So with Mirror’s Edge Catalyst on the way, let’s take a look at the first one. When I saw the trailer back in the day, I was astonished. Never had I seen a first-person game like this before, I even saw the combat, it looked awesome. But then I saw the reviews and I was put off by it for some reason. Years later I just decided to pick up the game out of the blue for the Xbox 360 seeing as the sequel is coming out on February 2016, and seeing as this is EA, prepare for Online Passes, DLC and Microtransactions because I have little to no ‘faith’ on the AAA gaming industry. Mirror’s Edge, developed by DICE and published by EA and was released in 2008 for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and in 2009 for the PC.
So the game takes place in a city which is pure utopia, where is no crime and everyone can live in peace…but the problem is the city is dominated by a totalitarian regime where you’re monitored for everything from communication to controlling media to banning tobacco and alcohol…and probably video games in general. So for anyone who is opposed to the regime are thrown in prison and some even sentenced to death. So we have 1984: The Video Game, though not too extreme than that story.
So we have Faith, her occupation is a runner who carries information and all sorts of small items around the city; they go against the government and hide in plain sight when they can. One day, she finds her sister Kate in a building in trouble, when she goes there she finds her sister alive and well but Robert Pope dead, he was a candidate who wanted to become mayor to give people their freedom back. Faith finds out that Kate was knocked out by someone who used her gun to shoot Robert Pope dead and so ran away; meaning Kate is now the suspect of the murder, so Faith has to find a way to clear her name and find out who the killer is.
So the game is a first-person parkour where you navigate around the city, pulling tricks to get to places, going over rooftops, across walls, through ventilation shafts, and many more, all done in the style of parkour, you know, going from Assassins Creed to this, it’s very unique. The amount of freedom you have to navigate at is phenomenal and because of this you can perform actions that we usually rake for granted in video games since we usually see them in third-person games, examples include sliding under barriers, over barriers, tumbling, wall-running, and shimmying across ledges and many more.
Also something unique is the lack of a heads-up display (HUD), it’s up to you to figure out where to go, making the game more immersive. But should you have no idea where to go, press a button that will move the camera and point to the area where you need to go or just find anything that is coloured red, if it is, you can use it or climb it or jump on it, when you can use anything red or find some place that takes you to a new area, it’s a sign that you’re progressing. This is called Runner Vision and I really like this usage, you have to think, get your bearings and go for it…or get lucky but this is rare.
I had a great time with the immersive parkour moves you can do when progressing through the levels, but this is one of the most trial and error games I’ve ever played. For first time players of this game, you will die multiple times on every level, you do something, you die, you try again and thankfully, the checkpoints are plentiful so you’ll be able to progress to the part where you died in no time and you can try again, you’ll probably do it over and over again until you get it right and you can progress.
But there will be baddies and you can either run from them if you know where you’re going or you can perform combat attacks on them…and they suck, badly. You see, parkour works for a first-person game, but melée attacks don’t, it’s very awkward to punch and slide kick and whatnot, but the enemy will slide and you’re so slow at moving and he’ll kill you, but you can pick up the fallen enemy’s weapons and use those against other nearby enemies. Now the challenge is that you’re not supposed to use them but by goodness at times it was difficult for me to do and I wanted to finish the level, when you’re using guns, you can’t zoom to properly aim so the shooting is sloppy.
But the polarising part of the game is the city itself, at times it’s uncomfortable at times because of the white set pieces, even some plants are white, but when there are areas that use some sort of colour, it’s beautiful and some can be very vibrant, but with the white city it can be incredibly bright, maybe too bright for some. The music is brilliant, the electronic music for the action moments feels like watching a modern day action movie but for the silent moments, we have soothing ambient music, but my favourite song is Still Alive, yep two of my favourite songs have the title Still Alive, can you guess the other song that has this title, the winner gets a free piece of cake.
Another problem I have are the controls, now usually developers make a game where it can be user friendly, but they’re mostly inputted in a way that utterly confused me, to jump, slide and use combat, you use the shoulder buttons and considering that we have the Xbox 360 controller, it’s very awkward to use and thus, hard to understand and remember, which was shocking that I was able to finish the game, without using a walkthrough at all. So no, if you’re starting to play games, I wouldn’t recommend this game just yet.
Overall, Mirror’s Edge is a highly original, highly fantastic game with some flaws, the cutscenes made in flash is ok but cheapens the product; nevertheless, I’m glad I played it. The story was ok but with a weak ending, but the main character Faith is a great character with a lot of great character elements, a highly athletic and very interesting character and considering that she’s a far cry from Aiden Pearce, that’s great (I still hate Aiden Pearce). It’s not perfect, but it’s a nice enough departure to something fresh and something I’ve never played. So for those who keep moaning that the gaming industry is old hat, prove yourself (nearly) wrong and try it out for yourself.
I saw a trailer for the sequel…or prequel…no, a reboot of the entire game’s universe Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and I like what I’m seeing. I also heard of not being able to use weapons but the combat will be more refined. I look forward to pre-owning this game when…well yeah, £40 for a new game? Nah son!
You can get it for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.