Wot I Think: Mirror’s Edge

By Alec Meer on January 20th, 2009 at 6:13 pm.

Here comes an awkward metaphor: Mirror’s Edge (the delayed PC version of which was finally released last week) is hiding in the closet. Unsurprisingly, this only makes life difficult for it. For every moment it pretends to be an FPS, it feels wrong, and to any onlooker it’s visibly uncomfortable in this assumed role. If only it would cast off this sham and reveal its true colours – well, then we’d have a game proud of itself. Mirror’s Edge is a racing game, but it doesn’t have the courage to admit it. Be proud, ME. Tell the world what you are, cry it from those rooftops you spend so much time gallivanting across: “I AM A RACING GAME!”

But it doesn’t, and it’s a coward for it. Certainly, it’s not the game we hoped it would be from those early shots of a vast, alabaster cityscape. For all the alluring Le Parkour theme, that white world of rooftops isn’t yours to explore. Instead, you have a course – a circuit you have to follow with relative exactitude. There’s some give and take and a few canny shortcuts, but really you’re always headed in one direction. While that makes for a broken dream or two, it’s not inherently a problem: this is, after all, supposed to be a game about movement, fluidity and speed rather than about exploration.

Except it’s not that, either. Or at least it’s not that in the mode everyone will gravitate to – the story mode. Story mode isn’t very good. More critically, the reliance on as overbearing a narrative as Mirror’s Edge is yoked to actively distracts from what the game does very well, which is the mechanics of fluid roof-running. With the constant carrot of new plot points dangled in front of you, whenever you miss a jump or make a lousy landing, you fail the game. The flow’s disrupted and you’re faced with the annoyance of repetition (for this uses a fairly inconsiderately-implemented checkpoint save system) if you want to progress. That’s close enough to the standard system for any FPS, of course, but it’s different here – because Mirror’s Edge is a racing game.

While we do, to some extent, play racing games to progress, largely we’re playing to test ourselves, to better our own records and achievements. If you played a racing game because you wanted to reach the next between-race cutscene, screwing up would be annoying – it means you have to tackle that race again. If, though, you’re racing to achieve a best time or a shiny medal, screwing up means you’ve failed yourself as opposed to the game. You try again because you want to do better, not because you have to.

That’s why Mirror’s Edge story mode fails. Death, usually by falling but sometimes by bullets in the face, comes often. Death systems, in other words, we’re accustomed to from action-orientated genres. Perhaps ME deserves accolades for attempting something of a genre fusion, but if it had discarded its fairly insipid efforts to be an action game its challenges would be thrilling challenges of its players own ability, not challenges laid by arbitrary setpieces. That the story is not an interesting one, hung around thinly-sketched characters and a weirdly unspecific dystopic tomorrow, is almost irrelevant. This isn’t a game that should have a story – or if it did, no more of one than a Tony Hawk or SSX game. Fantasy sporting challenges contained by only the loosest structure: that’s what Mirror’s Edge should be.

Instead, it makes exactly the mistakes we all predicted it would when we first heard about it. It’s restrictive, it doesn’t allow for much thinking on your feet, the combat feels out of place and grows in importance far too much, it hinges around Tomb Raider deaths and it lacks the variety you’d expect from a singleplayer FPS. Mistakes so obvious that it’s almost astounding they’re there. Storyline mode has one thing going for it: it’s very short. You’ll blow through it in a weekend, easy.

Yet, once all the storyline guff and the associated uncomfortable compromises are pushed aside, there’s something sparkling and beautiful hiding. Mirror’s Edge has a time trial mode, one that’s been overlooked in all the pre-release blather about tie-in comics and whether Faith’s hot or not. It’s easy to overlook it, especially if you’ve already sampled and been disheartened by the story mode – you’ll presume it’s just cheerless repetition of levels you’ve already died a few too many dozen times on. Don’t do that. Play the tutorial, then leave the Story alone and come back to the Time Trials. It’s where Mirror’s Edge has the confidence to be what it really is – a racing game, but with legs not wheels, hands not gears.

The courses are still prescribed and that means your attention still won’t stay with them for long, but by placing visible checkpoints scattered sequentially across those beautifully bare rooftops rather than claustrophobically ushering you from setpiece puzzle to setpiece puzzle, there’s more scope for shortcutting and for adapting to an error. You’re chasing a high score, both one set by the game and one set by unseen other players, and to achieve that you trial-and-error establish the best possible route you can devise. When you fail or fall short of your goal, it’s a drive to try again, to improve yourself, which that forlorn narrative mode just can’t muster. It’s doing something similar to The Club, but with a more appealing, logical key mechanic, and with far more character thanks to that stark, serene visual style.

Faith, you see, doesn’t matter a jot – sure, she’s a vaguely successful attempt to create an iconic character and thus launch a franchise, but the game’s real character is the city skyline. Forever giddying in its scale and beautiful in that signature sterile way, the reason for it being so and whatever tale is supposed to be gripping the streets below seems so irrelevant. It’s a fantasy obstacle course. For every second that Mirror’s Edge loses sight of that, it fails. When it’s just you, the rooftops and Faith’s slim repertoire of jumps, shimmies, slides and rolls, it’s something like the urban Tarzan game we all hoped Mirror’s Edge would be. Time Trial mode rewards practice and it rewards perseverance, and it’s the only reason to buy Mirror’s Edge.

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132 Comments »

  1. ulix says:

    I liked the story mode.
    While the story itself wasn’t very good I always got incredibly thrilled when I was chased by a bunch of guys with guns, something thats entirely missing from TimeTrial.
    Really not been that amped up in a game probably since Thief 2.

  2. CrashT says:

    The story mode isn’t great but I found the time trails boring. The times when Mirror’s Edge succeeds, when it feels like something special, something different are when you’re being chased. During these sections the paths through the levels are fairly obvious and you just need to keep moving. It’s only possible in a few levels and that’s a huge problem but when it does work it something very impressive.

    Without the chase, without that tension it’s meaningless and bland. Sure I could run around all day trying to beat my time but it never feels worth the effort. Shaving a second off here or there makes it feel too much like a game. The thrill of the chase that’s where it excels. Enemies behind you a playground of rooftops ahead of you… RUN.

  3. Stuk says:

    I’ve been following this since I first saw and heard it (the music in the trailer really blew me away. Is this followed up in the game?), so I was disappointed to see the mediocre reviews. This verdict gives me hope, so I’ll still be picking it up (although not at the current £27ish).

    I assume “[scores] set by unseen other players” means online leader boards?

  4. Joe says:

    I’m with ulix, and actually put Mirror’s Edge on my to 5 list. THe story itself is nothing special, but it’s not awful either, and the pressure of being chased, broken with platforming puzzles makes this game both special, and certainly not a failure.

  5. Mman says:

    While I loved it from the start (such that it’s the first game in a while I’ve been completely addicted to), I have to support any review that puts emphasis on the post-game content as the initial playthrough IS where the vast majority of the non-player intiated frustration is located, and the real game starts when you look back over everything for the fastest routes and techniques (as well as realising how all but a few fights can be skipped pretty easily).

    I find myself focusing more on the speedruns than time trials though, probably because god-like players have already dominated the time trails, while there are still plenty of shortcuts and other stuff to unearth in the levels and still chances to get a world record even without perfection.

  6. AndrewC says:

    I found real joy in shaving off a couple of seconds off my time trial times, which is a sure sign of a racing game.

    The story missions become fun to time trial too as, once you know how to do them, all the frustrations just disappear.

    Which is why I hope to crap the DLC missions come to the PC, as those levels’ abstract geometric shapes suggest getting rid of the story and focusing on the time trials.

  7. Meat Circus says:

    Possibly the most hatefully frustrating gaming experience of last year. Such a deep disappointment…

  8. Pags says:

    I’m with Meat; I found nothing but disappointment and broken dreams. I’m not big on racing games either, so the Time Trial mode did little to assuage my feelings of hurt. Mirror’s Edge made me a sad, sad panda.

  9. Tei says:

    Wooot!.

    Some people think the PC is the trash bin, where dump his console games. Another PC port!.. Oh man, how I hate these!.

    Here is a “Pitfall II” screenshot.
    http://www.defacto.lv/naudina/game/pitfall.gif
    Is a 8 bits game, and is like 40 KB long, has gameplay for like 30 weeks, maybe more. I don’t know. Most people has never finished it.

    But I digress… Pitfall have no weapons. All he do is jump. He can’t even kill stuff jumpin on the head (mario style).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitfall!

    “I sat down with a blank sheet of paper and drew a stick figure in the center. I said, “Okay, I have a little running man and let’s put him on a path [two more lines drawn on the paper]. Where is the path? Let’s put it in a jungle [draw some trees]. Why is he running [draw treasures to collect, enemies to avoid, etc.]?” And Pitfall! was born. This entire process took about ten minutes. About 1,000 hours of programming later, the game was complete.”

  10. schizoslayer says:

    WRONG! The Story mode is excellent with a few low points where the difficulty spikes considerably (Which is apparently mostly unique to the PC version with the Xbox Version apparently being too easy).

    The Disarms are terrible not because of a bad concept but because of some glaring bugs. Press Disarm when the weapon turns red. Except in most of the animations for the SWAT guys the weapon turns red at the end of the animation after you have been beaten around the head. As you don’t carry a gun around all the time this makes the few occasions you have to fight to progress stand out (I spent a long time on the subway fight for instance because of this bug).

    However I never got lost. I misjudged a jump a couple of times and there was a weird glitch with jumping between drainpipes that means sometimes you pass straight through it but for 95% of the game it was pure joy.

    It also does something very very few games have achieved: Made being chased consistently fun with genuine pressure to keep moving. In most games if you stop running nothing happens. In Mirrors Edge if you stop running you will die. So you better run your arse off!

  11. Mman says:

    Tei: What are you talking about? Also, while I haven’t played it yet (although I’m heavily considering grabbing the PC version too), the Mirror’s Edge PC porting job has been lauded in pretty much every review I’ve seen (the fact porting issues weren’t even mentioned here is probably testiment to that).

  12. Tei says:

    “the Mirror’s Edge PC porting job has been lauded in pretty much every review I’ve seen”

    The perfect cuckoo’s egg maybe.

  13. MrFake says:

    You can glean a lot of this from the demo.

    There’s the tutorial, unfairly broken up into speed-shattering segments, but with burst appeal. Then there’s the quickie demo level, which is one long, almost unbroken run from start to finish. You get to experience the fun of racing from one place to another, picking a route (albeit from few choices), and the almost unhindered speed. Then there’s the few action sequences, which murder all appeal. I figure the real game ends as soon as you encounter the first gun toting drone blocking your path; it’s console-pandering from then on.

    The demo menu does have the option to do time trials, but I never tried it to see if it’s active. Hopefully they were smart enough to show that off so people could experience it before purchasing. Despite all the negativity, I still enjoyed it (up until the gun jerks).

  14. THEorangePANDA says:

    Hell i just like this game for being different in art, unlike the trrrrilion zillllion of games that only havr graybrownpoo color that give depresion…

  15. Sagan says:

    I just finished the story mode today, and I enjoyed it tremendously. I have only tried time trial once yet, but I will probably get back to that when I have time.

    The story is pretty bad, I don’t think it makes any sense. Still I think the game wouldn’t have worked without the story mode. You need at least some context for why you are running over these rooftops. If it had been a pure racing game, they couldn’t have provided a context, because there are no famous parcours cups or myths. Also, as CrashT said, I think the game works best when you are chased.

    @Meat Circus:
    What about the game was frustrating? I thought it had just the right diffculty. Sure, you fall to your death sometimes, and sometimes you don’t know where to go, but I was never stuck for more than a couple minutes, and never had to try something more than three times.

  16. Subject 706 says:

    Can you turn off the ‘run here, press button now dumbfuck’ color-codings?

  17. MarkP says:

    The only problem with the PC port I’ve seen is the inability to remap non-letter keys to action (very annoying as I mouse with my left hand and use , . ; ‘ for FPS games all the time).

    The story is too short for the price. Portal was a short game too (though longer than ME) but was part of a reasonably priced bundle.

    ME is a good tech demo, but not a good game.

  18. Funky Badger says:

    That city. Maybe it’s The City. And now I’m just thinking about Brigand Doom…

  19. Lilliput King says:

    Its a very good port.

    Also, whats all this huffin’ an’ a’ puffin’ about combat? I barely spent more than 20 minutes fighting in the whole game, because most combats are avoidable.

    The story mode was reasonable – not life changing, but really good fun. It reminds me of the recent trend in the movie industry towards knowingly (almost intentionally) stupid but heavily stylised films that feel like comic strips – 300, Shoot em up (though that one was fairly dire), Sin City etc.

    That said, the dialogue was fairly unforgiveably poor.

    “Survivals overrated Faith. What matters is living.”

    Mmmmmm.

  20. Mman says:

    Yes, you can turn off runner-vision.

    “tech demo”

    Tech demo has to be the most destroyed term in existance right now. Its only meaning now is troll-speak for “a game I don’t personally like that attempts to be the slightest bit innovative in some way”.

  21. Helm says:

    I agree with the piece, mostly. I thought the time trial mode wasn’t as fun as I would want either though because the controls are fiddly. I’ve been playing stuff like Elastomania or Nikujin for years and I enjoy speedrunning if the controls are responsive and always do what your keypresses ment to do. Mirror’s Edge, perhaps for its third dimension or because of bad coding, doesn’t have that cleanness of control that encourages speedrunning for me.

    The story mode is very bad, if actual writers (not video game designers, actual, professional writers) were involved then that’s strange and discouraging.

  22. Sagan says:

    @Subject 706: You can unlock a “hard” difficulty, where the color coding is disabled. But it isn’t nearly as annoying as the demo makes you think. Often they only color code where you have to go, and you have to figure out yourself how to get there. For example you see a pipe near the ceiling that is red, and then you have to figure out how to get up there. Or you see a red door far away, and then you need to find the way there.

    And while I agree, that the combat initially feels a little out of place, I had no problems with it at all. The enemies are nearly blind. You can usually run straight to the first guy, use slow motion to knock him out or disarm him, and then shoot the rest of the enemies with his gun.

  23. Mman says:

    Unless the PC version is different the runner vision can be turned off from the start. I actually prefer it on for aesthetic reasons though, as I find the splashings of red more striking than everything being white.

  24. Heliocentric says:

    I’ve not played the game. But i’ve watched high def gameplay. I hope they use this lesson in first person movement to good use in battlefield 3. Why mirrors edge time trials don’t have trackmania style live play ghosts is lost on me.

    Throw in a decent map editor and something mappers can use to generate pressure like flood water or collapsing buildings. There you have a game i’d rush to buy. Even a vs mode. Free runners vs soldiers the soldiers able to travel in a massively dumbed down helicopter which could impossibe to even intentionally flip, the free runners are given pac man style invincibility for quickly navigating to a checkpoint, but soldiers with a riot shield can block a narrow route, teams score not on kills but on packages intercepted and delivered so downing a runner at a distance might just have another runner pick it up one who might be boosted with a “power pill”. Sure its apeing splinter cell’s multiplayer but the idea has some merit.

  25. Mman says:

    “Why mirrors edge time trials don’t have trackmania style live play ghosts is lost on me.”

    There are ghosts (for time trials anyway).

    I think the sequel could really do with outright demo recording though; I’m sure with some work it wouldn’t be TOO taxing on the game and being able to watch others in full first person would add a lot to the time trial and speedrun modes.

  26. Optimaximal says:

    Tei, rather than trolling, please explain how ME wasn’t a good port?

    I’m in the party that didn’t find the combat particularly fulfilling but found the chase mechanics wonderful – when you start being properly chased by foes who have the same moves as you, the tension is just magic (well, until you mistime a jump for the 4th time).

  27. J. Prevost says:

    Being chased was fantastic. The places where the fight sequences fail utterly are the places where there are enemies between you and where you have to get to and there’s no choice (or at least, no obvious choice) but to kick them around so you can move on.

    Bad guys as a threat and time pressure works great. And even better if it *is* possible to survive if they catch you: oops, you screwed up, beat them off and get moving again before more show up: the fight is a penalty, it’s slowing you down, but you can survive.

    But when you have to run *to* them and beat them up no matter how well you’re navigating? That’s poor, real poor. (And note: it may be possible to avoid *all* of these cases with good movement, I’m not sure. But it’s certainly not obvious when you’re still new to the game.)

  28. Tom says:

    Gotta admit Alec I strongly disagree with a lot of what you’ve said. I thought Mirrors Edge was fantastic. I love the mix of combat and running. Nothing more satisfying that wall running in to a cop, spinning him 180 and disarming him so you can blaze away at a couple of his buddies only to drop your weapon and bound off out of the reach of the rest. Or sliding straight in to a disarm.
    The story was admitedly nothing spectacular but fitted perfectly in to the whole Pakour mythos. It was painfully cliched at times though but that only made me lol which is never a bad thing.
    ME imo is something shiny and refreshing.
    It needs more work to get the various mechanics sharper and more slipstreamed, but I love it.
    One another note, and an aspect of games that very rarely gets mentioned unfortunatley, but the audio was simply amazing. From the score to the fx it was real ear candy. Anyone with a decent 5.1 setup will probably agree with me I suspect.
    No need to the mention the graphics – sweet jesus!
    More please.

  29. Heliocentric says:

    Sorry. By trackmania live ghosts i refer to real time multiplayer where you can’t interfer with each other.

  30. MarkP says:

    Spare me Mman

    “tech demo” to me means there is a good concept in there and an engine that works, but the story and/or level design is severely lacking. In this case, it also means it’s waaaay too little content.

    I thoroughly enjoyed some bits, and wish there were more of them. Jumping over the rooftops was exhilarating. Climbing up that crane and jumping gave me the feet-sweats.

    I felt that I should have had more time to explore the world. I really couldn’t have cared less about the satchels to pick up. And I did *not* enjoy being chased when I couldn’t figure out a path that didn’t kill me, or just missed a ledge, etc.

    I call the “wrong step = death” game failure n-squared puzzles. That is, there are “n” steps (for some value of n) in which you first go 1 step then die. Then you go 2 steps and die. The series 1 + 2 + 3 + … + n = n^2. That way lies madness.

  31. jonfitt says:

    I’ve only played the Xbox demo, and when it was flowing well being chased by baddies it was good. I didn’t like brief experience of combat it showed me, and I was sad to hear that there are sections you can’t get through without clearing baddies.
    I’m not attracted by the abstract DLC levels, when the city is removed it loses most of its meaning for me, I’m not into racing games and Time Trials.

    I’d like to have seen the enemies used as an encouragement to go faster, not as barriers, and the levels consist of many branching routes to get to a goal.
    Neither of these things seems to be the case.

  32. feffrey says:

    I tried it and I got vertigo
    Mostly from the had bob, I normally turn that off in every game.
    it may be a good game, but something about head bob drives me nuts. I didn’t see an option for turning that off, but I may be blind.

  33. MarkP says:

    Because your brain usually compensates for the head bob, I think the excessive head bob is annoying. The fact that you have to look at your feet to stick the jumps is also annoying. You don’t have the sense of presence that you do in real life (which is why 3rd person games are often used when you need that feedback — be it Tomb Raider or stealth games Splinter Cell).

  34. Arnulf says:

    I love the game. I paid fifty euros for it and do not regret it.

    That being said, the combat at times is annoying. When your great forte is running away it smells foul when the level designer puts you in a box with four baddies in it you just cannot avoid to fight.

    I still find the style of the whole game refreshing. It is so very anti-FPS. I recently bought Bioshock and I’m still in shock that the same game engine is the foundation for these two antithetic games.

  35. Mman says:

    “I thoroughly enjoyed some bits, and wish there were more of them. Jumping over the rooftops was exhilarating. Climbing up that crane and jumping gave me the feet-sweats.

    I felt that I should have had more time to explore the world.”

    I agree with those things.

    “In this case, it also means it’s waaaay too little content.”

    But not this; as the time-trials and other good places make such good use of what’s there, and despite it being the shortest game I got at christmas I’ve probably played it more than the other games I got since then combined.

    That’s not to say I don’t want the sequel to be longer, and I’m not really a fan of shortness, but ME is a rare case where I don’t mind at all.

    It may be a semantics thing as I’ve always considered that the term “tech demo” implies that the central aspect is a bare-bones thing to be built on by other games, when the central aspect of ME (the “new” controls) is already very fleshed-out.

  36. Mman says:

    “as the time-trials and other good places make such good use ”

    Ugh, don’t know what I did there, I mean “the time-trials and some other areas make such good use of what’s there”

  37. kupocake says:

    Whilst I can certainly see the appeal of a Parkour racing game, I think this article is rather too enthusiastic about taking the action and narrative out of a title that is most innovative as an example of an FPS. Racing needs a game with Parkour mechanics a whole lot less than FPS does.

  38. solipsistnation says:

    I’m sad to say that I couldn’t really even get through the demo on my 360…

  39. Adrian says:

    I actually enjoyed the story mode. I like mirrors edge futuristic setting a lot and i thought the characters weren’t too bad. After i beat the game in medium which really only took 2 days or something i beat it in hard and that actually was pretty hard. I didnt really like the runners vision so i liked the game in hard mode a lot better because in hard mode the runners vision is disabled. what i really didnt like was that you really follow only one path and there really are like 5 shortcuts throughout the entire game. when i saw the trailers of the game i always thought that there would be multiple routes throughout the level but this actually isnt the case what really dissapointed me.

  40. Still annoyed says:

    God, I loved Mirror’s Edge. I hated it too, of course, but the love won out in the end, and I’m almost tempted to buy it again just to play it on the PC with all those fancy PhysX-things.

    Mirror’s Edge isn’t a racing game or an FPS, it’s the next evolution of the platform game. With some satisfying puzzles and refreshingly different combat thrown in.

    And yeah, Mman is right about the term “tech demo”.

  41. Heliocentric says:

    Also. Where’s the demo. No demo no buy.

  42. Charlie says:

    Gotta say I also found the time-trials a little dull, probably because I had already died 500 times on them going through the story. I agree with Crash T, when you have enemies behind you pushing you forwards it can be amazing, giving you a real sense of urgency and its quite a rush.

    However, as soon as they put enemies in front of you though the whole thing falls apart and became mindless clicking for me. Maybe its because the combat has no weight, I do a fly kick 15 feet through the air and land my foot on a guys face and he just flinches a little and shoots me in the head. But its probably because combat should have been no part of the game apart from fleeing it.

  43. Rawson says:

    I enjoyed the platforming and chase scenes (especially when you’re the proverbial mouse), but it was sadly split up by fight scenes that were often times overly frustrating. Your character proves to be overly frail compared to the enemies, and I found there to be very little wiggle room in terms of pulling off combos. It seemed faster to simply run up to your enemies and punch them than to repeatedly try something more entertaining, only to fail and die to a shotgun blast to the face.

    It’s not a bad game, but unless some awesome maps start getting churned out for it, I wouldn’t have paid full price for it.

  44. jsutcliffe says:

    I have played both PC and console versions (albeit just the demo on 360), and I reckon the PC version to be superior. I don’t notice any graphical improvement other than being able to play at a high resolution (though I understand textures are meant to be better too) — the main reason the PC version is better is simply that the controls are tighter, thanks to a mouse being more accurate than a controller.

    I like both modes, but wish there was just some way to turn off the bad guys in story mode so you can roam around with no pressure. That would be fun too.

    They should also make a level/course maker tool — just letting people specify where to put checkpoints. That would be fantastic, especially if you end up with some really long courses (I’d love to chain together all the training map races, for example).

    edit: Also, having read in previews that there’s an Xbox achievement for completing it without shooting anyone, I have been playing with a non-violent ethos. It’s pretty exhilarating. I think so far all I’ve done combat-wise is kick someone in the nads, and I think I’m ~75% done.

  45. Scott PM says:

    I’ll throw in my 2 cents in with those who absolutely loved this game, despite it’s many flaws and frustrations and slightly absurd price point. Definitely a fun, fresh take on the FPS, with fantastic visuals and a good soundtrack. With a bit more polish and and a smarter story it could easily have reached Portal-like levels of brilliance.

    I only wish there was a Restart Race hotkey in the time trials — tab just takes you back to the last checkpoint without reseting your clock, which is totally useless. So when I flub the first jump while trying to beat my time I have to hit ESC, click Restart Race, click OK… Seems like kind of a dumb oversight.

  46. Markoff Chaney says:

    First off, this is an excellent port (using the 1.01 patch) with one GLARING issue, imo. That is the color of the mouse pointer. White on white and I move my mouse for 5 seconds to try to see it – AH HA there you are now, crap where did you go you bugger?

    That being said, it is a port, albeit done right, with good optimization, added PHYSX (which doesn’t add anything but atmosphere, but it really does help immerse oneself and can be turned off if desired (or you don’t have the hardware to pull it off)), and we don’t have anything like an SDK that would bring this game into absolutely have territory. Those of you that tried the demo on the 360, allow me to tell you I downloaded it at a friends house and suffered through the controls and sluggish (to me) 30fps a few times. However, I have faith in DICE and, being a FPS junkie, I picked up the game(support innovation!), grabbed my trusty mouse and keyboard and was floored at how much better it plays. I have a very odd keymapping (forward is lmb, backwards rmb, s and d left and right strafe, f is fire, g grenade (or fire/disarm in this case) and v duck. I was able to totally remap to my desire with no issues. I’ll have to try the .,/ issue.

    I completely agree that the chasing in this game is one feeling I have never had in a game before. Period. Just the feeling of being chased is, almost, worth the price of purchase. Seriously. Nothing that I can think of has touched it so far in my gaming. I can’t say enough positive about just being chased.

    The “story” mode is contrived, feels forced, comes on too quickly and ends WAY too quickly. Worth maybe 20 bucks. At best. However, its long term “endgame” is really about polishing and perfecting. It is a Racing game with feet for wheels. Time Trials are addicting (just one more time… I can shave at least 1 more second here…) and running back through the chapters of the “story” mode is much better the second time through. Combat sucks and really does ruin the flow of the game (and it’s a game about movement and flow…) but my next run through will be one of those don’t shoot anyone attempts.

    Replaying through with a different rule set (no runners vision, no shooting people) should be quite enjoyable and that’s where the game truly shines, in repetition. Time Trials and Speed Runs. This makes me think (other than the need to pad this out to a pre-announced trilogy) that maybe that’s why the “story” mode is absurdly short. Maybe it would be too overwhelming if there was a lot of content to replay and the proper enjoyment might be missed by more.

    Great game, really. The main “story” is a bit short, but, honestly, it’s almost the appetizer. The biggest issue with the real meal is that you have the sneaking suspicion you’ve tasted all this before when you had that party platter appetizer. Eventually, please give us a level editor / sdk for part 2 and let us whip up our own dessert. I’m still hungry and that DLC looks like what I thought ME would be in the first place. Abstracted running, jumping, and going forward: racing ahead, but I’ll miss those enemies chasing me from behind. That really is a joy…

  47. bananaphone says:

    The first 30 minutes are brilliant. First the feeling of jumping over the rooftops, then the tension when you’re being chased.
    After that it gets progressively less fun and more irritating.

  48. Jim Rossignol says:

    Some random observations:

    - The movement system is excellent, and must immediately be stolen by other games. Moreover, it’s so much better on mouse and keyboard than on a gamepad.

    - The architecture is a dream. One of the best-designed games ever in terms of having a consistent visual theme.

    - Didn’t they just throw away those levels? Millions of dollars of level design gone in an instant. I mean I know most linear games do the same thing, but it’s particularly acute in this case.

    - It’s incredibly vacuous as an experience. Short, with a placeholder narrative and few genuinely interesting challenges or decisions.

  49. PHeMoX says:

    Yeah, the lack of freedom is a shame!

  50. Jocho says:

    The fun thing about reading about Mirror’s Edge is that the game truly is a mirror – it almost tells more about the reviewer then the game. I’ve read pieces loving it to bits, some not liking it at all, some considering it a change of thinking about games – and it all reflects the writer, because the game is still the same.

    Myself, I played the first few levels on the consoles, and would describe it as “Prince of Persia meets Sonic” (with an underline of “awesome”), which – again – tells more about my gaming preferences then the game.

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