Mirror’s Edge

What’s to be said about Mirror’s Edge when just about all of its strengths and flaws are readily apparent in less than an hour of play, and are decently summed up on its wikipedia article? It’s a really cool idea, and it’s sometimes exciting to jump around rooftops (if occasionally janky), but the restrictive linear setpieces are totally the wrong match for it–not an attractive design criticism, since it essentially comes down to “Have a bigger budget.” Gameplay is a trial-and-error process of restarting from checkpoints until you figure out the correct sequence of objects to leap to while guards annoy you. Better idea: take away all the guns except laser-pointed snipers who will always shoot after a specific time delay, serving more as a puzzle element. Make guards feel less like annoying flies, or remove them entirely–put more events on a timer if you want players to hustle.

The animated cutscenes were an odd choice, and a bad one–the in-engine graphics look good and wouldn’t have pulled the player away as much. The story was convoluted and I barely remember what it even was–some shadowy bad guy organization doesn’t like freedom, couriers, democracy, or cops either, I guess–cementing my opinion of Rhianna Pratchett as a bit of a B-movie game writer. At least unlike Tomb Raider, where every bit of movement follows a script, here I actually somewhat appreciate the fact that I can actually fail because my alignment of a jump was off by just a few degrees. The places I’m meant to jump to are still totally pre-decided, though.

I actually am interested in its promised sequel, since it’s supposed to be more of an open-world. Build your city and let me just run around parkouring and delivering packages to random dudes, and I’ll have a great time. The fact that you spend a combined total of more than five seconds crawling through vents in the existing game seems like evidence that somebody was just phoning it in, or forgot what the allure of their own game was.

The camera occasionally gave me motion sickness, and I had to take long breaks. I think the perspective and gameplay scheme works in theory, and it should be praised for trying something new, but the execution could have used some more work. The game took me 7 hours, not looking for collectibles at all, and I was glad when it was over.

The reviewer believes this game stands above total mediocrity. It has something going for it, but ultimately few real merits. Most of the time, it isn’t fun, and doesn’t otherwise provide any sort of emotional payoff. Even though it does some cool things, you should play something else instead.

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