The emphasis in the game is on speed, and flow. On the smooth linking of actions to keep Faith on the move. So, the storyline constantly keeps you on your toes. If you hang around at any time, the constantly pursuing 'Blues' catch you and begin to lay down fire. You need to keep moving to keep alive.
If you come into close quarters with the Blues you can disarm them and, once you have, you can even use their weapons on them and their colleagues. But this in not truly the aim of the game. If you so choose, once you have disarmed an opponent, you can also take flight again and drop their weapon once you are safely away from them. Disarming an opponent while you are in sight of one or more of his colleagues will just result in you taking fire from the others. Therefore it is best to engineer a situation where you isolate one from the pack, and take his weapon. You have the ability to slow time to help you do this.
Rather than disarming an opponent you can opt to drop them with a combination of punches and kicks, though they will retaliate with fire or with a blow from the butt of their rifles if you give them chance. It is difficult to tell if dropping them kills them or merely knocks them unconscious, but either way it removes them as a threat.
Progress through the city is like one huge level of the shimmying and climbing parts of recent Tomb Raider
games, but as with every section of Mirror's Edge
, speed is of the essence. You can swing from flagpoles, climb up drainpipes, vault over fences, slide under air-ducts and crawl along inside them too. Because most of the action is on the rooftops of the city, miscalculating will often result in a long drop with a bone crunching conclusion.
While there is more than one way to do each level, they are not obvious. Despite this, the game is very linear. (Downloading the ghost of a fast player from the on-line Race mode will show you some of the tricks you may be missing).
While there may be more than one way to finish a level, you still have to finish it. If you die (and you'll die a lot), you re-spawn. Missed jumps often see you falling 20 storeys or more to your death. The pressure is constantly on, as helicopter gunships and police keep you under fire every time you pause to take stock. This becomes tiresome after a while, and the game begins to feel like one of those kind of try-and-die games that are so frustrating.
It can become a repetitive grind, and the solution is not to do something different or more creative. It is to jump through the same hoops faster, smoother and better, each time getting a little further before dying and having to do it all again – until, eventually you reach an auto save and from then on you re-spawn from there.