Mirror’s Edge Review
by Gotakibono


Basic Information:
Developer: DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Date of Release: November 11th 2008
Trophies: 1 4 10 36
Mirror's Edge Forums / Mirror's Edge Trophy Guide


Overview
Mirror’s Edge is quite an innovation and a rare glimpse of originality in a market of mindless sequels and shooters. This is essentially a first-person platformer which encourages the player to run instead of fight, a concept that may be alien to some gamers. The story revolves around a girl by the name of Faith, who lives in a world where information is strictly guarded in a totalitarian metropolis and must be transported from place to place by athletic folk called ‘runners.’ Sounds interesting right? Let's see if it's any good though...

Gameplay
Mirror's Edge is a very unqiue game from the word go. The first-person perspective is quite confusing at first but you soon find yourself doing crazy jumps across the rooftops. The controls are very responsive and crisp and the game flows well as you make your way through the levels. You will confront armed enemies throughout the game and there is a counter and attack system in place, which more often than not works perfectly when in a tight spot. This is a game that rewards practice and patience and if you put the time into the game, you will notice yourself stringing together some ridiculously fluid moves. Runner vision is how you navigate the world, this basically means that objects are coloured red which indicates where you need to go. It works well and keeps the screen uncluttered.


If you can't run fast enough, Faith is more than capable of fending off some bad guys. Enemies' guns
can also be used against them, but they don't come with much ammo.


There are some annoying moments when you'll find yourself jumping too far and falling off a building but these don't ruin the overall experience. Level design is good and areas have a nice layout in which your running is rarely disturbed. All in all it's a great experience and most importantly fun to run around in the shoes of Faith.

Singleplayer
The singleplayer mode in Mirror's Edge is a mixed-bag really. There are some memorable levels and moments but for the most part, it is pretty weak. The weakest part of this game is its story, or its lack of one. The protagonist is Faith and I must say she's pretty cool. However, the problem which arises is simply I didn't really learn anything about her and this in turn made her feel slighty bland and uninteresting as a character. There isn't really any surprises throughout the course of the game's plot and the supporting cast and villians are also not explored. The idea of a totalitarian metropolis where information is strictly guarded is a very good one. Unfortunatly, weak characters and lack of cohension in the plot ruin it. Cut-scenes are a change of pace from the first-person action. They are cel-shaded in style and while they look very nice, I feel that they are seriously out of place with the rest of the game. Again, this only makes the plot feel even more disjointed.

The story mode is also pretty short, around 7+ hours if you're average at the game. There's the usual collectibles on offer here, with 30 runner bags located throughout the game. The hardest difficulty is a decent challenge for any gamer and I found the game to be more enjoyable when I had no option but to run.


In the Time Trials and Speedruns you are able to follow other players' ghosts. You can learn
new paths to improve your own times but still, I feel a lack of a multiplayer mode was a
missed opportunity.


The real bones of the game are the Speedruns and Time Trials. These are obviously time-based challenges that really put your running skills to the test. Speedruns involve you running through chapters of the story in under a certain time, which is easier said than done with some chapters. Time Trials take place over smaller areas and work much the same way as the Speedruns, although you earn stars for your troubles. For example you can earn up to three stars on a track, the longer you take then the less stars you'll earn. I found these challenges equally entertaining and frustrating, as a single mistake will often cause you your three-star rating or Speedrun completion. Mirror's Edge running mechanics are at their best here.

Multiplayer
Any kind of multiplayer is sadly absent from Mirror's Edge, which I find quite bemusing. Surely being able to race against your friends or other people online would've been a fantastic addition to the game? Well, I guess the developers didn't think so and the only online feature implemented was the ability to follow other players' ghosts while playing through Speedruns and Time Trials. There is also a leaderboard in place which showcases the quickest runners and times on every track. But in all fairness, this was a massive opportunity missed by DICE and if there is a sequel in the future, I expect them to rectify the lack of online multiplayer modes.

Technical
This is without a doubt the strongest aspect of Mirror's Edge. There is much to admire in the developer's decision to use very vibrant colours in the design of the game world. Bright yellows, sunny oranges and cool blues are all used in favour of more traditional colours in other games, ie. brown. This creates a visual feast for the eyes and perfectly suits the style of the game. Faith's animations are top-notch and you can really feel every jump and harsh landing. Also, the screen blurs as you gain speed and Faith's breathing rate increases as you run for your life. All these come together to create a brilliantly immersive experience.


Mirror's Edge uses vibrant colours to create a very unqiue world and makes a welcome visual
change from other games. Runner vision also helps you find paths around the city.


However, I must say the soundtrack to Mirror's Edge is absolutely amazing. It is packed with many great tunes that set the atmosphere for the game. It is honestly one of my favourite soundtracks from a game, so it's a shame that the game lets itself down in other areas because there is a solid technical base from which they could've made a fantastic game.


Gameplay: 7/10 Good
First-person perspective is brilliant and controls are great but a few niggling flaws hold it back. Still great fun and a very different gaming experience.

Singleplayer: 7/10 Good
Some great moments but the story is hugely forgettable and relies too often on "Escape from" scenarios. Faith is a cool character but is wasted with a weak story.

Multiplayer: N/A
Should've been included and is strange how DICE didn't realise how great it could have been. Maybe in the sequel?

Technical: 8/10 Superb
Great soundtrack and design. Strongest point of the game.

Overall: 7.5/10 Good

For me, Mirror's Edge is a case of what it could be more than what it is. On one hand, it's perhaps the most unique gaming experience that's on the PS3 at the moment. On the other hand, it has a few major flaws that hold it back from being something truly special. But in saying that it is still a very good game that I recommend you play at some stage. I hope that a sequel will surface in the future that will fulfill this game's massive potential.