Mirror's Edge Review
Flashes of first-person platforming brilliance are overshadowed by generally frustrating trial-and-error game play.
With so many games on the market these days, and with most of them crowded into a select few genres, developers are trying to find new and innovative ways to separate their products from the masses. The most common way in which developers do this is with various gimmicks, and while these ‘gimmicks’ can greatly add to an experience if properly implemented, like with the destruction physics in Red Faction Guerrilla, if not supported by solid game play and story foundations they will do nothing to save the game from mediocrity. Unfortunately, this is the case with Mirrors Edge. It is a game totally compromised of gimmicks held poorly together by a weak story and poorly explained setting. Some of these gimmicks are actually very interesting, and when they come together properly Mirrors Edge can be exhilarating and breath-taking, but most of the time it is simply frustrating and tedious.
The main selling point of Mirrors Edge is that it is a first-person platformer, something that hasn’t really been seen before, and for good reason; it is much harder to judge distance, speed and momentum from the first person view than it is in third person. Dice tries to mitigate this problem by providing a number of visual cues as to where you are supposed to go, the main one being that objects which are of interest to you, aka objects which you can use to progress through the level, glow a bright red. In theory, this should solve the problem of not knowing where you are supposed to go, but in reality this is not the case. Often the objects will remain their normal colour until you go right up to them, and this makes it very hard to know where you are supposed to be going at times. Nothing breaks the flow of free running like having to spend five minutes running around in a small area trying to find where you are supposed to go next, and how you are supposed to get there.
Another more extreme way of finding out where you are supposed to go is to press a button which will point Faith, the protagonist, in the direction of the place which you are supposed to get to. This function is useful at times, but often it shows you the long-term goal instead of the immediate one, and will point you at some object off in the distance without giving you any hints as to how you are supposed to get there. Usually this means taking blind leaps of faith (no pun intended) off buildings in attempts to progress through the level, which reduces much of the time spent playing Mirrors Edge to trial-and-error path-finding.
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