Look Back: Mirror’s Edge

Since its reveal, Mirror’s Edge has turned heads with its unique art style and ambitious game scenario. In an environment where first person is automatically associated with the word “shooter”, Mirror’s Edge broke the mould. However, innovation for innovation’s sake is merely a gimmick. So what sort of impact did Mirror’s Edge leave on gamers and what should we expect from it in the future?

At the base level, Mirror’s Edge is very¬† simple. It’s a game about running. Running and looking really freakin’ cool while running. But it’s a game about running in the same way a 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game is. You find yourself stopping often on your first playthrough as you figure out how to get past obstacles. There’s a certain rhythm to the game as you jump, slide, and wallrun through the levels. In many regards, it’s what Sonic the Hedgehog should have played like in three dimensions.

Mirror’s Edge is said to be a short game. Although no shorter than the single player campaigns of Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty, or various other blockbuster titles, it seems to be the point at which most discussions stagnate at. Instead of extending the game through its multiplayer, Mirror’s Edge chooses to go the route of the platformers older gamers might remember on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Each playthrough is more exhilarating than the last. Instead of becoming duller in subsequent runs, levels actually become more fun as you find yourself going faster, stopping less, and pulling off dazzling techniques without breaking a sweat. It really becomes a parkour video game at that point. In addition to the very replayable single player campaign, the game offers a large variety of time trial maps that challenge you to try different routes, which in turn you can use in the single player game to quicken your pace. A short game for those that just want to get a game over with and move on to the next, but there is a lot to chew on if you’re a gamer who likes to spend time with just one.

The experience of Mirror’s Edge, as described, is wonderful. However, it is still quite a flawed game. EA DICE, the developers of this game, were willing to go against the first person paradigm and create a platformer instead of a shooter, but they were unable to go all the way. I understand that it makes logical sense for the guards in the game to have guns and, as a result of that, for you to be able to use those guns on them. However, this does not make for a fun gameplay experience. You are continually frustrated by enemies with much more firepower than you. The difference between slowing down here and slowing down for an obstacle is that most obstacles usually further your momentum after the pause. The guards on the other hand slow you down for really no good reason. Combat is unenjoyable and you find yourself wishing that the environment was the only enemy to deal with. What is frustrating about this scenario is that there is one segment of the game where the enemies do not have guns and merely attempt to hunt you down. This segment was thoroughly enjoyable and provided an encounter which added to the experience rather than detracted from it. It was disappointing to not have more of those engagements in the game.

Mirror’s Edge has had a sequel hinted at and hopefully EA DICE has learned from its mistakes with the first game to create an even more enjoyable second. What can we look forward to? Enough has been discussed about the combat sequences that we can expect a completely overhauled system for the next game. The length is another issue that will likely turn heads at the studio. Unfortunately, this will probably mean a longer, less replayable game than the original. We will have updates as they come out for the sequel, so keep your eyes peeled on Gamer Syndrome as the year goes on. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see some rumblings at the Electronics Entertainment Expo next month! For now, I’d highly recommend you check out Mirror’s Edge as its one of the most refreshing new franchise this generation and can be had for around $30 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Article from Gamersyndrome.com

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  1. Good article Rushan, I played Mirror’s Edge last fall and my opinion of it is very similar. The platforming was a lot of fun, but combat could be frustrating.

    For me it was actually usually easier in combat to not use guns and stick to the martial arts moves instead.

  2. i just played it recently as well, i thought i was a really unique game, but definitely frustrating at times.

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