If I had a lot of time on my hands I would go through all of my reviews over the years and read up on how many times I wrote about the need for new innovative video games. We have heard it often said that the overplayed WWII shooter keeps getting developed because it sells and most of the time new intellectual property doesn’t make up for the heavy cost of entry. Well EA has gone away with that this year, and with a ton of new IP and one in particular that really goes away from the norm. Today we are checking out Mirror’s Edge for the Playstation 3 one of the most unique games of the year. But is Mirror’s Edge all style and no substance? Read our full review to find out!
There is no doubt from the first time you see the cover of Mirror’s Edge that this is a game of style. I am a big fan of style in video games, I think a lot of times developers take the safer road instead of the road less traveled. Mirror’s Edge has just that an edge to it, it has a really tremendous color palette that can be seen from the opening menu to the end of the single player experience. The developers did a really fantastic job of combining a great style with a fresh new idea.
So what is Mirror’s Edge? Well it is a fast paced first person action platforming experience. You take the role of Faith who is a runner getting things from place to place as quickly as possible. I am actually choosing not to get into the story of Mirror’s Edge for a few reasons but mainly because I think even with its many flaws (and it has many) it is a important part of the experience and should be left for that and not spoiled here in the review. I will say that the biggest gripe I have with the story is that unlike the game it doesn’t necessarily go anywhere fast which it really had the potential to do.
Now as I mentioned this game is played in the first person perspective and this has been a big conversation in the gaming community. I was among those that wondered why you wouldn’t put this game in the third person perspective, and after playing through Mirror’s Edge I still have to agree with my hypothesis. With that being said being in the first person perspective is the method used and in fact it did manage to win me over just not necessarily change my mind.
So let’s talk about the experience of being a runner. As many of you have seen from either the recent demo, screenshots, or video captures a lot of your time with Faith will be running from building top to building top to get to her objective. This is a good portion of the game but you won’t always be running on rooftops but instead have a good variety of areas to run in. The challenge then arises, how do you know where to go? This is done with two methods, the first being the color red showing off the likely path, and the second having the camera swing in the direction of your next move. These are helpful gameplay elements that don’t have to be used but without can really make for an extremely frustrating experience. That is not to say that Mirror’s Edge isn’t frustrating it still can be, there are times where you think you nail a jump but fall to your death. Other times even with the helpful hints your still lost as to your next move which can be extremely frustrating.
Mirror’s Edge thrives however when you get on a roll, this is a game that is all about momentum and having everything flow together and when that starts to happen the game really opens itself up for a great experience. The game has an interesting way of dealing with combat which can often end up in just disarming enemies and then taking them out. There are a few times where you will pick up a firearm and take out a few enemies but this is in no way a FPS.
The controls can be tricky to pick up at first, and they are different because they need to be different to capture the experience that Mirror’s Edge is presenting. The controls do a great job of giving you a good feel for the environment, and a great idea of what is expected of you to succeed in this game. To me Mirror’s Edge has both style and substance and although I am not a huge fan of the first person perspective, you get used to it and it becomes like second nature.
The one thing that I have not mentioned yet is the time trial mode which basically allows you to test your speed by going through the games levels without enemies. This is where the game could really keep you coming back for more as you can download ghosts and see how to improve your speed and possibly top off others records. I cannot tell you how nice it was to really compete for a great time as it offered up a fantastic sense of speed and challenge.
When it is all said and done and this holiday season is long and gone, what will people say about Mirror’s Edge gameplay. For me personally I will say that the gameplay had a great first effort, the combat needs work, and there was a bit to much trial and error for my taste buds. But that the experience was a breath of fresh air that was a risk with solid results.
Mirror’s Edge is a game that is jam packed with style, in fact it is so filled with style that it is hard to imagine the game without it. The color palette to me is really what accents the rest of the game and truly makes it a great game to look at. I would also like to commend the developers for the fine work with the frame rate which for such a fast moving game keeps up nicely. In the end this is a very simple but strong visual outing that I think serves its purpose nicely.
Mirror’s Edge is a lot of fun, especially when you have a good idea of the direction your heading. There were many moments that I began to get a bit frustrated, but the majority of the time I would figure it out and then continue moving through the game. I a not big on replaying missions so doing time trials wasn’t necessarily the most appealing thing in the world, but for those who are perfectionist it will be something you spend a lot of time trying to get better at. For me Mirror’s Edge was a breath of fresh air, not necessarily the same old game that I have been reviewing for years and that is where I found the most enjoyment out of the game.
There is no doubt in my mind that if you have a chance, that you should check out Mirror’s Edge. This is a fast paced, high adrenaline experience that manages to really impress. If your in the market for a fresher experience and don’t mind a little frustration on the side, then by all means check out Mirror’s Edge. I believe it has a solid start and I would love to see more from the series in the future.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.