raptorm60's Mirror's Edge (Xbox 360) review

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Not a total letdown, but not a revolution either.

Mixed feelings, that's what I'm left with right now after the final chapter of Mirror's Edge. I had no big expectations for this DICE's youngest child, so honestly, it took me by surprise a few times (meant in a positive way), but on the other hand, it is a long, long time I had sworn about any game like I did about Mirror's Edge.

No doubts that ME has the most original concept of all the big games that came out in 2008, however it does not use all of the potential the concept has. The experience of free running is ultimate, every movement feels very realistic and smooth and there aren't any major issues with it whatsoever, but talking about the games story mode, it is actually very hard to get through it, as the game does not offer any bigger motivation to beat it to it's final.

Considering that there are lots of quite "tough" parts and that those usually need more then a few tries to pass (wich is generally more than five ... and yes, that's one of the subjects of my swearing mentioned above), I find the story mode as totally unrewarding. The idea of sidetracking the controlled and monitored society is a topic with wide range of storytelling possibilities, but ME struggles even with providing the basic plot, wich uses the worst cliches out there, so thinking about providing some kind of "message" to player probably did not even come over the developers minds.

Connected with the need for German-like precision in everything you do in the game, no matter if it's a simple jump to platform or a weapon disarm, the overall gaming experience might become very frustrating. Wich is a big shame, as it is full of interesting ideas (e.g. the weapon disarms or generally the neck-and-neck combat). Quite simply, the revolution didn't come, let's hope it will one day.

What saves the game from being a letdown for gaming masses are Time Trials and Speed Runs. ME is probably the first racing game ever to use only the game characters body to compete against others. And yes, I mean racing game. Really. Time trials are where the parkour side of the game shows itself at its best. Unlike in story mode, the motivation is top-notch - it's the good old time limit. Watching the red shadow in front of you running like a devil dog will make you push the jump button at the most right time and check the necessity of every step or jump you do.

Time trials also provide complete freedom in movement, it's up to the player wich route he or she considers as the best one, the limits are represented only by the checkpoints that you must pass in correct order. Time trials will easily make you forget about all flaws Mirror's Edge has, they (time trials, not the flaws :-) ) are purely enjoyable.

From the side of technology, graphics and music, ME does not offer anything special. Manga-like cutscenes are not the best solution, as the only Japaneese reference in the game is Faith's Japaneese look. Music adds a lot to the overall cold atmosphere, as well as the art style performed in combination of two bright colours (white+red/orange/green ... etc.). I did't like them both, but to be honest, this is a subject of preference, as both also suit the setting of the game very well.

All in all, Mirror's Edge is unforgetable gaming experience and even though the first try was not that sucessful, DICE managed to open a new direction in gaming. The question is wheter anyone else (or DICE and EA tehmselves) is up to take that direction again.

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