Mirror's Edge Review
Flashes of first-person platforming brilliance are overshadowed by generally frustrating trial-and-error game play.
Mirrors Edge takes place in a City which clearly has an interesting story behind it; everything is incredibly clean and organized, police are everywhere, it looks like something straight out of George Orwell’s 1984. Unfortunately, you aren’t given any background information about the city whatsoever. Even the main story in Mirrors Edge is confusing and very poorly told; you are a runner who delivers packages to... someone and from... someone else while the government doesn’t like this so they send a load of military personnel after you. What the packages contain and why you are delivering them is left unexplained. A little ways into the game the plot gets more personal when some... guy gets killed and your sister is framed at which point you have to go do... something, what that is and why you are doing it is very unclear, but presumably you want to and are trying to save your sister. Characters appear in cut scenes with no introduction and suddenly are playing a central role. Most of this is told through animated cut scenes in between missions, which really don’t make a lot of sense when connected.
Aside from the single player campaign, which is all too brief at around 5 or 6 hours, there are time trial races in which you must attempt to complete a circuit in as little time as possible. Your time will be compared to others online, but the novelty of these circuits wares off very fast and you likely won’t spend more than a few hours on these races, unless you really love the platforming in this game and want a shot at the leader board (which seems to be filled with impossible times likely produced by trainers).
The biggest strength of Mirrors Edge is undeniably the visual presentation. The graphics are highly impressive from both a technical and an artistic standpoint; indoor areas look startlingly realistic while an interesting use of colours make this game very beautiful and eye catching. In outdoor areas almost all building exteriors are bright white, while indoor areas have vibrant splashes of red, green, yellow and orange. Textures and lighting are astounding in many places; in some hallways no game on the market looks as good as Mirrors Edge. It also runs fairly well thanks to the optimization that has gone into Unreal Engine 3, I experienced no crashing or stability issues. Less impressive is the audio; while detailed, I experience a massive imbalance in how loud things were (this may have been caused by my specific hardware configuration), for instance voices were very quiet, and barely audible, while sounds of the city like traffic and wind were deafening. Even fiddling about in the audio settings and turning dialogue volume way up didn’t help much.
Overall, Mirrors Edge feels more like a showcase for new game mechanics than an actual fleshed out video game. At its best, ME is exhilarating and beautiful, at its worst, and it is at its worst most of the time, ME is frustrating and tedious. With a bit of tweaking, DICE could have made Mirrors Edge into a very interesting game, but as it stands there is little joy to be had with this short and tedious first-person platformer.
Our ratings for Mirror's Edge on PC out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
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