A Mirror has many shiny, but somewhat jagged, Edges: a reveiw by scotth266

Alright then, last week I had the privilege of playing a friend's copy of Mirror's Edge for the Xbox 360. I went into this game not expecting much: mixed reveiws from professionals, as well as scores of mild contempt from my peers, had made me extremely wary of Dice's strange 1st-person running/platformer thing.

However, when I got into the game myself, a soothing feeling began to creep into every cell in my body. I gazed out onto a bizarre new game and found something unique, something FUN.

I suppose I should give some backstory: you play as a Runner, Faith, that earns a living running around on roofs delivering messages for people who don't want the crazy goverment folks to get their info.


image

I've seen you before somewhere, haven't I?

You get drawn into a conspiracy when a up-and-rising politician out to make reforms is murdered, and your sister and you are framed. The story works well enough, but the enviornment sells it. The city that you wind up traversing so much of seems to be the very image of utopia, but when you look around you see subtle hints that things are not so well in town. Newsposts on current events, as well as blatant propaganda in favor of the people running this city, are displayed every once in a while to show you what it's like, living in this world that provides its citizens with only the illusion of being free. However, not enough is done with the story. It winds up being predictable after a while, and if you don't appreciate the art in the Esurance commercials, the style of the non-in-game cutscenes will most likely make you want to curl up and weep. It's a real pity too, because one or two in-game scenes are simply far more involving.

Most of the game is essentially a platformer: you figure out how to get from point A to point B via a series of runs, jumps, and slides. The controls feel awkward at first, but soon enough you don't even notice: the contoller becomes a natural part of your own body.
When the enemies come out to play, things become even easier. The combat in the game is absurdedly simple. Here's what you do:

1)Lure an enemy away from the group far enough so that you can escape later if his backup decides to care that you beat his buddy up.
2)Punch him in the face till' he blocks you.
3)Low kick him when he does, and hit the punch button once more when he keels over.


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NO! BAD MAN GO AWAY! MY ROOF NOW!

This three-step strategy is more than enough to get you the achievement for not firing weapons throughout the whole game, with the sole exception of latter enemies that you can simply outrun. And if you already have the achievement or don't care, you can just hit X for the standard-issue bullet time effect that comes with games these days, disarm an enemy when he tries to smack you in the gob, and shoot his buddy in his manly bits with it. If you use guns, the experience turns into a bland shoot-em-up until your gun runs out of ammo, and that disappoints me, because while the fisticuffs was a bit lacking, it still felt individual. The shooting bits just don't belong in Mirror's Edge, and it shows.

The audio and visual quality of this game is great, and Faith animates well, giving you a deep sense of immersion. The movement was well done: rarely has a game been this fluid. And while I may gripe and groan about the easiness of the fights, they still feel rather intense and lifelike. Never does the game really break you out of playing it: save for when a truly complicated puzzle comes up or when Faith forgets to grab onto a ledge, thankfully both rare occurances.

Is it worth full price, a whole $60? Not really. And most people will be put off by the inherent trial and error in the game. However, when the price hits $30 or below(if it hasn't already), I would recommend grabbing yourself a copy, or at least renting it to see if it suits your sensibilities. To wrap this all up, Mirror's Edge is a unique title, one that I hope Dice comes back on in the future to improve. If I had to give it a score numerically...I'd give it a high 7/10.

Now then, where are all those nuts I was promised?

EDIT: As this was my first review here, it doesn't have the past reviews section I've included in my later ones. Search for my Braid review if you want to read some of my other work: there are links to all my reviews included thus far.

Well written. I agree with a good many of your points, with one exception: I do believe this game was worth every penny of the $60 just for the sheer uniqueness.

orannis62:
Well written. I agree with a good many of your points, with one exception: I do believe this game was worth every penny of the $60 just for the sheer uniqueness.

True, but something can only be unique for so long, then buyer's remorse begins to settle in.

Flap Jack452:

orannis62:
Well written. I agree with a good many of your points, with one exception: I do believe this game was worth every penny of the $60 just for the sheer uniqueness.

True, but something can only be unique for so long, then buyer's remorse begins to settle in.

Screw buyer's remorse, I didn't buy ME for lasting appeal, I bought it for the singular experience, on which it certainly delivered.

orannis62:

Flap Jack452:

orannis62:
Well written. I agree with a good many of your points, with one exception: I do believe this game was worth every penny of the $60 just for the sheer uniqueness.

True, but something can only be unique for so long, then buyer's remorse begins to settle in.

Screw buyer's remorse, I didn't buy ME for lasting appeal, I bought it for the singular experience, on which it certainly delivered.

I agree with you: it was worth all that based off of uniqueness. I would have said BUY IT NOW, 10/10, but there were some flaws with it, and not everyone will be comfortable paying full price.

That having been said, I must wonder: why 39 veiws and only 2 posters? Is this just something common to the reveiw section in general? I want people's opinions, or else I can't improve on my reveiws in future!

Glad to know that you thought it was good though.

scotth266:

orannis62:

Flap Jack452:

orannis62:
Well written. I agree with a good many of your points, with one exception: I do believe this game was worth every penny of the $60 just for the sheer uniqueness.

True, but something can only be unique for so long, then buyer's remorse begins to settle in.

Screw buyer's remorse, I didn't buy ME for lasting appeal, I bought it for the singular experience, on which it certainly delivered.

I agree with you: it was worth all that based off of uniqueness. I would have said BUY IT NOW, 10/10, but there were some flaws with it, and not everyone will be comfortable paying full price.

That having been said, I must wonder: why 39 veiws and only 2 posters? Is this just something common to the reveiw section in general? I want people's opinions, or else I can't improve on my reveiws in future!

Glad to know that you thought it was good though.

Oh yeah, of course there was bad stuff. I'm not saying it deserved a perfect score, just full price, but then I have the money to spare.

And yeah, that's fairly common in the review section.

I respect the review, well written, and without taking personal opinions on the game and such into account, was overall pleased. Enjoyed the comedy, and the layout was generally visually appealing.
Look forward to the next one
Sorry for the judging, but I'm in the upcoming Review Wars and I'm trying to help myself by reviewing more, might do more detailed later, but I have homework that needs ignoring

I didn't really like ME that well. Really short overall, being forced to combat later on in a game where combat is frowned upon, a go-nowhere story, and abandonment of the concept later on turned me off. Good review though.

I've been thinking of getting this game for a while now, it seems to be quite the experience. Your review might've pushed the scale in the positive direction. I'll see if I can find it somewhere cheap, 50€ on Steam right now, and that's a price I cannot afford currently. In case it turns out the game doesn't fit my taste.

Beefcakes:
I respect the review, well written, and without taking personal opinions on the game and such into account, was overall pleased. Enjoyed the comedy, and the layout was generally visually appealing.
Look forward to the next one
Sorry for the judging, but I'm in the upcoming Review Wars and I'm trying to help myself by reviewing more, might do more detailed later, but I have homework that needs ignoring

No problem. You see, I WANT this reveiw to be judged, it allows me to see my faults and fix them. This is my first reveiw here on the Escapist, and I'm going to be sticking around, so I might as well try to improve what I can, right?

NoMoreSanity:
I didn't really like ME that well. Really short overall, being forced to combat later on in a game where combat is frowned upon, a go-nowhere story, and abandonment of the concept later on turned me off. Good review though.

Thanks! I didn't really feel all that put off by the length, so it didn't stick in my mind while writing this.

Rhayn:
I've been thinking of getting this game for a while now, it seems to be quite the experience. Your review might've pushed the scale in the positive direction. I'll see if I can find it somewhere cheap, 50€ on Steam right now, and that's a price I cannot afford currently. In case it turns out the game doesn't fit my taste.

That's just the way to do it.

I was suprised how easily I managed to play the game on Normal without firing a single shot. The last few bits became very punch,run,rinse & repeat, but for the most part it went well and most foes can just be avoided. I tell you though, playing a section that you had to go without guns for the 1st time again without the same handicap is a truly liberating experience.

The review itself was a quality little number, and I'd have to agree with every point you made, although you might have been too forgiving that the game basically forgets to tell us exactly *why* this government is so evil. Blatantly off news reports aside, the whole place looks sparkly clean and Faith is a murderer on the run who repeatedly refuses to stop when ordered. She also wins my award for least imaginitive character in a good while, the female category of which I have named "Blandihontus".

Great review, in my opinion. I've yet to play the game, and I'll try to pick it up since I really want to know what the experience is like. All of your reviews are well-thought out and well-done in my opinion, and I'm not just saying that because imagining them being read in Foamy's voice makes me laugh.

SharPhoe:
Great review, in my opinion. I've yet to play the game, and I'll try to pick it up since I really want to know what the experience is like. All of your reviews are well-thought out and well-done in my opinion, and I'm not just saying that because imagining them being read in Foamy's voice makes me laugh.

Thanks! I'm happy to see other followers of the Lord and Master of all Squirreldom on the Escapist.

This review was my first, and of course it therefore was far less good than the later ones. However, I'm glad to see that people still enjoy it :D

orannis62:
Well written. I agree with a good many of your points, with one exception: I do believe this game was worth every penny of the $60 just for the sheer uniqueness.

Indeed, I saw Mirror's Edge as a diamond in the rough, a unique game in a sea of mediocre dirt-brown titles. The artistic design behind The City is amazing, creating a stark contract with each interior. Even the lackluster story had its stronger points. For example, I enjoyed that the government of The City was a subtle 'evil', not your standard 'Grr Locust bad because we say so'.

 

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