Mirror’s Edge

Reviewed by Father | 21 January 2009
Genre: Action | Publisher: Electronic Arts | Developer: Dice
TOG Score
Members (av.)
The Good
  • Innovative in it’s concepts
  • Interesting visuals backed up by PhysX
The Bad
  • Too many having to escape sequences
  • Widescreen support only in 16:9

ME has been one of those games that had me excited from the word go, all the footage that was released to the press over the past 12 months was quite impressive and certainly fueled my desire for something new in the first person genre. 
I briefly played ME on the 360 when the demo was released a few months back, just enough to confirm that this was indeed something I wanted to pick up and play once it had made it to the PC.
The PC is without a doubt the better version as it supports higher texture resolutions, nicely smoothens out all the straight edges with insane levels of Anti Aliasing available and as an added bonus also has a visual threat with PhysX support.  The PhysX support doesn’t enhance the mechanics of the gameplay but it ads some very nice visual effects and knowing that they are there you can’t help but spotting them.  The controls also nicely translate to mouse and keyboard, you also get an additional CD which has the theme song and a few remixes as a bonus, the theme song certainly tends to grow on you.

The game puts you in the athletic body of a female character called Faith who is known in the world as a runner, ME depicts a totalitarian society where the flow of information is restricted and runners are the only way get your messages across. Think of it as a world where Minister Conroy who wants to block the internet today becomes the next Australian Prime Minister.  if you ever needed evidence that the first person genre can do more then just shooters Mirrors Edge is it
All joking aside (lets hope) if you ever needed evidence that the first person genre can do more then just shooters Mirrors Edge is it.

Ironically enough the one part that ME doesn’t do well is the shooting/action sequences, disarming an enemy can be quite tricky at times and when faced with multiple opponents it becomes pretty much impossible. All other game mechanics required to navigate this rooftop world are implemented very well with the right level of challenge.  The game typically guides in the right direction by providing you with what is known as runner vision, this simply means that the objects you can use to jump, climb etc are highlighted in bright red there certainly are plenty of sequences where you are faced with a “how on earth do I get up there” feeling.  So the difficulty level here feels just right.
Not all parts of the game are set outdoor either, you spend a fair bit of time inside buildings, industrial plants, subway stations etc so it strikes the balance of variety in its levels just right.

The major problem that ME suffers from an identity crisis as to whether it wants to be an action/shooter first person game or first person platformer set in this real world environment.
The latter is what works well, the latter is what is enjoyable, the latter is what you want ME to be, now a bit of a shooting here and there doesn’t sound like a bad thing you might think but you are confronted with these intense action scenarios so frequently that it ends taking away from that what makes ME so great.  I want to be able to explore these rooftops, I want to be able to solve the puzzle as to what path I need to take to get across to the next roof and I want to immerse myself in this environment, take a breather and look around.  Regretfully too often the game simply does not allow you to do this.  Undoubtedly with the aim of keeping you on your feet and keeping things exciting it becomes a game where you are being chased by blues (the in game term for the police) and fired upon from a chopper, it just gets annoying and given that the combat itself when faced with an opponent is somewhat clunky doesn’t help matters.  So rather then being stuck with solving puzzles you end up repeating the same action scene just that once too many as you get killed quite easily.
ME suffers from an identity crisis as to whether it wants to be an action/shooter first person game or first person platformer
I can’t help but wondering if this design decision was one where the game tried to appeal to the big FPS audience?
It’s not exactly a deal breaker in such a way where it ruins the game but its the game biggest fault.

The game’s story is driven forward through cartoon style animated sequences, the high contrast colour palettes uses through the game carry across here and whether this cartoon approach matches the games atmoshpere will probably purely come down to personal preference.

ME is for all intents and purposes a first person game that is easy to pick up and play, despite some of it’s flaws ME is a breath of fresh air and I have to applaud the team behind it for bringing something innovative to the gaming scene which sometimes feels so saturated with repetition. 

So who should buy Mirror’s Edge, anyone with a fear of heights!

What do you think of Mirror’s Edge?
Post a review below!

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Member reviews

I beat it on 360 - fallofenosis |
| 22 January 2009

I actually thought this was a great game myself. I beat it about 3 times on 360, and loved every minute of it. The running is fast paced and there were many a time when my heart was literally pumping. Father is correct in the fact that the "shooter" aspects of the game are a little shaky and to what I feel to be a last thought to the game. Overall this game is DEFINITELY worth buying and playing as it is a breath of fresh air for the first person genre. But I would advise against it if you are thinking it is going to be much of a literal first person SHOOTER. It is not. But after all that's why I bought it. Action wise it's most of the time easier to take someone down than it is to disarm or shoot them. Great game to play a few times through, but the overall likelihood of you playing it more than that is... well unlikely.

Sorry - fallofenosis |
| 22 January 2009

Forgot to rate it. My apologies.

PC version is geat too. - Drac |
| 24 January 2009

Father hit on all of the points that I would have mentioned. Fantastic and fresh concept makes this a must have. The PC version is a little heavy on system requirements but not unreasonably so - it is a very shiney looking game after all. I ran it at 1280x800 with everything maxed and 4xAA at over 60 frames a second. Given the nature of the visuals and the speed of the game, I found that resolution isn't eveything. The visuals are bold and contrasting so high fremerates and a decent AA setting will look better in-motion than higher resolutions without AA, and you'll almost always be in-motion. Most people single out the combat as this game's biggest flaw, and rightly so. It fails here because it turns the gameplay upside down. The running parts of the game are all about flow, you can see what you have to do ahead of time and as long as you maintain flow everythign just kinda works. Combat, however, is all about fast reactions. You can't see the solution ahead of time, and you're presented with tasks to perform only split seconds before you need to execute them which makes it all rather fustrating. The tutorials also imply that the running aspects can be mixed with the combat, and I'm sure this was an intended design goal but given the reactionary nature of combat the two just don't click like the tutorials and loading screens imply they ought to. Hopefully combat will be refined in the sequel, and there ought to be a sequel. The uniqueness and fresh take on first person adventure holds a wealth of merit, the team behind this has done an aweosme job and I can't wait for more.

One or the other - Telan |
| 24 January 2009

Even the creators admit that the combat side is shaky. The goal of the game is Parkour running. It's been shown in such movies as Bourne Supremacy. They wanted to bring it to platforms and the PC. I played it through once and was looking for help all through it. The place where the game shines though is the racing. Just trying to get through a course as quickly as possible. I have to admit that there are obviously some people who cheated when they post completing a level in 30 seconds when there appears to be no way to get from start to finish in under 2 minutes. I find it highly questionable. But if you just play against yourself or friends it's a nice change of pace from the average multi-player shooter where someone has all the good spots mapped out and lies in wait for you to come along and die by their hand. The racing feels more like head to head against the clock. Or just against yourself trying to better your time.

Like new music you get - Karmicfloss |
| 3 February 2009

Yeah it's a pretty cool game, but the combat is definitely clunky and unpolished, could've used a lot less of it and the whole chopper chase sequences do tend to grate after a few deaths. Absolutely a breath of fresh air though, and the art direction is coolio. Overall it is one of those games that is like a new track or album you get, which you enjoy immensly when you first hear it, repeats are cool....to a point. Then your inclination towards it begins to fade and you find yourself sighing that familiar sigh after missing that wall run for the fifth time in a row, and that chopper sound effect just keeps ringing in your ears.........

Great game - wytefang |
| 18 October 2009

I've read several reviews and comments online about this game and I still don't quite get the griping about the combat - I've had no problems with it and the game clearly shows you how to implement combat moves, all the while STRESSING that players should AVOID combat wherever and whenever possible. I'm not sure what to think about these complaints. If the buttons didn't fire the guns or something, I could see the grumbling. ::: shrug ::: Super fresh new idea and game genre, all things considered. The key design decision that pushes this game into a higher-quality tier is the cool dystopian feel of the city and the clever use of color to define your surroundings AND to add a helpful tool for free-running players. So cool. Cool game. A bit too short and at times there's not enough guidance for getting out of a level. At others, a bit too linear and obvious. I'm very much looking forward to the inevitable sequel. :)

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