Developer: DICE | Publisher: Electronic Arts | Release Date: 2009 | Genre: Action / Adventure| Website: n/a | Purchase: Steam
Imagine a futuristic world devoid of crime and violence. A spotlessly clean world where the government tracks your every move and keeps you in line. A world where the flow of information is carefully monitored and controlled. This is the world of Mirror’s Edge. Of course, the outer calm is just one side of the coin. There will always be those that will operate outside the boundaries of what those in power deem acceptable, and they will need secure channels for their information. This is where your character, Faith, comes into the picture. As a “Runner,” she carries sensitive information for clients while using her incredible athletic skills to elude the powers that be. Things go horribly wrong when her enemies frame her sister for murder, and so Faith sets out to uncover the truth.
As far as plot development goes, I wasn’t too impressed with Mirror’s Edge. The story was pretty mundane, and while it provided a good excuse for the protagonist to be clambering about rooftops, it lacked the emotion to draw me in and empathize with the characters. The absolutely horrible “flash-style” cut-scenes that drive the story also did not do much to endear itself to me. Style and design are a different matter, and this is where Mirror’s Edge pulls ahead of the pack.
While powered by Unreal Engine 3 this game looks unlike anything else. Everything is very polished, and the game makes use of lots of white and bright primary colors to bring its world to life. The dazzling light effects keep things from looking too cold and clinical, though. The game already looked good on consoles, but this computer version has some extra features tucked up its sleeve. PC owners benefit significantly from the increased resolution available. Also, owners of Nvidia graphics cards can enable “PhysX” support which enhances things like glass, smoke, and soft materials. The outdoor sections are really breathtaking, but the cramped interiors are less impressive.
The entire game takes place from a first-person perspective view but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a first-person shooter. While Faith can disarm enemies and use their weapons, but these are often more of a hindrance and will only slow you down. Relying on Faith’s speed and agility you will find yourself making death-defying leaps across rooftops, wall-running between buildings and swinging from poles. Just imagine Prince of Persia from a first-person perspective, and you should get the idea. Your characters’ limbs are visible while performing these actions, which ads an added layer of depth and really makes you a part of the world. Things can be a bit disorienting at first, but the “runner vision” that highlights interactive objects like ramps and pipes is a great help. The basic idea is to pick up speed and momentum, which will let you traverse levels seamlessly. It is a nice idea, but this “flow” can be constantly interrupted by weapon-wielding enemies or confusing level layouts. Especially towards the end where you have to deal with enemies that also have runner-like abilities things can get bogged down in combat and frustrating trial-and-error segments. The indoor sections are also a chore, and crawling around air-vents was not what I was looking forward to when I bought this game. There is also the by now mandatory slow-motion effect which I probably used once or twice in the entire duration I played. At least the controls are intuitive, and a keyboard/mouse combo works much better than a gamepad.
The audio is top-notch and features some decent voice acting even if the story itself was as dull as can be. The music consists mostly of some ambient tracks, which is nice as it fits the solitary feel of the game and allows you to hear the cool sound effects. The theme song “Still Alive” by Lisa Miskovsky is exceptionally catchy, and as a bonus, you get an audio cd with a few remixes by famous DJs thrown in for free. A pity then that the game is so short you could almost complete it before the bonus cd has finished playing. There are some unlockables to go back for and the time trial mode will provide some more challenges, but overall the game feels like it needed a few more levels.
Mirror’s Edge is another title that falls into the love it or hate category. For every innovation, there are some annoyances, and in the end, the game fell somewhat short of my expectations. It’s part of a planned trilogy, so hopefully, the next installment will iron out all of the wrinkles.
- Supported OS: Microsoft Windows® XP SP2 or Vista
- Processor: 3.0 GHz or faster
- Memory: 1 GB RAM or more
- Graphics: DirectX® 9.0c compatible video card, Shader Model 3.0 required. Video card must have 256 MB, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or better
- Hard Drive: 8 GB free space
- Sound: DirectX® 9.0c compatible sound card
- INTERNET CONNECTION, ONLINE AUTHENTICATION AND ACCEPTANCE OF END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT REQUIRED TO PLAY. TO ACCESS ONLINE FEATURES, YOU MUST REGISTER ONLINE. ONLY ONE REGISTRATION IS AVAILABLE PER GAME. EA ONLINE TERMS & CONDITIONS AND FEATURE UPDATES CAN BE FOUND AT www.ea.com. YOU MUST BE 13+ TO REGISTER WITH EA ONLINE.