Date: 10-26-2010 23:54
Reviewer: Zahir

Type: PS3
Genre: First Person Action-Adventure
Developer: DICE

In a market cluttered with brown and murky shooters, it can be hard to find a game that is truly unique. I decided to go back and play one game I believe to be the exact opposite of the endless stream of modern warfare shooters we have come to expect. This game is, you guessed it, Mirror's Edge. DICE released Mirror's Edge for the PS3, 360, and PC in 2008 for $60. As of this writing, the price has dropped to $20.

So, what makes Mirror's Edge unique? Well, the bland, dirty, war-torn areas we are used to seeing in games is replaced with a bright, huge, and sterile city that is heavily surveyed and suppressed. Faith Conners, the game's protagonist, is a Runner, a messenger of sorts. She runs on the rooftops of this beautiful yet corrupt city to deliver messages between rebel groups that want to take down the government. Another thing that makes this game unique is that the focus isn't on the combat. In fact, it is possible to beat the entire game without using a gun (There is a even a trophy for doing this). The main focus is exploring the city, and learning how to string parkour moves together to reach different areas.

The areas are fairly large, so the game gives you a few ways to get an idea where to go. If you hold , you will look in the general direction you need to be going. The game also has Runner Vision, which paints certain objects red that will help you get to your goal (red doors, pipes, etc) For the most part, these all work, but there can be a few moments where you can get absolutely lost and lose all your momentum while trying to navigate around.

Mirror's Edge really shines when you are just sprinting at full speed and stringing together wall runs with vaults and other flashy moves, it is stuff you have seen all the time in third-person games, but it is a whole new experience to do all of this from a first person perspective. It is a pure rush. Unfortunately, these moments don't happen as much as they should. As you progress through the game, you go through sewers, office buildings, and factories in addition to the aforementioned rooftops. These areas don't give you as many opportunities to experience the free running feel, and instead forces you to deal with Mirror's Edge main flaw: forced combat. As mentioned earlier, the game tries to not focus on combat, but there are a few spots where it just cannot be helped, and then major flaws with the game design make themselves apparent.

Faith as a few tricks up her sleeve combat wise: she can disarm her pursuers by timing a grab when their weapons turn red, she also can string parkour into combat, doing wallrun kicks and the like. Faith CAN use guns, but she can only use what is left in the clip. After it is gone, she throws the gun away. Depending on the gun's size, it can also hinder her movement (A pistol or uzi can be carried around while going full speed, a shotgun cannot) Faith is powerful, but she is human. Therefore, she can only take a few hits before she goes down. This can be the cause for severe frustration, especially in the later stages in the game.

The story takes a backseat to the action for the most part. The narration quietly steers Faith to all the locales, but the story is never fully detailed, leaving a lot to be desired. Most of the game's cutscenes take place in between stages, covering up the load times. They have a very similar artstyle to the esurance commercials. Sadly, DICE could not render all the cutscenes in the fantastic in-game engine due to budget constraints, but these animated cutscenes get the job done. The story mode took me roughly four hours to beat, it is definitely not a long game, but the time trial and speed run modes bring extra playability to the table, as long as you aren't the type of gamer that throws your controller across the room when you can't beat a time.

All in all, Mirror's Edge is a good game that deserves a sequel to polish out the flaws and take this unique idea to new areas.
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