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Jeremy Jastrzab
31 Dec, 2008

Mirror's Edge Review

PS3 Review | Not quite at the edge.
A new idea is a great thing to have in gaming, as it is often craved by the enthusiastic gaming public. However, if it doesn’t quite go as expected or isn’t executed properly, it gets quickly tossed aside and we’re once again left with generic releases. Such is the vicious cycle of the current gaming market, where ideas alone are not enough to jump-start a new IP. It is with regret that we say that Mirror’s Edge falls into this category. Particularly as there are some genuinely fun moments and excellent concepts that had a lot of people interested during the development cycle but unfortunately haven’t quite come through in the final game.

Mirror’s Edge had a lot going for it. Taking the popular concept/pastime of free-running and using a first person perspective was certainly an inspired decision, while going for a more stylistic and ambient atmosphere was refreshing when compared to the numerous dark and gritty games that have become so popular. Unfortunately, even the best intentions will come unstuck if they are not executed properly. That’s not to say that Mirror’s Edge is a bad. On the contrary, at times it can be great, but these times just might not be frequent enough to save it.

Often with a new story or a new IP, you are thrown into a world that has most things established within it, and you learn and figure them out as you play. Mirror’s Edge makes the mistake of throwing you too far into the story. Playing as a rogue runner named Faith, her prerogative is to save her sister, who is framed for the murder of a candidate for city mayor. While games, movies and literature have managed to do the whole ‘dystopic unnamed city’ thing, Mirror’s Edge fails by not really giving us an idea of why things are so bad and why being a runner is so righteous (or so maligned). So while it isn’t too long and has a satisfying conclusion, the developers really missed a trick with the story.

It's a long way down...

It's a long way down...
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Assassin’s Creed is one of the few other games currently available in which to free-run, but it does so from a third person perspective. So it was very brave of the developers to take it straight to the first person perspective. Brave yes, but also understandable. After all, what better way to get a player immersed in the rush that comes with free-running then directly out of the eyes of their game character. Unfortunately, it’s the parts where a game like Assassin’s Creed succeeded but Mirror’s Edge not so much.

The majority of the nine chapters in Mirror’s Edge are played across the rooftops, through the upper floors of high-rises as well as subways and occasionally the street. The world looks fairly open and accessible, but in reality there are only one, two or possibly three paths that are available from point A to B. To help players figure out the way to go, some objects such as ramps, doors and pipes will be highlighted in red (runner vision) to show you the way or you can also press a button that will give you an idea of what direction you should be heading.

At its best and once you’ve got a grip on the game’s mechanics, Mirror’s Edge is truly an exhilarating experience. There is very little that can compare to what is on offer here. Also, there is a similar satisfaction associated with the finding the right path and then getting across it as there is to solving a hard puzzle in a game like Braid. As we keep saying though, these are unravelled by the fact that there is too much space between the best moments that the game has to offer. It boils down to a couple of things.

Who turned on the bloom?

Who turned on the bloom?
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Firstly, the game’s mechanics are too punishing for a game that tries to be free flowing and fast paced. Often this will occur when jumping at pipes and slightly less during wall-running. Even with the lenient respawns, it has a detrimental impact on pace and flow. However, it leads into the second problem, where even though you are assisted with your direction, this assistance is rather vague sometimes. So if you don’t ‘spot’ the right way to go, you’re left with a lot of trial and error. And again, this trial and error can greatly disrupt the flow of the game.

Finally, we found it strange that the developers intended to add some combat to the game. It works when you’ve got one or two opponents and where you have a choice of fighting or running. It’s annoying because there are a few situations late in the game that are very difficult to get through without fighting, especially because you die very easily. Often this means knocking out or disarming an enemy and taking their gun. Thankfully, there aren’t too many of these situations. In all, these things are flawed aspects of the game but shouldn’t deter anyone remotely interested in the concept. However, these flaws are likely to deter those with less patience and gaming nous.

As mentioned, there are nine chapters in Mirror’s Edge. Including all the times that you’re likely to restart from checkpoint, this only translates into a six to eight hour story. However, those who are keen can search for ‘bags’ hidden in each chapter. Furthermore, finishing the game unlocks speed runs for each level and you have the option for time trials from the start. To really clock good times, you have to get very, very proficient at the game. Unfortunately, accessing the leaderboards requires signing up to EA, which is rather disappointing and annoying.

To you I decree... A boot to the head!

To you I decree... A boot to the head!
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One of the areas that doesn’t disappoint are the games visuals. While technically not the most proficient, their style supersedes any of those shortcomings. And it’s not just a matter of adding colour, but really the developers have managed to create a city or a world that is distinct from most things out there. That makes the game easy to distinguish from the crowd. This is complimented with some rather nice animated sequences between chapters. However, there are a few points where the developers could have turned down the bloom though. Colour and brightness is great, but not when they are burning the back of your retinas.

The audio department in Mirror’s Edge was quite a surprise. While the dialogue that accompanies the voicing isn’t anything special, the voice actors do their jobs quite well despite this. The sound effects also do their job quite well, even if there aren’t too many that need to be employed. However, the soundtrack to the game was an exceptional surprise, as it created a very soothing and ambient atmosphere whenever you were running on your own. It evoked (what we assumed to be) the feeling that you get as you’re free-running.

Despite the early promise shown prior to its release, Mirror’s Edge hasn’t been able to fulfil the expectations. However, despite the weak story, trial and error gameplay and length, Mirror’s Edge is still a game that ought to be tried. While it doesn’t quite succeed at doing something different, it still manages to provide an exhilarating and unique gameplay experience. By ignoring it, you’re implying that you prefer to have sequels churned out rather than something new and original. So even if Mirror’s Edge is not the best thing since sliced bread, it still tastes good.
The Score
While it doesn't quite fulfil the high expectations, Mirror's Edge is a unique gaming experience that is certainly worth a look. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Mirror's Edge Content

Mirror's Edge dated for Europe
19 Sep, 2008 Demo out next week, too.
PS3 to get exclusive Mirror's Edge DLC
02 Sep, 2008 Not sure what yet, though.
E3 2008: Mirror's Edge Preview
15 Jul, 2008 Leap tall buildings in a single bound with DICE's first-person adventure.
31 Comments
5 years ago
I totally agree with this review..
I think EA and DICE can push the envelope much more than they have in this game.
I would have liked the cut scenes to also have been in the same graphical quality as the rest of the game and in first person mode (A la Far Cry 2)
However during levels, the game is as immersive as they come. having Vertigo myself, I felt a bit nauseous at several points in the game.
I could have done with a longer game though ...
5 years ago
I also agree with this review - it really is an acquired taste. I personally got more frustrated with this game than anything else, but 7/10 is certainly a generous/fair review.
5 years ago
I could rate this game an 8.5, but it really worked for me. I got all the achievements from it about 3 weeks ago so my total playtime for it was probably in the area of 25-30 hours.
5 years ago
This review needs a bibliography.
5 years ago
I'm about 3/4's through the story and all I can say is either remove the combat completely or add some decent fps controls. They either have to make the combat fun or not have it at all.

The free running and style certainly makes up for its short comings though.

free running: 9/10
Combat/gun fights: 2/10

What they do with a sequel will be interesting.
5 years ago
I love this game, but I probably wouldn't rate it much higher than this review. Despite its brilliance in gameplay and art design, it just has way too many shortcomings. The biggest problem is that it's too hard to achieve the flowing feeling that you know the game is going for; even when you know where to go you're always going to mis-time a jump or miss a pipe by half an inch and plummet to your death. Some auto-correction would have been a Godsend; nothing on the level of Prince of Persia, but just enough that you aren't dying a hundred times per playthrough.

I managed to get the Platinum Trophy for it, so obviously I liked it enough to look past the bad bits, but I still want them fixed if there is a sequel.
5 years ago
I really enjoyed most of this game however combat was quite terrible. The weapon snatching despite looks good pretty much QTE's and the hand to hand combat was absolutely terrible but outside that it was a very enjoyable experience.

With that being said for a year where EA has stretched its legs its best game released this year was Dead Space
5 years ago
I liked it was something fresh which is why it appealed to me. I didnt follow it during development so I didnt have any expectations.

Good to see EA trying new things!
5 years ago
renegadesx wrote
EA has stretched its legs its best game released this year was Dead Space
This I definitely agree with ....
5 years ago
pedantics wrote
This review needs a bibliography.
hehe, if you've read one mirror's edge review, then you've read them all

i loved the game overall, and i think the combat was the most enjoyable part for me. the hand-to-hand needed a little work, but it just felt so satisfying disarming guards....and then killing them with their own weapons!! BOOYEAH
5 years ago
Quote
Unfortunately, accessing the leaderboards requires signing up to EA, which is rather disappointing and annoying.
I've got this on 360, I was just offended by how it wanted me to sign up to an EA account to do the scoreboards. Why in the world do I have to do this when I pay 80 bucks a year for Live? Considering every Arcade game HAS to have a scoreboard built in that works perfectly with Live, this forced-registration thing is just absurd. I'll be skipping the online component because I want as little to do with EA as possible.
5 years ago
Your loss, if you already have an EA account from one of their many other titles it's as simple as waiting the 2.5 seconds for it to sign in, and allows you to download ghosts off the leaderboards to try to beat and follow to find fast times through the time trials.
5 years ago
shiraj wrote
renegadesx wrote
EA has stretched its legs its best game released this year was Dead Space
This I definitely agree with ....
I don't. You people are forgetting Crysis Warhead! Although I know to some this does not count as a full game, its got a longer SP campaign than Mirrors Edge, and you can play it again differently the next time. Also the MP (Crysis Wars) is pretty damn awesome.
5 years ago
I was expecting to love this game but after playing the first three chapters its just... well the same fucking thing over and over again.

Does it diversify at all later into it?

Also my god those flash cutscenes are done really badly, they look horrible. What there fuck were there animators doing that day?
5 years ago
You know, I'd actually prefer EA to send this off to EA Black Box.

I mean, they did skate, imagine what they'd do with a Freerunning/Parkour game with the skate engine.
5 years ago
Oh also gotta point this out, in a segment in a sewer in level 2. I climbed up a wrong ladder and got stuck behind a 4 foot high box.

In a game all about freedom of movement and a charecter thats agile and nimble enough to basicly go anywere I couldn't jump over a 4 foot high box because I'd come at it from the wrong direction and didn't have that little 2 foot high box to use as a spring board to get up....


.... 4 feet high....

What the fuck?
5 years ago
Eyce wrote
You know, I'd actually prefer EA to send this off to EA Black Box.
EA announced the closure of Black Box a couple of weeks ago.
5 years ago
pedantics wrote
This review needs a bibliography.
Note to self - innocuous but valid criticism of editorial content is likely to get you banned without warning or explanation.

p.s. Using your new username to reply to your old (banned) username may also provoke a similar response.

This public service message has been brought to you by the letters F and U
5 years ago
cliff_notes wrote
pedantics wrote
This review needs a bibliography.
Note to self - innocuous but valid criticism of editorial content is likely to get you banned without warning or explanation.

p.s. Using your new username to reply to your old (banned) username may also provoke a similar response.

This public service message has been brought to you by the letters F and U
Pedantics wasn't banned though...

Or atleast it doesn't say he's been banned.

I'm thoroughly confused.

That and I honestly can't see what words in that review would need clarification for anyone that's ever read a book.
5 years ago
My account mysteriously stopped working within 24 hours of posting that comment.

Whether you agree or disagree with my assessment of this review, kyboshing my account for voicing an opinion (which in no way violated this site's user agreement) is a ridiculous, over-zelous response.
5 years ago
Usualy when someones banned there status comes up as banned, Pedantics is comming up as offline, I doubt you're banned.

If you were though thats all kinds of fucked up.
5 years ago
Benza wrote
That and I honestly can't see what words in that review would need clarification for anyone that's ever read a book.
Oh the irony..so..thick..can't..breath..

Protip: Find out what a bibliography is, then go find out what a glossary is. Because you appear to require clarification of those 2 words.. maybe you should read a book?
5 years ago
Mullet87 wrote
Benza wrote
That and I honestly can't see what words in that review would need clarification for anyone that's ever read a book.
Oh the irony..so..thick..can't..breath..

Protip: Find out what a bibliography is, then go find out what a glossary is. Because you appear to require clarification of those 2 words.. maybe you should read a book?
Shit mind fart, eh it's late.

Seriously though, that's just even more confusing, what the fuck in the article needed a bibliography?
5 years ago
He's implying that Jeremy is just rehashing what other reviewers have already said in the past... so basically a reviewer isn't allowed to have the same opinion of another reviewer, which is stupid.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  13/11/2008 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Electronic Arts
Genre:
  Shooter
Year Made:
  2008

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