When it came to picking out one of my first PS3 games, one choice looked too good to resist: 2008's Mirror's Edge.
Developed by EA DICE (the same guys who brought us the Battlefield games and the upcoming Medal of Honor) Mirror's Edge is a first-person parkour adventure that will leave you breathless and in awe. The story follows Faith -- a Runner -- as she helps uncover the truth behind the murder of a mayoral candidate; a murder her sister is framed for. During her undercover espionages she keeps turning over stones seeking the real fact, but the more she discovers the deeper Faith's situation gets.
Your weapon, for the most part, is your speed and agility. In order to get around the world of Mirror's Edge you must jump off of buildings, run on walls, grab hold of pipes & ladders and basically just let Faith's feet do the thinking. For the most part this works out fine. However when it comes to one-on-one combat it sometimes is unfair to fight a cop with a sniper rifle with only your fists. (Fortunately this doesn't happen too often to make it a major pain.) You will have the chance to use a weapon once you disarm an officer, but it's best to discard it after awhile. (The heavier the weapon, the more it slows Faith down.)
Grabbing hold of ledges and water pipes can be easy, but there are moments where a jump seems too far out of reach; and after 40 times of trying you almost want to give up and toss the game aside for good. (Don't, though, 'cause that'd be pretty fucking stupid.) A brief look-around will find solutions to these nerve-wracking nuisances within the game, though once you figure out the solution you might want to bonk yourself over the head over how easy it just turned out to be. That's not to say the game is easy, though. In fact Mirror's Edge is a tough challenge, even on the easiest setting. Hell even the tutorial can be a bit of a hassle in some points. Once you figure it out, though, you will be rewarded with one of the most fun games on the PS3. It's also one of the most gorgeous.
The city in Mirror's Edge has some of the most beautiful areas within the realm of video gaming. On top of it all the realism within the game is almost too good to be true. However it appears that this game has been seen as "too real" for some, as it has been known to cause simulated motion sickness. (Though a small circle was placed in the center of the screen to help aid those with this condition, it doesn't seem to be a good solution.) Nevertheless the realism in the game will suck you into the world no problem. (Imagine if it was done in a 3D simulator. Oh, the possibilities!) I've read other reviews of this game complaining about the choice of animated cut-scenes in the game. For the most part it works for the story it's telling. Granted it's not up to par with Japanese animation or Pixar CGI, but at least a lot of effort went into making these animated scenes for Mirror's Edge. (In fact I wouldn't mind seeing these folks expanding the animated portions into a full-length movie.)
Controlling the game depends on how well you can handle the tutorial. If you can get through it with ease then this game will be simple to play, but if you're like me and have some issue with multi-tasking there will be a few challenges you'll be forced to face in regards to how the game is maneuvered. Some combos don't seem to want to work in a life-threatening situation, and again that will lead to players having to try again and again many times until you want to wave the white flag. (I spent 30 minutes trying to do a combo in order to go through a closing door. Nenya can vouch for me on that!) Thankfully this issue is petty compared to the gratifying end results in Mirror's Edge.
Finally there's the storyline, which is sadly the weakest part of the game. The "setup for murder" premise has been done way too many times in movies as well as video games, and seeing it again in Mirror's Edge kind of makes me groan. At times it's also too predictable, especially during crucial moments in the game. (The voice acting, however, is well-done.) Fortunately the storyline does not ruin the game. In fact it helps bring out the best parts of Mirror's Edge even more. Plus when you want a break from the story you can give the Time Trial and Race modes a try, which help pass the time when there's nothing else going on in the outside world.
- Amazing first-person perspective within a beautifully-rendered world
- Original gameplay, parkour elements real to the touch
- Good mixture of strategy during one-on-one combat
- Storyline is a little unimaginative
- Controls can be a tad tricky in crucial areas
- Not for those with motion sickness
While the storyline in Mirror's Edge is nowhere near original, the rest of the game is. Though it's not a "must-own," it definitely is an essential to try even just once. Still here's hoping for more games in a similar vein (especially with the upcoming sequel currently in production).
FINAL GRADE: 8.2