- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC.
- Suggested Platform: PlayStation 3
- Developer: EA DICE
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
- Release Date: 11/11/08 (NA)
- Why Play It?: Great concept and gameplay. Pretty visuals and soundtrack.
- Why Skip It?: Less freedom that you’d think, cutscenes are practically Esurance commercials.
Mirror’s Edge was one of those games that I downloaded the demo for and instantly fell in love. As a matter of fact, I played the demo over and over again, until I knew that first stage practically by heart. During the time that Mirror’s Edge was coming out was around the time I was just getting into parkour, and so this game really clicked for me. Not only that, but the ending theme is awfully beautiful.
Mirror’s Edge is a gorgeous parkour game. You’ll run, jump and climb all over the city in and effort to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. The objectives are very bare-bones, but getting to where you need to be almost feels like a puzzle in a way. You may need to try multiple routes and methods until you figure out what gets you to where you need to go. You’ll jump between rooftops, run on train tracks, climb up construction sites, and crawl through sewers to reach your objectives. The parkour movements feel very fluid and realistic; you’ll need to use your momentum to get to where you need to go. You’ll do basic balancing and climbing maneuvers as well as more advanced parkour skills like wall climbing or wall running.
You’ll see the Flow, an invisible energy that flows through all things as bright red objects, objects that Faith can interact and maneuver with. Not only that, but the city is often painted in only a few clors at a time, making for a really stylized, attractive environment. You’ll also be faced with enemies to harass you on your way, but combat is not the main focus in Mirror’s Edge, it’s running. So you can beat your opponents up, or even disarm their guns and use them against each other, but your character, Faith, is very frail, and rightly so. Trying to avoid combat or taking on foes one at a time will be your key to victory, not a guns blazing style. Once you complete the story, you can go back and find the hidden messenger bags, try for a fastest time, or try other time trial courses, so there is a bit of replayability after the story.
The story of Mirror’s Edge is one of freedom and self expression, as well as a self contained story within itself. You play as Faith, a Runner in a huge city that oppresses their populace by monitoring all forms of communication. The Runners take messages and pass them from people to people so the government cannot monitor those messages. Usually, the police leave the Runners alone, and the Runners leave the police alone, and everyone just does their job. That being said, one day the police get more proactive in stopping the the Runners for some reason. Not only that, but near the election for the new mayor, the popular candidate who had promised great change in the city is murdered, and Faith’s sister is framed for the crime.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Faith is seen fleeing from the scene. Thus begins a story about trying to prove Faith’s sister’s innocence while trying to figure out what is going on with city, and the not-so-great mayor candidate who still lives. It’s an interesting story, but the real shining star is the gameplay.
A few gripes of Mirror’s Edge include the trial and error style gameplay, the more linear than you’d think levels, and the cheesy cutscene style. Some stages you will just get lost on. I know on my first playthrough, I got near the end, got stuck, and put it down for a bit before coming back and finishing it. You may need to try every little thing before you figure out what you’re supposed to do and where you’re supposed to go. Parkour gives a sense of freedom of movement. While Mirror’s Edge does this really well in the controls and animations, the levels sometime feel awfully linear, like there isn’t really a freedom of “go where ever you want to”.
This can sometimes break the immersion. The cutscenes are probably my only gripe with the game, and they’re pretty much agreed upon as bad. Why? They are the same exact style as the Esurance commercials. It kind of takes away from the story, but it’s really only a minor complaint and a choice of preference. Lastly, the only thing that really makes the PS3 version superior to the Xbox 360 version, is that you can use the DuelShock 3’s gyroscopic motion control when you’re balancing across beams and bars.
Mirror’s Edge, to me, will always stand out as a Best Game Ever. Whether it’s because of the believable, beautiful, and stylized city, freedom of movement, or just that it came to my attention at a great time, I’ll never know for sure, but I still believe that Mirror’s Edge is a Best Game Ever. Also I’m super-excited for Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst coming out this May!