Mirror’s Edge is a first-person action-platformer video game, which was developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and was first announced in July 2007. Published by Electronic Arts (EA), the game was released in November 2008 for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 home gaming consoles, followed by a PC release in January 2009. Mirror’s Edge is using the Unreal Engine 3 with new enhanced lightning by Illuminate Labs.
Mirror’s Edge is a game never before seen in the history and portfolio of Electronic Arts. DICE are known for their continuous development of their successful Battlefield franchise, and despite that, they decided to depart from it and try to make something fresh in order to spice up the First-Person Genre. That is where Mirror’s Edge comes in.
Mirror’s Edge is the most astonishing platformer ever to face the next generation gaming scene and the First-Person Shooter genre. The game aims to introduce the freedom of movement of the “parkour” extreme sport in a never before seen first-person platformer, which feels pretty much like a first-person Prince of Persia, or a first-person Assassin’s Creed (from the acrobatics point of view). Mirror’s Edge concept is based on that freedom and those acrobatic movements.
Mirror’s Edge is set in a modern clean city where a totalitarian government has carried out a strict surveillance policy in order to reduce crime levels to nearly none. This regime has taken over after the “November Riots” events, as explained by “Faith” in the beginning of the game.
Mirror’s Edge tells the story of girl named “Faith”, whose sister is framed for the murder of Robert Pope, a favored candidate who promised to bring change to those totalitarian government policies. Her actual job is to deliver important messages to a community which is avoiding the highly-monitored communications deployed by the government. Her connection to the totalitarian government takes place in the past, where a peaceful protest during the “November Riots” gets out of hand, and her mother gets killed, after which faith runs away from her home to live on the streets and avoid all the “strictness”. Faith Connors becomes a runner after meeting a runner-trainer named Mercury (Merc.), who provides the runners with support and assigns them with jobs.
In Mirror’s Edge, the player takes the perspective of “Faith” in a truly amazing game-play concept. Players have to solve multiple puzzle sequences achieved by acrobatic movements such as leaps, grabs, rolls, slides, running on walls, and other parkour oriented exercises executed across ledges, rooftops and many other platforms. The freedom of movement in Mirror’s Edge offer players the stunning ability to jump across any platform, grab onto any ledge, jump over any gap, and run on any wall.
One key feature in Mirror’s Edge is the realistic first-person perspective which excels in delivering a realistic sense of motion thanks to the incredibly accurate movement of the camera. Not only that the camera movement is tied as much as possible to the character movement, but the first-person view also includes visible limbs and hand-to-hand combat. Faith’s speed builds up rapidly whenever the player starts to run, making the camera “bob up and down” accurate to the speed.
The concept of the game is heavily focused on the flow and momentum of the character’s movement, which means that the player can easily fail to grab a ledge, or fall off a platform if they do not combine strings of movements that are required to successfully complete the given “acrobatic” puzzle, or escape from the blues (the police) in the most efficient way.
When you progress through the game, you will notice that some of the rooms and some of the acrobatic puzzles look familiar. You will also find yourself doing the same strings of moves over and over again to achieve the same objective as before, just in a different height or a different way. This is not something that is supposed to be seen in a game that claims to excel in the “freedom of movement” and this is what makes Mirror’s Edge so “criticized” by some of the gamers out there.
The combat in Mirror’s Edge is not very good. You will often find yourself trying to guess where to execute the next move or just trying to enjoy the flows while getting interrupted by the “blues”, who are sometimes really hard to battle with. Two assistant systems are included in Mirror’s Edge in order to avoid those kinds of situations – The Reaction Time and the Runner Vision. The Reaction Time is a form of “Bullet Time”, which can be activated by the player at any time. Once started, the game motion slows down, allowing the player to plan his next moves carefully. Reaction Time is also used for Tactical Advantage against the “blues”, because players will find themselves often struggling with the hand-to-hand combat without it. Runner Vision is also deployed there to assist the player. As stated above, you will often find yourself trying to guess where to jump or grab while you are running at full speed, increasing the chances of failure by a huge amount. This is where Runner Vision comes in handy. It highlights all the nearby environmental platforms and pieces that are used for progression in a red color. This includes Pipes, Doors, Ramps, and Land able marks. Runner Vision does not always show the best and most efficient way to progress.
Mirror’s Edge also features usable weapons, but it was stated by the producer of it that the game is an action adventure and not a First-Person Shooter. Weapons can often be used to easily get past a huge group of blues by engaging into hand-to-hand combat with the nearest one, and taking his gun afterwards in order to “shoot” the other ones. Weapons can also slow you down depending on what kind of weapon you are carrying. Faith is capable of executing all her acrobatic moves while carrying a pistol, but that is not the case if a sub-machine gun or a sniper is at hand. This actually delivers a smart element of strategy, in which the player has to decide where to trade firearms for agility.
Along with the short Single-Player Campaign, which usually takes from five to six hours to beat, Mirror’s Edge also features an Online Time-Attack mode, which is a huge disappointment. Mirror’s Edge should’ve really been truly amazing if a full multiplayer mode where players can race and compete with each other was included. It sounds really great when you imagine a couple of runners roaming and competing with each other on roof tops. Some great ideas could’ve really spiced this game, but what’s that, is that. In the Time-Attack mode, players can upload their time-scores in an Online Leaderboard, where players can also download ghosts of other players, and compete with them in order to beat their time-record. Playable maps in Time-Attack are unlocked by playing the campaign of Mirror’s Edge.
Mirror’s Edge features an incredible visual style that looks incredibly clean, but can often be rejected by some gamers because of its primary colors. The things that were said until now cannot be compared to the Audio Effects and Sound-Track of Mirror’s Edge. Faith’s gasping sounds, breath and footsteps are truly amazing in combination with the “character tied” camera movements. You can easily feel the speed and tension of the movement. The music-track by Lisa Miskovsky is also truly amazing, and suits the scenario and story-line of the game perfectly.
Overall Mirror’s Edge is one incredibly stunning innovation in the “First-Person” genre. It is a fresh new start for DICE, and I hope that future sequels will actually cross the finish-line from that “start”; delivering the fulfilling innovation they were trying to make with the first portion. Mirror’s Edge is just like a delicious pie that is waiting to be baked. Despite all this, it is surely an amazing first person platformer, which deserves to be tried by everyone. This is one of those games that one large number of players will like, but the other part of them will be irritated by some of its game elements.