is a cyberpunk-inspired first-person action adventure. It involves aspects of the first-person shooter, 3D platformer and elements of stealth. But more than anything it's about movement, speed and acrobatics.
When I think of cyberpunk, I tend to think of dark, rainy cities, with a surfeit of neon. This is the setting that has been established by the books of William Gibson and the movies Blade Runner
and Johnny Mnemonic
. Mirror's Edge
flies in the face of this convention and sets itself in the shiny, bright city... only marginally more futuristic than modern day Shanghai, Taipei or Tokyo. But, while the environment may buck the central trend of cyberpunk culture, the themes of the game mine richly the seam laid by Philip K Dick and William Gibson. The game is about using good, old-fashioned foot couriers to transport objects and data that the owners wish to remain 'off grid'. This is the basic premise of the film Johnny Mnemonic
, while Gibson's later work, Spook Country
features iPod data couriers.
The back-story of the game is not well established; although it is safe to say that the city in which our protagonist, Faith, lives and works is a totalitarian regime. As a result, a good many people want to move data without the prying eyes of the ruling plutocracy being able to inspect it.
The bright and shiny cleanliness of the city is alluded to in the establishing voice over. The implication is that the city used to be dirty and grimy, but as the surveillance culture spread its tentacles through the city it cleaned it up at least on the surface. The bright, shiny, sanitised city is an allegory for the apparently low-crime, clean surface layer of the society that inhabits it. But under the surface, behind the mirror of the title, there's a very different story waiting to be told.
During the course of Faith's everyday data shifting activities, our heroine comes across her sister who has been framed for a murder. Her sister is a Blue, a cop in this futuristic city. Now Faith - and by Faith I mean you - has to find out who committed the murder and why in order to prove her sister's innocence.
I'd been looking forward to Mirror's Edge
for some time, because for me it pressed all the right buttons: the protagonist is an Asian girl; and I'm a well known Japophile; the narrative is inspired by my favourite authors, and the look of the early stills and artwork impressed me greatly.
So, by the time the demo was released on PSN, I had impetrated staunchly the right to review Mirror's Edge
. So, when I was somewhat underwhelmed by the demo, it was too late to get out of it. I asked around and the other guys in the office who had played the demo were not that impressed, either. The demo is the prologue-cum-training level of the game and, while it's a logical choice for a demo, it clearly failed to make the desired impact.