Reviews// Mirror's Edge

Her sister is a Blue

Posted 14 Nov 2008 15:15 by
Games: Mirror's Edge
Mirror's Edge 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.
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Games: Mirror's Edge

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Charliemouse 17 Nov 2008 09:13
Did the reviewer miss the time trial option to centre the leaderboard on you? Makes it easy to pick someone near your level and shave a few seconds off.

Am loving Mirror's Edge, have already stuck about 8 hours in to it.

DoctorDee 18 Nov 2008 13:33
I missed it at first. So my comment about the natural tendancy to choose th efastest player holds true. But my point is, your level keeps changing and you have to keep selecting a new ghost to choose. It would be nice if the system automatically slelected the next fastest above your last time, or better still idenitfied your time fo reach section, andloaded a composite ghost that was just faster than you in each section. And also only started the ghost on each section when you start the section... so if there's a section you suck at the ghost doesn't leave you there and finish the level completely.

config 25 Nov 2008 19:44
Finished the story mode in three modest sittings - prolly around 9-10 hours total - I don't think I made rapid progress either because there's too much sudden death/retry - sometimes dozens of times.

I looks bloody lovely, so it's real shame DICE opted for the freaky looking animation during the narrative. It's neither cel-shaded 3D or lovingly crafted pen-and-ink, but come bastard product of the two. Given the attention the game engine, environment and character models got, it's a pitiful waste.

The time trials and speed runs might be this game's saviour to some, but for me they're limited enjoyment. I'll have a go at the time trials, but won't persist to the point or trying to shave millis from each stage. Speed runs are, IMO, an exercise in the gaming equivalent of self-flagellation - making perfect progress of 95% of the run, only to cock it up on the last jump because you press jump a fraction too late and are lying flat on your back, legs flailing as the seconds tick by.

No, I'd probably re-do the story or, more likely, move on to another game.
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