In a dystopian future where a corrupt government pulls every string, there is only one safe way to get information to and from different locations: Runners. This group of people take to the rooftops; running, jumping, traversing the skyline whilst avoiding detection. The game has changed with the arrest of Faith’s sister and the death of a mayoral electorate.
It’s time to take a leap of Faith.
Mirror’s Edge puts you directly into Faith’s specially tailored running shoes as she makes her way into the very core of the city’s governmental corruption to prove her sister’s innocence and make sure the truth comes out. The truth isn’t exactly what she bargained for, and things are worse than they already seem. You’ll need to traverse the rooftops, avoid the cops, and more importantly, stay alive. Each level has an end point you must reach, and while the course is fairly linear there are many options in how to get to where you are going. Levels often require combination hand-to-hand combat, to disarm or take out opponents as quickly as possible, and a lot of quick thinking.
Controls are rather simple and, save for a few hiccups, fluid and easily mastered. After the first few areas in the game most of the situations will become very easy to read. By the time you reach the later levels, it should all be second nature. This simplistic approach of control fits the fast paced nature of the game and makes it something that a wider audience can more easily get into. That’s not to say that everything is simple, as the game allows for a lot of combinations of moves and attacks that, with practice, can help getting through levels even quicker.
The visuals of the game directly tie into the gameplay elements with the environment’s color scheme. Just by looking at the color of things around you it’s easy to understand where you need to go. While many of us are used to the color red indicating stop, it means the opposite in Mirror’s Edge. When you see something red, it’s an indication of where you need to be going. Runner Vision will highlight some objects in red as you approach, showing things that can be interacted with to reach the end goal. This can include valves to cut off steam, zip lines, and boxes that can be used like spring boards to reach higher ground. Each level is separated by a cinematic, done in a somewhat minimalist art style. These scenes set the stage for the next area and cover the over-arching story line. While I would have preferred the use of the in-game graphics for these events, I don’t exactly dislike the direction they took.
The audio front for the game is top notch, with sounds fitting the situation or adding in an element of urgency in some cases with doors bursting open behind you and the the quick tempo of the music that plays during some of the more tense situations. The music for the game, overall, is really good with the main theme “Still Alive,” sung by Lisa Miskovsky, being one of my favorite songs from a videogame.
The game, while very fluid, does have a few snares which hold it up. The biggest one is that sometimes Faith will miraculously miss grabbing onto objects, especially pipes, and the reasons for the miss seem arbitrary. Another big issue with the game is that, despite having Runner Vision, some areas are still rather confusing in terms of where the player needs to go. Some of these situations pop up while enemies are surrounding you making the task harder still. The last issue comes in the form of the very precise timing that the game requires in some situations. While this is part of the game mechanics, it can lead to a lot of frustration for some players rather early in the game. The difficulty settings only effect the combat in the game and not the parkour elements, so quick reflexes are a requirement to enjoy this game. Again, this isn’t exactly a flaw, but it does limit the audience for the game.
Mirror’s Edge is the only game I’ve played that has really made platforming work well in a 3D space. While it’s not perfect, it does what it’s supposed to do and does it in style. If you haven’t played this game, do yourself a favor and give it a try.
GO Rating: 4/5