A Refreshing Change
Mirror's Edge takes you inside the world of a dystopian city where parkour running on skyscrapers is the thrust of the resistance movement. You play Faith, one of these runners who comes involved with a murder that her sister Kate is framed of committing. The majority of the game involves you running towards those with information and then away from the police and other figures of authority.
StyleThis game absolutely drips with style in a way that will make you breathe a sigh of relief against the otherwise dark and gritty games of the generation. The vibrant and simplistiic color design is not only an interesting look at a dystopia of clenliness, but is also an integral part of the gameplay. With Runner's Vision, Faith can see interactive objects by their red color, such as pipes and ladders to climb or pads to land on. The fluidity of the character movements is also a necessary and successful feature of the game. The cutscenes are done in the E-surance style, but it works nicely. By far, the style of this game is its biggest asset.
GameplayThe mechanics of the game are simple enough. One button does up-things like jump, climb. Another does the down business such as slide, drop down, roll. The parkour factor of this game works wonderfully, as when you accomplish the right timing on moves, Faith makes her moves perfectly. This is unfortunately not always the case during your first play through as it can be easy to be confused as to what your next move is. The Runner's Vision as well as the ability to press a button so that Faith looks in the general direction of her next destination help with this issue, but many times you simply won't see a building under you that can be jumped to or a switch needed to continue on. My biggest gripe with the game was its forced battles with cops in various instances. If this is to be a running game, why force fights? The first few missions did a good job in putting ample police force without throwing you in any required fights. But by the end, you almost have to take out whole rooms of guys if you don't want a quick death, resulting in multiple play throughs. There are also some jumps where you will simply miss numerous times due to bad timing which can be increasingly frustrating. But the joy of being able to run around unfettered is a great feeling in the game.
My gripes with the game are somewhat small. There are pockets of frustration, but the rest of the game felt so good that it made of for these mostly. Music was almost entirely absent from the experience, which is disappointing only in retrospect. It would have been nice for Faith to put her Zune earbuds in and speed across the skyline while listening to some high energy music. The game certainly has a lot of potential it lived up to, and hopefully with any future installments in the franchise, some of the small issues that remain can be easily sorted out and bring together an even greater game.