheme. All the jumping and free-running moves are mapped to the buttons on the left-top of the controller. The left trigger is used for jumping, crouching and moves like sliding and rolling. The left bumper lets you jump, wall run and vault. The other side of the top of the controller is used for spinning into the other direction and melee attacks. The face buttons are used for interactions, guiding you, picking up/disarming/dropping weapons and slowing down time. Most will argue that the third-person camera IS the camera for platforming games, but here it works better than most. It's all very smooth, and while it takes some getting used to, DICE have done an excellent job with the control scheme.
Mirror's Edge's level design is quite simple. The game is split into 9 main chapters with a prologue at the beginning. There is also a training level, but it can be skipped if you downloaded the demo from Xbox Live and know your stuff. Each level has an objective, whether it be infiltrated the office of a big bodyguard, travel through the sewers to avoid the fuzz and more. It's linear in terms of story and game completion, though there are some alternate, if not obvious, paths to lead you to the final outcome. In each level, you can find three bags which, as far as I'm aware of, don't unlock anything and are merely collectables to unlock achievements. Once you've completed one level, you move onto the next like most games these days. It's a straight forward design, and sadly does mean some of the free running freedom is limited.
Don't let this put you off though-Mirror's Edge is one of the most unique games this year. ME is basically a platforming game in the first-person view. While games like Call of Juarez have used the first-person view for platforming for variety in games, and usually in a shoddy manner, there are two things that set ME apart. One, the game is completely focused on first-person platforming, which probably helped that the second different thing about ME's platforming is that it actually is good. Usually the third-person view means that you can see all the jumps and ledges needed to jump past. To fix this, DICE have made it so that you are mostly going forwards, meaning the next jump is probably right ahead of you. It's also useful that you can hold down the B button and usually the direction of which you're supposed to be going is shown.
ME is all about speed and keeping a flow of quick moves together to create a fast paced game. As Faith starts to run, she can then link moves like sliding under pipes, jumping over huge gaps and climbing over objects. It is awesome to keep a fast chain of moves together throughout the whole level, as the sense of speed is incredible and the rush of the immersive first-person view will send chills down your spine. This isn't always easy however. To get the most out of ME you require one personal skill-patience. The game is quite a stiff challenge, merely because it can be almost too easy to die. Sometimes, frustration creeps up to you as you make a large jump, only to find you missed the ledge by a few inches, which leads to you plummeting to your death. Thankfully, the game usually lets you carry on quite close to where you died. If not, you can correct the mistake the next time around. The game can try your patience at times unfortunately.
Where ME fails to make a landing on is the gun play. It's shocking, considering DICE created top-tier shooter Battlefield: Bad Company, but unfortunately it's one of the weakest aspects here. As you play through the game you can stunted by armed police men, SWAT members and more. You aren't equipped with a weapon, meaning you need to disarm a police officer of their weapon if you want to get into combat. You must run up to an enemy and either pummel them to death or disarm them with a push of a button. It's hard to nail the timing of this, unless you cheat and use the slow-mo feature and disarm them.
You can then use the weak, uncomfortable weapons and kill the rest of the dudes. It's clunky, but more seriously, out of place entirely. Thankfully, gunplay is mostly optional and brief...at least until the last level. Rather than sticking to what made the game awesome, the last level of the game forces you into combat about 90% of the time, where you have to confront hordes of the armed SWAT teams. Not only does it focus on combat way too much, but the level is also really, really boring. It's a shame, as it was a poor way to end the game. There are a couple of other elements which really chop up the pace, like the mediocre jumping puzzles that take far too long to complete, or when you stand inside a elevator, only to wait for 30 seconds while the game plays a elevator announcement and lets you read a notice board on the side. This can really dampen the appeal of the gameplay.
Once you have completed that campaign, the game then lets you play through a selection of time trials and speed runs. To unlock time trials, you must play through the single player and playing through some of the time trial levels. Time Trials are levels in the game which divert you into different directions to create new paths. The game allows much more free-running freedom here, allowing you to make your own path in the quickest time possible. The speed runs are the single player levels but this time you must complete them in a time limit. Both of the time trial modes are tough if you are inexperienced at this game, yet once you've mastered Mirror's Edge, these can be great fun. It's mostly for the obsessive though, as you must know the levels inside and out to get a decent time on them.
Mirror's Edge has a very pleasing art style. Rather than going for realism with dank colours, the game has a colourful palette with sharp reds, blues, greens and whites. It's a very bright and stylish art direction that, while it might not be like by all, is very unique. It's because the bright colours of red, blue and other primary colours look eye catching when compared to the straight edges and bleak white buildings and locations. It's all very eye catching. There are some minor technical issues in the form of texture pop-in, rough textures and minor jagged edges, which hurt the game's beautiful style, but the overall look is brilliant. There is also beautiful animation for when Faith does her free running thing, as climbing, combat and special move animations are excellent, the character models look good and the frame rate never chops up.
The highest amount of praise is deserved for the sound. The sound effects for Faith are excellent. The ambient heavy breathing for Faith as you run around the game, as well as the sounds of footsteps changing as you change surfaces, are subtle but noticeable. The voice acting is impressive with decent dialogue, if it's a bit cheesy at times. The brilliant score is pulsating and forceful when necessary, yet also silent and subtle at the other times when necessary. Where the sound really succeeds is when all the elements come together. The pulsating soundtrack, mixed with the heavy breathing of Faith as she runs along the metal grating. It's a true joy to the ear.
-(The Replay Value)-
The saddest thing about Mirror's Edge is that it's sadistically short. I'll be honest with you, the weekend I got Mirror's Edge I managed to complete the game twice. Once on Saturday on my first play through, and another to find all the bags. That's how short this game is. An accurate time space of completion is about six hours. It's just really brief. However, don't think the game is not worth buying because of the length. There is some value in the form of time trials and speed-runs for the story chapters. These require multiple replays to get it right, so they are great value. The achievements are okay, if a bit standard. You get the achievements for completing the game, finishing it on the hardest difficulty and finding all the collectable bags. However, there are some interesting achievements like completing the level without getting shot or landing heavily, performing special move combos and trigging a special move onto an enemy before dying.
Mirror's Edge is a thrilling, exciting, engaging and unique game that constantly entertains the player with high speed thrills. It's a unique game with its first-person platforming gameplay, and despite the usually cumbersome view for this type of game, Mirror's Edge is a smooth experience. It's also a vivid experience with a unique art design that gleams bright colours, smooth edges and dripping style. The sound is also fantastic with brilliant music, excellent effects and quality voice work. The last level is a bit meh, thanks to a heavy emphasis on mediocre combat, but for a lot of the game the combat is optional and brief. It's a brilliant experience that, sadly, ends quickly. A good seven hours later and the credits are rolling, which is a shame. However, this is one experience that everyone with time, patience and a soul should jump into.
-(The Extra Info)-
This was published by EA and developed by DICE.
This was released on November 14th, 2008 and is also on PS3, PC version coming soon.
This is rated 16+ for violence.
This is available from Game.co.uk for £39.99
Summary: Jump in; this is a brilliant, if brief, experience.