Review by GeekyDad
On the Edge of Greatness
This is a game Ive long wanted to try, even before actually owning a next-gen console. The entire concept was just so appealing to me, and the main character was very attractive not because she was a babe, but because she was an interesting, dynamic female character. Well, we got a PS3 over the past holiday, and with the price of Mirrors Edge coming down so insanely low, I just had to have a look.
The first element of the game Id like to comment about is the story. I dont get it I dont get why people didnt like this story. Sure, its not Shakespeare, but for an action romp, its pretty tight. I actually felt a real connection between Faith (the main character) and her sister. The pacing made sense, the dialogue worked (for the most part), and everything wrapped up in a way that left me satisfied, even if there was ample room for a sequel.
Of course, the story is such that it clears a fat path for gameplay, and its almost impossible to fault Mirrors Edge in any way in that regard. Some folks had issues with the combat, but theres really nothing wrong with it. Faith isnt meant to be a killer. When she carries a larger gun, she moves slower, her aim isnt great all things that make sense for this character. Hit detection was spot-on, enemies dont take a thousand rounds to take down really, I had no problems with the combat. I will admit to getting frustrated toward the end of the game, simply because I wanted to earn the Test of Faith trophy by not shooting any enemies in my first playthrough. It was a trying task at times, but I was still successful, which, to me, speaks volumes about the game design.
The focus of Mirrors Edge, however, is, of course, on the free running (parkour). Theres going to be a lot of trial and error as you attempt to navigate levels, and it can certainly be frustrating when you dont know where you need to go, yet enemies are shooting at you the whole time youre trying to find a way forward. Now, this is an issue we had to deal with in games like Half-Life 2, but its amplified in Mirrors Edge due to the fact that the way forward usually requires some fancy parkour trickery. Regardless of how you slice it, Mirrors Edge is the type of game that is more fun the second or third time through. If you can accept that about the game, theres a mass payoff in extreme endorphin release. If, however, you find that sort of approach to game design infuriating, well then, this probably isnt the game for you.
Most of my criticisms with the game lie in the technical side of things. The visuals are often gorgeous (from afar) and theres nothing that looks quite like Mirrors Edge. The framerate was never an issue, but the PS3 version has some pretty fugly screen tearing. The worst problems I had, however, were pretty regular lock-ups and jarring loads. A $60 game (when it released) shouldnt leave the factory in such a state. Were talking about a game that was obviously packaged as a AAA title, and the game locks up way too often. Additionally, the game loads at some of the most inopportune times. Its a free-running experience; you shouldnt get stopped in your tracks mid-jump by a friggin load screen come on!
Of course, many folks also complained about the length of the game, and honestly, its hard to argue with that. I thought the story mode was the perfect length, but there should have been more to the package, really. The time trials and speed-run mode are great additions, but the experience isnt different enough to make you feel like youre getting your moneys worth. To add insult to injury, EA wants to charge an additional $10 for DLC for a six-hour-long game. Not great marketing.
In spite of my complaints, at $15 (what I paid new for the game), Mirrors Edge makes such a wonderful addition to my growing library of PS3 games. I absolutely adore the meat of the game, though Im occasionally frustrated by its technical shortcomings. If youre into games like Prince of Persia with a focus on free running over combat definitely check the game out. Mirrors Edge is dirt cheap now, and it is, in many ways, a very cutting-edge experience.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Mirror's Edge (US, 11/11/08)
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