Feb 27, 2013

Review - Mirror's Edge

Original IP’s have become scarce in gaming over the past couple of years, and it isn’t very often that one stands out among the crowd of sequels and look-a-likes. Mirror’s Edge is a first-person platformer/action-adventure that puts you in control of the female lead, Faith, in the game’s metropolitan city. Instead of creating another typical shooter, the first-person view is used to play from Faith’s perspective as she runs, jumps, and climbs her way around the city.

Graphically, the art style is fantastic, and the color palette used is unique and eye catching. The world is mostly white, with vibrant and bright colors used to show off different areas and levels. Red is specifically used to show various paths that you can use while running along the rooftops, which definitely comes in handy when you are looking for ways to get where you need to go next. The blur effects from running and falling are also very well done, and immerse you in the game as if you are really making the jumps and falls yourself. The soundtrack also does a really good job of keeping you immersed whenever key moments of tension arise. Only ambient music is played throughout most of the game, and the ending theme is fantastic.

Let’s get to what Mirror’s Edge is all about, and that’s the gameplay. The whole concept behind the game is that you are being chased and need to escape by running along the rooftops of the city at high speeds. You will jump across rooftops, run along walls, swing from poles, and even wall jump to name a few. It might sound standard, but when doing this all at high speeds in fear of being caught or shot, it definitely gets your heart pumping. This feeling is also amplified by the fact that guns aren’t a primary focus. Sure, you can use them, but it’s all by preference. It instead focuses on hand to hand combat, where disarming your enemies can give you a quicker advantage than shooting them could. It was a great design choice, and I really can’t speak enough about how fluid Mirror’s Edge really is. I can’t even legitimately tell you the last time a game gave me the feeling that Mirror’s Edge did. There’s something exceptional about jumping off a really high building, rolling, wall running up the wall ahead of you, doing a complete 180, and then ending up on the top of another building that you saw across the way. It’s one of the most rewarding games I’ve ever played.

Though short, the main game is a wonderful experience that should be played by everybody, just for the fact that it’s so new and refreshing. One of the biggest draw points to Mirror’s Edge, outside of the main game, is the Time Trials. Essentially they are various parts of the different levels, with checkpoints to run through and a goal to reach. You can either achieve a one, two, or three star rating, and achieving them is a challenging task. Time trial mode will teach you to play smarter, quicker, and better. It's an excellent addition to the game, and really makes the new type of gameplay shine.

Despite all of these positive words, when you take a step in the direction of innovation there are sure to be some short comings. Mirror’s Edge can be incredibly frustrating and difficult. The hit detection can be suspect. Sometimes you will feel like what you wanted to perform in game just won’t work, and you’ll have to try again. In the end, I don’t feel like any of it matters in the slightest. All it did was show me that when a game is focused primarily on making advancements to gameplay, every technical hiccup becomes a second thought. Mirror’s Edge is a video game done right. It has what so many games are missing nowadays. It’s FUN.

Positives
+ A new and refreshing take on the first-person genre. Not just another typical shooter. It’s a first-person platformer/adventure.
+ Intense, heart-pounding gameplay that flows well and is incredibly rewarding.
+ Graphically appealing, great art style.

Negatives
- If you are easily motion sick, renting might be a better option first. The screen will be spinning and jerking around really fast, so be warned.
- Some very frustrating moments of trial and error.

Letter Grade - A

5 comments:

  1. I disliked this game...yes I know I suck at controlling the character but I don't care. I disagree with your grade.

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  2. dementiax99: Did you simply dislike it because you couldn't move Faith?

    This was one of the most innovative games that was released last year. It's unfortunate that it had to follow the hype of other games that had recently been released (such as Gears of War 2, Call of Duty: World at War, and then soon followed by Left 4 Dead). If it had been available at a different time, I'm sure it would have received more of the attention it really deserves as a totally new way of playing a platformer from the eyes of the main character.

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  3. Yes I did simply dislike it for that. If I can't move Faith I can't enjoy it and given my track record with games I need something simple in terms of handling her. I hardly have patience and yes the 360 controller will stump me. I am more comfortable with the ps3 controller and though it may seem stupid it does play a factor. I would love to play the game on the PS3 however I no longer have that ability since I do not own one anymore. I will not attempt to hide any issue I have with that. In terms of storyline I was bored and I (my personal opinion) could careless about wanting to learn more. I enjoy Eternal Sonata and Lost Odyssey which in my opinion are "epic" games with an interesting storyline. However, I do respect your opinion and I can agree with you that it is trivial for me to dislike something based solely on control. Nonetheless it still is my reasoning. Maybe Mirror's Edge is too much game for me to handle. I suppose I don't feel like I'm missing much.

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  4. I can agree with you that the story was lackluster, but the game really has absolutely no focus on it at all. It gave them a reason to let you do the platforming they intended. Comparing Lost Odyssey and Eternal Sonata makes no sense considering they are RPG's, therefore story driven by nature. There was probably an intention to release ME with ONLY time trials, but content wise it wouldn't have been enough. It sounds more like a genre preference than actual game problem. Once you get good at Mirror's Edge it's the most rewarding thing in the world.

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  5. I wasn't comparing them. I was stating however that a game like Mirror's Edge will unfortunately not appeal to someone like me who really only can enjoy a game like Eternal Sonata, etc. I found the game boring.

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