There are many reasons first-person platformers are not commonplace–depth perception, mobility, and, most importantly, controls. Mirror’s Edge does everything it can to make the formula work.
Mirror’s Edge tells a story of a world where runners–basically professional parkour enthusiasts–fight against monster-like capitalists. At least that’s what I got from the story. The game was on the shorter side for its big world, so what shone instead of the details were the characters’ relationships. At the center, yo have Faith, a runner, whose only family is her sister Kate, a cop. Without spoiling anything, this dynamic–each other’s everything on opposite sides of a polarized world–is the meat of the sandwich…Eh, not my best metaphor, but it works.
As for the landscape of the city, I only understand that the Big Bad was the Big Bad because the game said the people in blue were bad. I’m excited for the sequel so that I can learn more about this world. The little information I was given piqued my interest in a way this title never satisfied. I want to feel and understand the political and moral motivation as clearly as I did the familial ones.
Now this game’s mechanics were solid for such an experimental IP. If you play can play with keyboard and mouse, do. The only limitation is the constant need for precise controls of both Faith and the camera. Not only do your jumps need great timing, but so does the direction in which you’re looking. “Runner vision” highlights usable objects and ledges, helping you always know your intended path in this fast-paced game. Sometimes you must run and think about where you’re going later. When leaping towards the side of a building, you have to make sure you point the camera above your intended landing spot, or you will fall short and be treated to the sound of your legs breaking against asphalt below.
In case you haven’t kept up over the months, I obviously loved this gameplay. I wish I could fly across buildings like a cross between a spy and a superhero. Though the controls take some adjusting, the tutorial explains everything and provides the perfect playground on which to practice. You don’t have to leave until you want to, letting you hone your skills before starting the campaign.
As for the graphics, they are still gorgeous years later. The stark colors are still novel with the lands of gray and brown EA normally deal in (ignoring Plants vs. Zombies and Peggle, of course), and it could easily have been made today. One hint though–don’t bother with the PhysX settings. Its incompatibility with my graphics card caused the game to drop to a record low one FPS.
Overall, I adore this title and can’t wait for Catalyst. This too short for its own good title left me unprepared for the credits. Maybe it was too short, or maybe I’m just selfish. Either way, this long awaited –and even longer only rumored–can’t come quick enough.