Mirror's Edge

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 80% (based on 137 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 134 ratings with 4 reviews)

Get lost on the roof tops of a metropolitan city

The Good
Close your eyes and imagine feeling a breeze run across your face, the sun shimmering and reflecting off the hot concrete roof below you, flexing your right foot and feeling a tight shoe across it, and open your eyes to see a white painted metropolitan city touched with slight colors here and there but only accenting the white. Hear the sounds of the downtown rustling, an occasional siren, perhaps a helicopter flying above you.

The so-called Mirror's Edge, where all the buildings reflect your desires and let you freely fly, running forward using all objects on the roof top to your advantage like a gold medal gymnast. Imagine being able to run as fast as the fastest man in the world and maintain it for as long as you wish to go. This game captures this feeling, yet doesn't lose you with too much fantasy. It doesn't quite hit the Matrix feeling, it cradles these realistic emotions hidden inside you and lets you feel it as if it real. Then it takes it a step further and gives you motivation to run.

The police are after you for a reason you are innocent for, so you are free to run away, to flee, and you are equipped with the ability to make it. So why don't you? Afraid of missing a step and falling to your death? Don't worry, such a blunder is only a scary fall, followed with a relapse of time putting you a few steps prior, allowing you to repeat your steps again, this time, executing it with the grace only you are able to do.

The Bad
As great as experiencing such a surreal game may be you may be prone to headaches with prolonged exposure. There is also the possibility of feeling the urge to go out and try these stunts in real life. I do warn these urges should subside with time and probably should not be acted upon, especially while drunk.

The Bottom Line
Experience it, is all I have to say. If it doesn't capture your imagination and allow you to get lost in its beauty, then that is too bad. I will be there running as fast as I can for you to reach me when you can.

Windows · by Xackery (26) · 2009

Another case of a great idea hampered by creative bankruptcy

The Good
I'll start by saying I was very intrigued by Mirror's Edge when I first read about it in PC Gamer magazine. A game featuring a glorified courier service in a corrupt, semi-future city that uses the parkour as its base of action, you say? And it's a new intellectual property at that?

Sounded good to me.

The player stars as Faith, a runner who works with a network other runners who silently act as illegal couriers by using parkour techniques on the roofs of an unnamed city (though it reminds me a bit of Hong Kong for some reason). The time period isn't specified, but it appears to be the relatively near future. As can be expected, the plot is of a somewhat cyberpunkish nature, without being overtly cyberpunk in the classic sense. Without giving away too much, the city is run by a corrupt cabal of plutocratic fascists who invade its citizens lives through means of pervasive surveillance. A new mayoral candidate promises change, so naturally the in-power administration seeks to prevent this. Faith and the other runners, long able to avoid the regime, are suddenly being pursued more so than before. A few disappear. Faith is of particular interest to the regime, as she knows information that could destroy it. And away we go!...

I suppose I should touch a bit on the graphics. While I'm not graphics hound, in games such as this good, clear graphics are important because you obviously must see where you're going. And I must say they are very, very nice. They are not to the level of Crysis, but what game is? Both outdoor and indoor areas are a joy to look at. A good system is still recommended though. On my system, I didn't experience any choking whatsoever. The game also has animated cutscenes, the style of which reminds a bit of TV shows like Samurai Jack and some of Peter Chung's work.

The gameplay is a little reminiscent of third-person platformers like Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia, involving many death-defying jumps, wall-hangs, and the like to progress through a mission. The game however is in the first-person format, and though that seems a bit illogical due to the stunts the player is expected to perform, it doesn't deter. I was admittedly skeptical at first, but was pleasantly surprised at the fluidity of Faith's movement and the responsiveness of the controls.

The level design, while not absolutely spectacular, is among the better I've seen the last few years. The bulk of the missions involve running across skyscraper rooftops, looking for just the right pipe or edge to jump to while evading the city's security forces. Such scenarios are the game's signature, and will definitely get your adrenaline going, especially if you have a fear of heights like myself. However, there a few missions require you to enter a building, oftentimes a large office suite, but also a subway station, a mall, and even deep subterranean areas in the sewers. While I enjoyed the rooftop capers, I think the indoor areas were my personal favorites, due to the fact that the cramped quarters made Faith's parkour techniques more challenging to pull off, and also required the player to be very observant for the odd vent or narrow space in a wall. Also, the game has an option where objects that Faith can use to jump or grapple will shine a bright crimson color so the player isn't lost as to where to go next. The can be turned on and off in the menu settings.

But the game isn't just running, there's also combat involved. Typical security guards, armored paramilitary grunts, and choppers are all present to stop you. Faith has a small arsenal of martial arts moves at her disposal to incapacitate or kill enemies, including relieving them of firearms. While Faith is able to use the firearms she confiscates, pistols are the only gun she can carry while running or performing any stunts. The rifles are naturally too cumbersome and heavy for this, though there are times when they can be useful in mowing down enemies who are shooting at you while your trying to jump to that one particular platform. Much of the time though I didn't use the rifles, because the enemies would often just keep coming the longer you hang around an area, so it's best to just run while you can.

Another cool little feature is the option to run races outside of the game's story mode. Beating the game unlocks courses, and if you have an EA account, you can compete with people online. It probably won't occupy a lot of your time, but it's nice that it was included.

The Bad
This title obviously has some good things going for it. But I know I'm not alone when I say that it does have some crippling elements that keep it from joining the ranks of my favorite games.

For one, the plot. The story to me felt very dry and underdeveloped. The game does delve a little into the background of the city's totalitarianism and how Faith became a runner, but I would like to have seen more. It didn't help me to understand her as much as it should have, but more of a tacked-on footnote. Also, the primary story I described at the beginning is a good narrative framework, if a bit on the hackneyed side. The way it's told to the player, the whole thing just didn't feel sinister enough to me. Apparently, this city's terrible, fascist rulers that killed many citizens are supposed to be something to be feared, but they came off as a two-bit operation that's about as scary as Bullwinkle's nemeses Boris and Natasha. Coupled with the aforementioned animated cutscenes (which feel out of place somehow), the game is attempting to have a cinematic feel, and just fails at it.. The ending also didn't really resolve the main story...I can only assume that it'll be picked up on later.

In my opinion, the game would have been better if it had taken a more RPG-like stance and focused on Faith delivering packages, aka her damn job. It felt more like the star of the game was the city itself, instead of Faith, as it should've been. An Elder Scrolls styled approach would have worked very well for this game. A semi-open world city where Faith must find her way over (and under) the rooftops to complete a mission would've been a much more satisfying experience. And still, the main plot wouldn't have been constrained by this and could have easily found its way into the fray. I can't for the life of me understand why the game didn't go in this direction. Overall, the game just does not convey the atmosphere it was supposed to. Or maybe it's the other way around. I'm not sure.

The combat was also very frustrating to me. I understand that the developers were trying to create tension during the runs, but there are times when it feels that enemies are just there to annoy me and nothing else. Also, Faith's self-defense techniques must executed on a dime, lest you be pummeled with a rifle butt and shot in the face. When you add to this the fact that speed and efficiency are key in this game, you may find yourself falling to your death...a lot...because you're just trying to escape bullets. As I mentioned before, although you can use the firearms, you may only get off three to six shots before the ammo depletes, and the pistol is the only gun you can run with. To me the mere fact that you're trying to jump and mantle across dangerous areas without making like Wile E. Coyote and plummeting into the ravine is more than enough to keep the tension going, without the generic paramilitary goons taking potshots at you. Fighting action is not this game's strong suit. Just run when you can.

The "runner's vision", wherein objects shine red to help you find your path, is also inconsistent. Some objects don't highlight until you're very close to them, and by that time, it may be too late to perform a stunt. I determined that it was useless and turned it off. That was even bigger mistake because objects I thought I could grasp or jump to didn't work and I ate the pavement as a result. It's no surprise that the player should be prepared for some of the ol' trial and error on the best route to take. And trust me, due to the lack of quicksave, you'll be running many of the same areas multiple times. The game is advertised as being short, but it won't feel that way.

I probably shouldn't neglect to mention any technical errors. The main problem I had was random menu lock-ups and the occasional desktop crash while in-game. And because there is no quicksave, the game's checkpoint system didn't save in time, and I'd have to do a whole part of the mission over again. The patch seemed to fix it though, so definitely download it before playing.

The Bottom Line
I know it probably seems like I just tore the game a new one in the previous section, but I'm honestly not trying to steer anyone away. I just want everyone to be aware of the downsides to the game. It just could've been so much more than what it was; there was ample material here that wasn't exploited to its full potential. In fact, many problems could simply be solved by the addition of a quicksave feature. That said, the game for all it's faults was actually quite fun. Even with the frustrations, the jumping, mantling, and grappling is too entertaining to pass up, especially for its current bargain price of $20. If a sequels arrive down the line, hopefully it will be the game that this one should have been.

Windows · by HandofShadow (49) · 2009

With a little more effort, it would have been awesome, but alas...

The Good
I don't usually pay too much attention to game graphics, especially when some perfectly good games are unnecessarily ripped apart due to having even slightly inferior graphics when compared to some latest blockbuster. But I have to praise Mirror's Edge in this respect because it's simply gorgeous. Besides jaw-dropping graphics and fluid animation, the character design is also great and most importantly, the game is full of color, which is a good thing considering how brownish-gray dystopias dominate gaming today.

The color red seems to what we see the most, as it marks the direction you need to go in, but as a great design choice, this can also be turned off, making going forward a constant puzzle, which is always a good thing. The core gameplay of Mirror's Edge feels amazing at first. The fluid movement, the speed and the expertly crafted close-quarters combat are all great things, but the best thing about the game is how you can constantly stay in motion if you're good enough. The fact that you can technically advance in the game without gunning everyone down is also a plus.

I liked the main characters, the protagonist Faith, her sister Kate and of course, the resident "voice with an Internet connection" Merc, and the game has an interesting background story. The ending is also beautiful, thanks to the music. Unfortunately...

The Bad
...it is not taken advantage of, and the main plot just feels thin. Though the cartoon-style cutscenes are well-made, there just aren't enough of them (I never thought I'd say this). We should know more about the characters in order to care about them. Now, many die but nothing really made me emotional, although when Faith and her sister first hug in the game, I at least got close.

Though the main ideas behind this game sound good on paper, towards the end, the game just gets infuriatingly difficult. Faith can't take much damage while Blues keep coming in greater and greater numbers, especially when it would be nicer to have more time to stop and think Though you can steal weapons from enemies (and in my case, this became mandatory) the shooting controls are rather bad and even though the enemies seem to have bottomless magazines, Faith always runs out of ammo in an instant.

Because of these difficult, enemy-filled segments, the game gets repetitive since some scenes (especially the one with Ropeburn) have to be repeated over and over and over and over and... the point is, while death doesn't send you too far back, the repetition still gets on your nerves. Despite this, the game still falls far too short. Mine lasted around five hours, though most will probably breeze through even faster, and as great as the ending was, my primary reaction was "that was it already?!".

The Bottom Line
A first-person action-adventure for those bored of shooters and looking for something original. Though the game starts out strong and had loads of potential, it stills doesn't quite follow through and its main weaknesses are repetitiveness and short length. Still worth a try.

Xbox 360 · by Zokolov (49) · 2012

Beauty of running free on a street while forgetting lamp before You.

The Good
Look Amazing. Inspired by Yamakasi. City has color tones which feels great and even helps in guiding You trough.

Feel Amazing running, jumping, "diving", rolling. being chased, kicking door, wall sliding, "skying".....

Originality Main idea is nice. The rest is taken pretty much verbatim from parkour. I have no problems with that. In fact just existence of this game means that there is something more than brainless shooters and mmorpgs.

I thought I have a gem until the flaws have surfaced......Flow which You create blurs all the mistakes for some time.

The Bad
Story. They shouldn't have included it. It is a pain to watch. Story about bad government, who keeps the city clean(!), and few runners who bring end to it. I don't buy it. It has some potential but the presentation feels like déjà vu of some fps-like z-movie story.

Most of time You don't know where to go next. Although it might seem to be real just kills flow. I replayed it and was lost several times because I just didn't see where to go. If You ever played adventure game then it feels like exactly like that. Certain places are unreachable and they don't look like they are. Certain places are reachable and they look like they're not. And I am not talking about jumping puzzles.

Controls aren't good. I am comparing this with Prince of Persia series, which had very good controls. The way they did jump from wall (sequence of [special key][jump key]) gets too much time to get used to. Why it is not an arrow (or arrow and jump key), which is more obvious. Wall run / climb might have been better done by having separate key instead of relying on angle towards wall. Human have problems with recognizing angles in 3d.

Game is being anal at wrong places. Jumping. Which is one of key elements. Having to time the jumps, like it used to be in tomb raider, so You won't miss the ledge by one inch is painful. It happens only at those long-jumps and Your keyboard is so scared of being punished that she bring even more punishment upon her because of her trembling. And that's not only jumping. Also the way how hero grabs ledges - sometimes it is sometimes it is not automatical.

User interface / menu. Can't be controlled just by keyboard. List of levels without any aid of how they actually look. Yes there are 3d models at one place but it's like telling a difference between grey box and grey box.

The Bottom Line
You'll have great time feeling like one of Yamakasi. Unfortunately start and end of a jump feels like throwing a dice .............. It's shame they polished just how the gem looks and didn't even think about the one who's gonna wear it.

Windows · by hribek (28) · 2009

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