Despite being out for a little while now, I only recently picked up Mirrors Ege for the Xbox 360, due in part to Mr. Pentadact’s musings on the subject, and due rather more in part to the nice pricetag of £19.99 at my local Amazon website. Anyway, whatever the reasoning behind it, I was now the proud owner of Mirror’s Edge – a highly anticipated title scoring mixed reviews across the board.
The story mode (if you can call it that – I generally refer to it as the untimed mode) revolves around a ‘Runner’ called Faith, whose job it is to deliver some kind of dubious package to people without the all-knowing fascist police people running the city finding out. However, that doesn’t really come into the actual game, as the story starts as soon as you stop doing said job, and instead start being on the run for some crime or other. The rest of the game is pretty much a platformer from the first person perspective, with little fight scenes breaking up the levels.
So, does Mirrors Edge do it’s job well? I would argue whole-heartedly that it does, for the most part. While at the beginning of the game you might find yourself throwing your controller/keyboard/potted plant at the screen as Faith misses the ledge she hit right into and proceeds to fall very quickly towards the floor several stories below. However, once you get the feel of the game, and learn all the little tricks and moves you need to progress, the game becomes very fluid in its movement. Quite a few times during the game I managed to pull off some pretty damned impressive stunts, after which I just had to pause the game and run through my head what I had just managed. At it’s best, the game almost removes any thinking from what you’re doing, and you act solely on instinct.
This, however, only works if there’s an immediately obvious way to go. There have been equally numerous times where I’ve pulled off a great string of moves flinging myself from rooftop to rooftop before heading where I think I’m meant to go, before jumping into thin air and plummeting down to the ground, swearing profusely.
Speaking of swearing profusely, the combat in Mirrors Edge can be irritating, to say the least. On easy and medium it can be a bother, but once you get to hard difficulty you find that you can be playing the same encounter with the enemy up to 20 times, each time dieing in a slightly different, but no less aggravating, way. Again, once you get used to the system Mirrors Edge uses in fighting, it can too become a fun challenge. For example, if you just run in and attempt to take them all out at once, you’ll be dead before you lant a flying kick. However, the nack is to isolate and separate the enemy, so that while you’re taking one of them down nobody else is shooting you. Once you get the hang of it, fighting works just as well as the running.
The story mode is only a small part of the main game – lasting around six hours in total – whereas the place you’ll be spending most of your time will be in the time trials and speed runs of the different levels. The online leaderboards, as well as the use of ghosts to show you your old times on the time trials means that you’ll always have soemthing to try to beat, and the different ways of playing the main game (there are, for example, acheivements for not getting shot in an entire chapter, not shooting an enemy for the entire game, and different strings of moves to master) means that while it is a short game, it looks like it will be getting more play time out of me than another, longer game. The game arrived three days ago, and since then I have completed the entire game three times, and and gain back to do the speedruns now.
Brilliant game, if you can get past the frustrations that it brings with it, you’ll have the time of your life.