Mirror's Edge is unique, but falls short
In Mirrors Edge you play as Faith. You are a runner for a group of people who deliver information from one underground group to another. The reason for their presence is because the city you are playing in is slowly becoming a police state. This is the only back-story you get from the game because all that has nothing to do with the actual story and more of a reason to say why your character is able to do all these death defying acts of acrobatics. The real story is that your sister has been framed for a murder of a high ranking and publicized politician. So obviously you go to great lengths from fighting to police force and uncovering secrets of the city to clear your sister’s name.
While you have the occasional in game cut scenes for telling you where to go next and also to progress the story forward, in between chapters you have some animated cut scenes. These cut scenes are not that great to look at. The jokes that have been going around is that it looks like those Esurance commercials. But once you see it for yourself you realize that those jokes are spot on. They go a good job of linking the chapters together but they could have made a better decision or at least redraw it to make the cut scenes more visually appealing.
The game play is that you are going to play Mirrors Edge for. It is very unique in that it is a first person platformer. This is what is really great about Mirrors Edge. When you are running through the city and high speeds, jumping over and sliding under obstacles, this is when Mirrors Edge really shines as a great game. But unfortunately there are not as much of those moments as you would like. A lot of the game has you shimmying up and down polls, which is ok when you are just getting from point A to B, but not when you are getting shot at and hoping not to die before you get to the top. Sometimes you can get easily lost in the world but there is a great feature where with the press of a button Faith will look in the direction you have to go. This should relieve some frustrations with the level design since it is not obvious where to go next sometimes.
Another part of Mirrors Edge that is not fun is the actual confrontations with the police. There are some cases where you are forced to defeat a certain number of cops to move on to the next area but these are the lowest points of the game. Fights mostly consist of you running in, dropkicking a guy then running away because they have guns and you don’t. Once you do get a gun it becomes considerably easier but it’s still not enjoyable. If you don’t run away prepare to die because Faith seems to be as frail as a piece of paper.
The visual fidelity of Mirrors Edge is great. From the rooftops, to the sewers, and water effects Mirrors Edge doesn’t disappoint of the graphics or level variety. One thing they do with the visuals is give you something called Runners Vision. This feature turns certain objects in the world red while you are looking at them which proves very useful while you are running at high speeds and trying to keep your momentum going.
After the story mode there are some cool extras. Since this is a free running game they have added speed run modes of the story and even some cool time trial courses. The speed run of the story is just you playing the game again one chapter at a time but you are now timed. The time trial mode has taken a certain segment of a level in the game and added checkpoints in it. You must hit these checkpoints in order to see the next one and having these and the story speed run linked to worldwide and friend leader boards makes these modes really addicting. There is also downloadable content for the time trial mode which brings super unique levels to the time trial mode in the vein of a Mc Esher picture or something, but more colourful. Also if you own a PS3 you will get a special map for free. If you are a fan of the running portion in the game and want to find ways to minimize times then these modes will keep you coming back for a while.
While Mirrors Edge seems amazing in theory and has some great features like time trial it seems that it is keeping itself from being great. If DICE ever decides to make a Mirrors Edge 2 I’m sure they could smooth out some of the rough patches, but the annoying battles with the police and sometimes confusing level design. Mirrors Edge is a game that you should check out because it’s so original but otherwise very mediocre game.