Mirror’s Edge is about a futuristic city that seems to be doing very well for itself, but at the expense of the government keeping a tight leash on essentially everything. This entails a big brother system monitoring all communications. As a result a group of people called runners have come into existance who dodge the law and race through the rooftops in order to deliver packages and letters without the interference of the government. One such runner is Faith. After completing a delivery, she discovers that her sister, who is an officer, may be in trouble. She hurries there to assist her, and discovers that she’s been framed for the murder of Pope, a man running against the current mayor on a platform of freedom and deregulation. Hence, her journey to uncover the truth about who actually committed the murder and why begins, resulting in her uncovering a number of secrets about the darker side of the city.
I suppose you could call Mirror’s Edge a first person shooter, but it’s really not. Most of the game play is the platforming, parkouring from rooftop to rooftop to get to your objective. Now this isn’t parkour done like in other games such as Assassins Creed for example, where its just something that happens automatically. In Mirror’s Edge movement is the core of the experience. Running, climbing, wall running, sliding, and tight roping from place to place as fast as you can without screwing up and falling to your doom is challenging and incredibly enjoyable. In addition that there are also several puzzle like areas where you need to figure out how to effectively utilize your move set to get to where you need to go. Some of these felt a bit annoying as very little direction is provided and it can be quite frustrating, but overall leaving the players on their own is a good choice because it provides them with a certain sense of freedom that lets them explore and figure things out, which makes eventually making it to the next area highly satisfying. The last aspect of the game play however is the combat, which was a major disappointment. In some games, you need diversity to prevent things from getting boring, and hence you add points that are a bit slower. This is one of those games where that really was not needed. The combat really breaks the flow of the game play in that it involves having to stop for a bit to take out an enemy before moving on. Because of how important the flow is to how the game plays, this is incredibly frustrating. Furthermore, the combat isn’t even good. It’s very basic and quite frankly boring. Still, most of the time it can be avoided by just running past the enemies, so its not a game breaker.
Another one of the downsides was the story. Everything that happened was either predictable and cliche or completely random and off base. Faith was a reasonably interesting character, but everyone else felt flat and not memorable at all. Ultimately, the minimalist story felt like it was there just to prop up the rest of the game.
The other highlight of the game is the art style. It looks amazing. Technically the game is decent enough. But its the art style, with the strong contrasting colors on a monotone background that really pop out that make it amazing. Furthermore, they’re used very well to indicate game play mechanics while not breaking immersion. Another issue I had was the animated cut scenes, which felt like they didn’t belong at all, looked pretty amateurish, and quite frankly with such a good art style for the main game felt like a waste.
The mostly electronic soundtrack was fitting and decent, though not many tracks were particularly memorable. The theme “Still Alive” was great, though it could have been used better.
Mirror’s Edge is about freedom. The story is about freedom. The highlight of the parkour game play is the feeling of freedom it gives you. And everything else ties into that. There are some rough aspects, such as the story, animated cut scenes, and combat, but because of how well it does it’s unique aspects, the platforming and art style, Mirror’s Edge is a fantastic and very unique game.