Mirror's Edge


By: Sam Prescott    On: PlayStation 3
Published: Thursday 13 Nov 2008 12:15 AM
 
 
 
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You can draw comparisons to the stealthy action games that came before it: shades of Assassin’s Creed maybe… but it’s like comparing Bluff oysters to “seafood,” or Cristal to other sparkling wines. Yeah, you can make the comparison, but it’s somehow, I don’t know… flavourless.

Mirror’s Edge is as massively anticipated as any of 2008’s big ones, and after bazillions of downloads of the demo worldwide, it’s so easy to see why: everyone’s had a little taste. And a little taste isn’t enough for this titan of an action adventure game from DICE and Electronic Arts.

Play as Faith, a ‘runner’ who after sustaining a fall and convalescing for a spell, rejoins her delivery crew high above the streets of the city. Runners are responsible to getting things from A to B in a city where the government has gone totalitarian. In the prologue, Faith hooks up with buddy Celeste, who reminds her (and teaches you) a few tricks for getting around the place.

Even in the first chapter, you can see that Mirror’s Edge is going to be something pretty special. Digressing for just a sec – you’ll see a healthy ten points out of ten for graphics slapped on this puppy – that’s a straight 10 for graphical style. It’s not necessarily prettiest game ever made (although it’s pretty damn good) but the stark, reflective, boxy style suits the game down to the ground. The size and space of the world is astonishing, and it hits you straight away.

Celeste will show Faith the ropes – one of which she’s required to flying-fox down, aiming a well timed dismount into a flashing red patch, which turns out to be the canvassed top of a box. As you get about the landscape, made up chiefly of commercial rooftops, you’ll notice that there are more than a few things shaded in this fetching colour. Each of these can be used to further your travels along a set path. Pipes can be shimmied up or down, bars can be caught in mid-air and swung on, doors can be kicked or shouldered open at a full run, walls can be used to run across or as springboards to objects opposite them and almost every other ledge, rail, staircase or precipice can be navigated using the game’s advanced physics engine. When you’re finished hurtling from rooftop-to-rooftop like an urban flying-squirrel, Celeste finishes your training with some combat manoeuvres including kicking, punching and disarming opponents in real time and in handy (and usable in the game, too, at times) slow motion.

Getting a handle on the controls can take a while – plummeting to your death is fun in a morbidly fascinating kind of a way, at first. There’s even an unhealthy en-jelly-ning of your body upon impact, which you hear as the screen darkens. But once you’ve done it twenty times trying to make the same jump, you’re about as ready as you’ll ever be to embark on the game proper.

Faith’s sister, a cop, or “Blue” is in trouble. She’s been framed up for the murder of a high-powered type and old mate of their dad’s. Faith’s not fond of Blues, but she likes this one, and promises to help her sis before having to leave the office building kinda sharpish. Faith is chased out at a run, and makes it back to her home base with a little help from her friends.

The game’s not combat free, although it tends to be more satisfying escaping the filth without actually killing any of them. This is where your ability to rob them of their firepower comes in, and it’s as much fun to watch as it is to actually do. It’s a one-button thing, grabbing a pistol from one of the Blues, but it comes down to some pretty flash timing if you have to do it without the benefit of slow motion. Your opponent’s gun turns red when it’s time for you to strike, and once it’s yours, you can choose to shoot it or toss it. Carrying it with you will slow you down, so be warned, and when I got my hands on a sniper rifle the buddies of the hapless chap I had just disarmed soon proved they were much better shots than I was. From close enough, one hit is one kill.

Punching and kicking will only get you so far against your enemies: it’s often easier to run away. When the fuzz is in pursuit, though, don’t stop – because they don’t stop shooting. Mirror’s Edge is as adrenaline charged as any game I’ve played. When sprinting from the cops pell-mell, you’re often faced with a split second decision – swing for that rooftop? Head across that beam, using a delicate tilt of the six-axis to keep from going over the edge? Leap across that gap? Any one of them could get you closer to safety or turn you into a puddle. DICE have done a magic job of equipping you with the controls to ensure the action flows.

The story flows too, as Faith unravels her mystery. Between the chapters, which are all go, are artfully animated cut-scenes, which explain what’s going on. They’re nothing special on the animation front, I suppose, but one can’t deny that they somehow fit – just like the graphical style – with the overall feel of the game. They’re rough, gritty and ultra-modern.

Some of the controls can be a bit pernickety. While at times Faith can perform amazing feats of acrobatic daring, other times she simply flails stupidly against walls or doors, her arms flapping in and out of view. Leaping from a height is apt to damage one’s knees, so Faith has a handy forward roll or sliding landing you can use. Sometimes, however, the great height from which you leap sends you to a thin ledge, so if you try to temper the landing you slide straight off the edge to your demise. While I’m sure this is something of an exercise in discipline (read: practice), it makes the game a bit frustrating at the outset.

Another small gripe is that while the red objects that mark your way to victory are great, they become distracting when you rely on them. Not all of the areas you need to leap or scramble to are marked, so if you’re in an all but bare room, with one red line marking a ledge, it’s possible to spend some time wondering where the hell you go next – searching for a red marker that isn’t there. A nifty wee tool they’ve added to help you out with this is a kind of homing device. When you hold a certain button, your pointer aims you in the direction you need to travel.

While it’s not really fair to moan about a game’s difficulty, Mirror’s Edge is very hard. The main problem is that the action takes place so quickly, with the dead-eye-Dicks of the city’s police force able to stick you with bullets as soon as you’re in their sights, there’s no real time to explore your way out. You often have to leap and hope for the best, sending you a-squelch to the streets below probably a lot more than you’d like. And you have to do it over and over again, simply leaping in a new spot each time.

These are relatively tiny hiccups in a very smooth operation. Mirror’s Edge is being talked about anywhere gamers gather and it’s one of the Holiday season bunch that’s almost certain not to disappoint. If you’re a PS3 owner, make sure you have your copy all sorted, and if you’re not, and haven’t already bought the machine to play Little Big Planet now might be the time to start writing letters to Santa.


The Score

Mirror's Edge
"Everything you’ve heard is true."
9.0
Excellent
Rating: M   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 45 Min

 

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Comments (35)

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Gazza22 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 9:26 AM Posted by Gazza22
Ace review!

But im still not sure on weather its worth my moola or just a solid rent.
 
 
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Ron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 9:50 AM Posted by Ron
13 November 2008, 09:26 AM Reply to Gazza22
Ace review!

But im still not sure on weather its worth my moola or just a solid rent.
I'm not sure how long it is, but it's truly refreshing to play. I even got a little motion sick after it for a bit!
 
 
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NiCkAdAmZ73 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 11:39 AM Posted by NiCkAdAmZ73
Will rent out longer term plans to buy it.
 
 
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howzit
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 1:30 PM Posted by howzit
13 November 2008, 09:50 AM Reply to Ron
I'm not sure how long it is, but it's truly refreshing to play. I even got a little motion sick after it for a bit!
Heard its around 6 hours unfortunately :(
 
 
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Lisa3x3x3
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 2:17 PM Posted by Lisa3x3x3
The game looks really cool! i like how you actually view the game through the characters view on it.
 
 
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kaz
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 2:55 PM Posted by kaz
Im renting this for sure, sound like a great game to smash up on a saturday night.....great review mate u did they game proud
 
 
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ChatterboxZombie
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 3:48 PM Posted by ChatterboxZombie
wake me up when hype dies forever.
 
 
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itachi
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 3:59 PM Posted by itachi
Going to Rent this as soon as I get a chance.
 
 
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BobGodson
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 4:34 PM Posted by BobGodson
Me want! Me want!
 
 
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Dogonabus NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 6:01 PM Posted by Dogonabus
13 November 2008, 09:50 AM Reply to Ron
I'm not sure how long it is, but it's truly refreshing to play. I even got a little motion sick after it for a bit!
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/11/3/
 
 
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piratemonkey NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 6:36 PM Posted by piratemonkey
Sounds Splendid
 
 
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Illmatic NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 8:58 PM Posted by Illmatic
Sounds like it'd be a great rent, but i won't play it until i buy it. I have to support stuff like this, because i want to see more of it.
 
 
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Ruptunex
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 9:34 PM Posted by Ruptunex
I'm so totally getting this game. It'll be a few weeks till i do as buying some of the other AAA titles recently have made me a little strapped for cash
 
 
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Mach1_9pants NZGamer.com VIP VIP
On Friday 14 Nov 2008 9:36 AM Posted by Mach1_9pants
I am worried about the lack of different options to complete your task. I want to use 'parkour' to go where I want and achieve the goal that way. From what I have read in other reviews is that there is normally only ONE way to get to you goal. For me that makes this game a no go.
 
 
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KravenMore
On Friday 14 Nov 2008 10:12 AM Posted by KravenMore
Did you have problems with motion sickness? a lot of people out there are complaining that it makes them feel ill! I'm just wondering if they're girls blouses ;-)
 
 
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itachi
On Friday 14 Nov 2008 12:48 PM Posted by itachi
Probably...
 
 
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rider211
On Friday 14 Nov 2008 8:08 PM Posted by rider211
i gotta get this game
 
 
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Donutta
On Friday 14 Nov 2008 10:20 PM Posted by Donutta
Got this today and I haven't been this impressed with or had this much fun with a game since Metroid Prime. Truly a masterpiece, and definitely the best game I've played this year. Not for everyone, sure, but for those that it is for, it's like a slice of Heaven.
 
 
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Oliver
On Saturday 15 Nov 2008 12:37 AM Posted by Oliver
Hmmm... despite seeing ads everywhere, this game hasn't even figured on my radar. I guess I might have to rent like the majority of people here are saying.
 
 
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SkinBintin NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Nov 2008 2:59 AM Posted by SkinBintin
I rented this yesterday, after enjoying the demo. I must say, it's a very refreshing change from the games I usually play. It is a real challenge though, but thats no big drama as the restart points are usually very far from the point where you stuffed it all up. The graphics are very clean and crisp making for an interesting visual experience.

I would recommend renting this one rather than just running out and buying it, as there is some real potential for a bit of motion sickness, or maybe the predominatly white enviroments will bore you silly.

While I would give it the 9.0/10 NZGamer gave it, I would give it an 8.0/10. A nice game, and once again a new title proves EA can put their name to something good, instead of just the drab dribble of the past.
 
 
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SkinBintin NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Nov 2008 3:00 AM Posted by SkinBintin
15 November 2008, 02:59 AM Reply to SkinBintin
I rented this yesterday, after enjoying the demo. I must say, it's a very refreshing change from the games I usually play. It is a real challenge though, but thats no big drama as the restart points are usually very far from the point where you stuffed it all up. The graphics are very clean and crisp making for an interesting visual experience.

I would recommend renting this one rather than just running out and buying it, as there is some real potential for a bit of motion sickness, or maybe the predominatly white enviroments will bore you silly.

While I would give it the 9.0/10 NZGamer gave it, I would give it an 8.0/10. A nice game, and once again a new title proves EA can put their name to something good, instead of just the drab dribble of the past.
whoops, I meant aren't not are ;)
 
 
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Blazedown
On Saturday 15 Nov 2008 2:58 PM Posted by Blazedown
I don't get it, are they like super cops or something?
 
 
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Genocide NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Saturday 15 Nov 2008 6:11 PM Posted by Genocide
No mention of the Time Trials? That's half the fun of this game for me, its insanely fun/frustrating trying to beat your times and master the levels.
 
 
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Rapidity NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Nov 2008 10:01 PM Posted by Rapidity
Hired it out tonight, very refreshing. Loving the time trials can't wait o get a few mates around
 
 
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Rapidity NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Nov 2008 10:02 PM Posted by Rapidity
*to get a few mates around for a bit of competition
 
 
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-Unknown-
On Sunday 16 Nov 2008 10:57 AM Posted by -Unknown-
It looks like it would get boring fast...

I would probly only rent it.
 
 
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tiamat1990
On Sunday 16 Nov 2008 6:58 PM Posted by tiamat1990
Huh...interesting. A lot of American sites have been giving this pretty low reviews but a lot of international sites are scoring it pretty well. It's pretty weird.
 
 
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IAMMAFIAGIMMEFABLE
On Monday 17 Nov 2008 7:59 AM Posted by IAMMAFIAGIMMEFABLE
pretty cool
 
 
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Bunnny NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
On Wednesday 19 Nov 2008 3:03 PM Posted by Bunnny
Parkour coming into public eye. Woohoo Tabi Shoes ftw!!!
 
 
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Spartana
On Wednesday 19 Nov 2008 3:59 PM Posted by Spartana
Whenever i get my 360 back frm a friend... im gonna play this. it sounds like fun.
 
 
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cute_maori
On Thursday 20 Nov 2008 5:26 PM Posted by cute_maori
I am gonna get this game as the reading of this article sounds awesome and the trailer.
 
 
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arnies
On Thursday 20 Nov 2008 10:14 PM Posted by arnies
I never thought that a running game would be so good - might have to hire this
 
 
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GsUz_KrYsT
On Saturday 22 Nov 2008 2:17 PM Posted by GsUz_KrYsT
LOOKS AWESOME!!
I must have this game.........
 
 
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chinaman71 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
On Thursday 11 Dec 2008 1:24 PM Posted by chinaman71
13 November 2008, 09:26 AM Reply to Gazza22
Ace review!

But im still not sure on weather its worth my moola or just a solid rent.
believe me solid rent
 
 
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phoenix121
On Wednesday 13 Jan 2010 7:50 AM Posted by phoenix121
i enjoyed this game
 
 
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