Mirror's Edge Demo: I'm Kind Of Dizzy Now

After refreshing madly through the night, I finally got my fingers on the Mirror's Edge PS3 demo. 360 users can grab it today, and Wii users can imagine how cool it would be waving their hands in the air to simulate running and then swinging the Wiimote forward to grab on ledges, since that will likely be the only thing they'll get out of this release.

I've been balancing on the fence, trying to decide whether to go console or prefer the PC version, as I usually do with every FPS, sans Resistance (and probably Killzone 2 next year). After this, I can confidently say that I'm going console with this one, for a variety of reasons.

Flash animation worthy of Newgrounds
First among those is the general tone of Mirror's Edge's gameplay. This isn't so much a First-Person Shooter as a First-Person Scrambler. As with every trailer and video seen thus far, the actual fighting takes a secondary role to all the scuttling around you and your stylishly athletic friends do over the various rooftops and conveniently-placed obstacles. The controls and sensitivities reflect that, emphasizing movement over accuracy (though I had more than a few training deaths misjudging a jump or zip-line grab). Gun controls are rudimentary, and I wouldn't be surprised if the final product included some kind of Metal Gear Solid 4-esque trophy or achievement for getting through the game without ever firing a shot or killing a dude. I'd even go as far to say that I'd find Mirror's Edge much less fun if I played it with my standard PC FPS-style WASD movement keys.

The game's unstated goal, and perhaps its greatest appeal, lies in trying as much as possible to maintain a good line, never losing momentum, mastering the course, all the while imagining how cool you (or rather, Faith) would look were you running an action sequence in a movie. If you think of it a certain way, Mirror's Edge is a Stuntman game set on-foot.

No, I'm serious. The red-highlighted objects that mark your course are unvoiced versions of the director's cues, you're awarded greater points (or in this case satisfaction) for pulling off particularly complex or exciting maneuvers, beyond what's required to complete a stage. Most games are about getting to the end and enjoying what's along the way. Stuntman and Mirror's Edge are about getting to the end, and doing again, this time perfectly. On the flip-side, I hope that Mirror's Edge won't demand as much trial-and-error as Stuntman does. Also, I hope Mirror's Edge comes with an instant-replay function. That would be amazing.

A city as designed by Apple. Needs more smug Justin Long.
My only real gripe is that you can't customize the controls. I'd have preferred it if the jump and crouch buttons were on opposite sides of the controller, rather than concentrated on the left (or right, if you use the southpaw configuration).

It would also be better if there were more visual clues as to when and where you can use your Reaction ability (essentially bullet time). I could never tell when I actually had some ready aside from a faint blue flash at the edge of the screen, which isn't enough to notice when you're actually trying to evade capture. I also imagine that frustration would set in when trying to use the more complicated disarm-subdue maneuvers, such as "wall-running" a guard to do a 360-degree throw.

Now excuse me while I try to decide if I want that Timbuk2 bag package on the EA store. Does anyone know if it's a laptop bag or just a regular messenger bag? If the latter I'll save my extra money to actually buy the laptop I intended to store in the aforementioned bag, and settle for the (likely low-quality) "Runner Bag" that comes with a GameStop preorder (pictured below). I'm hoping it won't break as quickly as that Grand Theft Auto IV bag.
2 Comments
3 Comments
Posted by unangbangkay

After refreshing madly through the night, I finally got my fingers on the Mirror's Edge PS3 demo. 360 users can grab it today, and Wii users can imagine how cool it would be waving their hands in the air to simulate running and then swinging the Wiimote forward to grab on ledges, since that will likely be the only thing they'll get out of this release.

I've been balancing on the fence, trying to decide whether to go console or prefer the PC version, as I usually do with every FPS, sans Resistance (and probably Killzone 2 next year). After this, I can confidently say that I'm going console with this one, for a variety of reasons.

Flash animation worthy of Newgrounds
First among those is the general tone of Mirror's Edge's gameplay. This isn't so much a First-Person Shooter as a First-Person Scrambler. As with every trailer and video seen thus far, the actual fighting takes a secondary role to all the scuttling around you and your stylishly athletic friends do over the various rooftops and conveniently-placed obstacles. The controls and sensitivities reflect that, emphasizing movement over accuracy (though I had more than a few training deaths misjudging a jump or zip-line grab). Gun controls are rudimentary, and I wouldn't be surprised if the final product included some kind of Metal Gear Solid 4-esque trophy or achievement for getting through the game without ever firing a shot or killing a dude. I'd even go as far to say that I'd find Mirror's Edge much less fun if I played it with my standard PC FPS-style WASD movement keys.

The game's unstated goal, and perhaps its greatest appeal, lies in trying as much as possible to maintain a good line, never losing momentum, mastering the course, all the while imagining how cool you (or rather, Faith) would look were you running an action sequence in a movie. If you think of it a certain way, Mirror's Edge is a Stuntman game set on-foot.

No, I'm serious. The red-highlighted objects that mark your course are unvoiced versions of the director's cues, you're awarded greater points (or in this case satisfaction) for pulling off particularly complex or exciting maneuvers, beyond what's required to complete a stage. Most games are about getting to the end and enjoying what's along the way. Stuntman and Mirror's Edge are about getting to the end, and doing again, this time perfectly. On the flip-side, I hope that Mirror's Edge won't demand as much trial-and-error as Stuntman does. Also, I hope Mirror's Edge comes with an instant-replay function. That would be amazing.

A city as designed by Apple. Needs more smug Justin Long.
My only real gripe is that you can't customize the controls. I'd have preferred it if the jump and crouch buttons were on opposite sides of the controller, rather than concentrated on the left (or right, if you use the southpaw configuration).

It would also be better if there were more visual clues as to when and where you can use your Reaction ability (essentially bullet time). I could never tell when I actually had some ready aside from a faint blue flash at the edge of the screen, which isn't enough to notice when you're actually trying to evade capture. I also imagine that frustration would set in when trying to use the more complicated disarm-subdue maneuvers, such as "wall-running" a guard to do a 360-degree throw.

Now excuse me while I try to decide if I want that Timbuk2 bag package on the EA store. Does anyone know if it's a laptop bag or just a regular messenger bag? If the latter I'll save my extra money to actually buy the laptop I intended to store in the aforementioned bag, and settle for the (likely low-quality) "Runner Bag" that comes with a GameStop preorder (pictured below). I'm hoping it won't break as quickly as that Grand Theft Auto IV bag.
Edited by Absurd

Well written, I'm going to go ahead and guess It will be a mediocre game with a cool concept which makes it seem much better

Posted by hazelnutman

Well written. I'm still downloading the demo, and hope that the controls aren't all a jumbled mess.