Monday, April 30, 2012

Mirror's Edge review.

So, due to some technical issues I am having with my capture device (and my computer in general) I'm going to do a regular text review of Mirror's Edge, as opposed to the video review format I usually use.

Reality doesn't look this good..

Mirror's Edge is a platforming adventure like no other. As opposed to the tried and true 3D platformers like Prince of Persia, Mirror's edge features a true first-person perspective playstyle, where even the simple act of looking around with the camera literally changes the character actions.

The control scheme is also rather unique, and to begin with, it feels a little strange, using the left bumpers for jump and crouch/slide, with the right bumpers for attack and quick 180 turn, but by the end of the tutorial level, it starts to feel pretty natural.

You want me to JUMP that?

Graphics >>
The cityscape looks fucking spectacular. The art style is super high contrast, with bold colouring and as a result, the muted palette allows for some excellent levels of subtle detail, as far as the eye can see in every direction. The game truly captures that feeling of open space in the rooftop environments, and equally effectively, creates a feeling of tension and claustrophobia as you are desperately running away from the innumerable law enforcement, crawling through air vents and climbing pipes.

Hope I remembered to pump up my Reeboks, this landing is going to HURT.

Mechanics >>
To begin with, the learning curve is kind of steep. This is a genuinely challenging game, in which subtlety is not only rewarded, it is virtually enforced. Many of the jumps, ledge flips, combat encounters, etc.. require expert timing, and microscopic variations in your control handling can deliver vastly different results. It can literally make the difference between life and death for our heroine Faith, and can also completely change the route options available from moment to moment. There isn't only one right answer, and the quicker you can solve the environmental obstacles, the greater opportunities you will be presented with to hop, skip, and jump your way clear of the relentless pursuers.

The combat system utilises various different punch and kick combinations (varies depending on relative position, and prior actions) as well as an attack reversal/weapon disarm/melee counter system. In addition to the melee combat, you also have the option to use any firearm you find, these range from pistols and sub-machine guns to sniper rifles, and everything in between. While the actual shooting mechanics leave a little to be desired, the entire game can be cleared without needing to use firearms at all, and indeed there is an unlockable achievement awarded for specifically that, which fits right in with the character, preferring avoidance to conflict, she is certainly not a murderer.

Remind me to find out who their interior decorator is..

Story >>
Set in a dystopian future, Mirror's Edge paints a picture of paranoia and security affecting our culture, and eventually taking over. Governments are privatised, and freedom is criminalised. Faith, the super athletic, impossibly sexy, implausibly dexterous, and entirely selfless heroine is our protagonist. She and her friends form part of a decentralised underground network of 'runners' who defy the laws of the state, and the laws of gravity, in order to deliver packages in secret, evading the watchful eyes of the despotic security corporations employed by the 1%. Faith arrives to a distress call only to find that her sister has been framed for murder, with little option but to run. Fortunately, running is what Faith does best.

To the left, progression, to the right, a drop to my death, I think I'll stick to the left.

Sound >>
The sound in Mirror's Edge is simply amazing. Everything from the squeak of Faith's sneakers, to the panting  of her breath, to the smashing of windows, slamming of doors, and thud of a clenched fist into the jaw of an ill-prepared assailant sounds larger than life. The voice acting is on point, with believable and contextual inflection, and strong characterisation. The original soundtrack itself is completely appropriate to the game. There is a mixture of ambient trance for puzzle and open-type sections, transitioning into more percussive techno sections when speed is of the essence, and finally full-blown industrial for intense combat sequences.

Jump from here onto that crane? No problem.

Verdict >>
Creative level design, challenging puzzles, frantic combat, great music, spectacular graphics and animation, with an engaging story, and a unique perspective, you would be crazy to miss out on this classic.
All in all, Mirror's edge is more than the sum of its parts. If there was ever such a thing as: "Run Lola Run: The video game", this would be it. The game is super cheap now, and I'm sure you can find it in a bargain bin near YOU for around 10 dollars. C'mon.. who hasn't got 10 dollars?

I'm going to have to pay attention here, I'm sliding rather fast.


  1. Awesome review, well done. I wanna see more of this content :D

  2. What is this!? I have to READ?

    Nice review. This is a great game.

    1. Yeah, sorry about that, mate. My computer is on the fritz, (as you know)

  3. Mirror's Edge is great, the whole atmosphere of the game, the graphics, the soundtrack, it's just a thoroughly enjoyable game to play. People had complaints about it being short, but I played through it three times because I enjoyed it so much. Better than a 20 hour game that drags after you get half way through.

    1. 100% agree. The game is engaging start to finish. Intense sections are intense and puzzling sections are puzzling. The game pulls you right in.

    2. Hey man, don't mean to spam your page but couldn't figure out how to send you a PM, so feel free to delete this message. I just put my first review up on my blog and was wondering if you could take a look at it and give me a bit of feedback on it? Would be much appreciated! Cheers, top post. Thanks!

  4. Mirror's Edge has been one of those games where the general buzz of dissatisfaction entered my ears unwittingly and although I haven't actually avoided it, I haven't sought it out either. This has me wanting to go and give it a try now.

    1. Keep an eagle eye out! It's definitely worth it.