(Editor’s Note: Originally written in 2010)
You are a “Runner” named Faith, who lives in an unnamed city that is under complete totalitarian government control, including invasive surveillance. Your sister, Kate has been framed for killing a man named Robert Pope, a man who was running for Mayor in order to try and bring change. While trying to prove her innocence, you find out that the plot goes even deeper than a simple set up.First off it is being sold as a “First Person Action-Adventure game” which is a change-up for a lot of gamers in that it is set as a first person shooter, but the point of the game focuses more on stealth, acrobatics and fleeing from enemies rather than how many guns you can carry. There is a combat system in the game which was refreshingly simple: You can jump, slide, kick and disarm.
Given these four options for kicking the crap out of your enemies allows for some freedoms: I personally enjoyed sliding up to an enemy and kicking them in the crotch before slapping them silly and stealing their weapons. The actual act of disarming an enemy takes a little getting used to as you have to remember to stay calm or else get killed. You can only steal a weapon from an enemy once it turns RED. If you try too soon or too late then you will most likely get pistol-whipped and shot at point blank range.
On that note, let’s discuss the challenges: The game starts off simple enough, with a short training run where you learn how to run, jump, slide, wall-run and all the skills you need to know throughout the game. I personally enjoyed the fact that the game tells you 99% of what you need to know at the very start of the game. The only additional thing you will learn is for certain weapons, but other than that, you know everything you need after completion of the training.
The look of the game is absolutely beautiful, though it is very clean and simple. You will spend most of your time on the tops of buildings, running, jumping, sliding and shimmying your way from one obstacle to the next. If you are playing for the first time, I would definitely recommend playing with the “Runner’s vision” turned on, which turns certain objects red and will guide you through the game while still giving you some freedom. Yes there is a path you HAVE to take to progress through the game, but it isn’t like running through a hall. You can choose how you get from Point A to point B.
Though the scenery is simple, it is very immersive and actually made me feel vertigo because of the heights of the buildings. There is no HUD, which is unusual for many gamers (but may be growing in popularity because of this game and Portal). This causes problems because you never really know how much more damage you can take. The lack of the HUD didn’t impede the game-play at all, but rather made it more realistic. For instance, when battling an enemy you never know how many times they can shoot you in the face, or how much damage you can take from a fall. This should help you choose more carefully the path you are going to take.
Overall I thought that Mirror’s Edge was a very strong game, and the only the only thing I disliked was the length, which is noticeably shorter than other current-generation games. This can be a very frustrating game at points, so hopefully you are patient and able to play the same level over many times. The reason I say this is you will by dying. A LOT.
This is a game that should definitely be picked up if you own a Playstation 3, Xbox 360 or PC. If not bought, please rent as this is a must-play.
SPOILER ALERT: As of this writing, there is a squeal in the works, as the ending of Mirror’s Edge wraps up the story but does leave the door open for a follow-up storyline.
One thing I will mention is that YES YOU CAN pick up a fallen enemy’s weapon, even if you didn’t take it from them before you killed them. You don’t pick it up automatically by standing over it, and unless I missed it, the game never tells you how to pick a weapon up off the ground until far later in the game. This is probably purposely done to keep up the challenge level in the game and not give you a shortcut by simply blowing away all the enemies with well-placed shots… but I digress. Press “triangle” while standing over a weapon on the ground to pick it up and have at it. I personally tried to stay away from using weapons unless necessary. There is a trophy that is unlocked called “Test Of Faith” which is earned by not shooting a single enemy.