Mirror's Edge - 360 - Review
When you think of a first-person shooter, you usually have a certain concept in mind. More often than not, the idea includes a fixed view of running down paths and corridors with a gun in hand and hordes of enemies blocking your way. This has worked out for years now, but now EA and Battlefield developer DICE are looking to change up the formula with their latest new IP, Mirror’s Edge.
Mirror’s Edge is a game that owes more to platformers like Prince of Persia or Assassin’s Creed than it does its FPS brethren, as the title features an emphasis on free running, or parkour, as opposed to shootouts with enemies. You’ll perform moves like wall runs and jumps, leaps from rooftop to rooftop, and a variety of other moves in order to get the drop on your foes. While the game is not perfect and suffers from a few design flaws and shortcomings, the game is a great first installment for what hopefully will become a franchise, as well as a pretty revolutionary entry to the FPS genre.
Mirror’s Edge puts you in control of Faith, a “runner” in a totalitarian society where the powers that be control information and communication. As a runner, Faith’s main job is to carry parcels of information from place to place, utilizing some pretty acrobatic moves in order to escape the police or get to her destination quickly. However, when a prominent politician gets assassinated and her sister (a police officer) is implemented in his death, things get personal and Faith must discover who is behind the conspiracy.
Mirror’s Edge deals primarily with getting around as fast as you can. Most of the levels will have you getting from one spot to another, and then becoming a pursuit scene where you must run from the cops. The controls are pretty easy to grasp, as you’ll primarily use the trigger and bumper buttons to jump, crouch, fight, and turn 180 degrees on a dime. The game is pretty intuitive as to what Faith will do at specific times, performing a wall run or grabbing onto certain items like pipes when she jumps at them and so on when the situation requires it.
The game features three distinct difficulty modes. Both the easy and medium difficulties will give the player hints in red as to where they need to go or what environmental items they need to use in order to move forward, with the medium difficulty ramping up the number of cops you’ll have to avoid. The hardest difficulty not only keeps the number of cops from the medium mode, but removes all of the red hints, requiring you to be a bit creative in order to proceed through the game’s platforming puzzles.
Aside from the main story, you can try your hand at time trials, where you try to get from one location to another in the fastest way possible. You’re graded on how fast you complete the time trail, and can gain Achievements for getting certain scores.
While the concept of the game is sound and actually executed very well, there are a few shortcomings. For starters, combat is pretty underwhelming. You can perform some pretty interesting moves like slide kick, chest stomps, but when it comes to hand-to-hand melee combat, it feels pretty unintuitive. The game also does a weird thing when you get too close to an enemy by auto-aiming on them and centering your crosshairs on them. This can be frustrating when you’re trying to run through a corridor full of enemies, as you’ll sometimes inadvertently center on an enemy who’s trying to shoot you down instead of blowing past them like you wanted to.
Another issue in the game that’s disheartening is the linear feel. While you have some freedom in terms of how you get to certain areas and have a few different options for solving the game’s platforming puzzles the whole affair would benefit from a more open feel that would take better advantage of the large world.
Graphically, Mirror’s Edge looks great, with a very stylized aesthetic and color scheme. Aside from the red objects that stick out as areas of interest, there are several solid colored areas and items throughout the game. The sterilized environments are mostly stark white, lending itself well to the dystopian theme of the game’s storyline.
The sound is also nicely done, as the voice work is pretty solid and the trance-inspired soundtrack works very well within the game’s theme.
Mirror’s Edge has a few shortcomings, but its revolutionary gameplay and contributions to the genre as a whole cannot be denied. Check it out if you’re a shooter fan looking for something that breaks the mold.
Review Scoring Details for Mirror’s Edge
The game’s free-running mechanic is intuitive and feels natural, offering a nice change of pace from other titles in the genre. However, the game’s story mode feels a bit too linear and combat is underwhelming.
The game’s aesthetic is very stylized, with a solid color scheme and some fine character model details. The large environments look great.
The trance music score lends itself well to the game’s theme, and the voice acting is pretty well done.
The game’s storyline is great and helps pull you in to the game, and the new gameplay elements are a very different and well-executed take on the shooter genre.
Mirror’s Edge is a great take on the shooter genre, introducing some revolutionary new elements to the genre and carries them out very well. While there are a few stumbles, the game is generally a very solid and innovative entry to the genre.