Playback: Mirrors Edge

It seems that no one bought Mirror’s Edge so how come everyone wants to see a sequel? The release of the game coincided with a boom in the thing developers appear to hate most – pre-owned game sales.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the number of trophies and achievements won in Mirrors Edge is more than double the number of copies of the game sold so it’s evident that players were not ready to gamble £40 on a new IP but were quite happy to grab the title, at a later date and a cut down price.

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Those rascal gamers who dodged giving EA any cash include myself, as I bought a copy pre-owned off eBay, sorry EA.

Mirror’s Edge stood out from the crowd in 2008 thanks to its rather unique concept and setting. Writer, Rhianna Pratchett, helped EA created a shiny dystopian city ruled by a police-state dictatorship but rather than grabbing an Uzi and laying waste to the bad guys, you play a non violent heroine by the name of Faith.

[drop2]Faith is a runner, a courier, and spends her time scampering across the buildings and rooftops of the city. As the state are monitoring electronic communications, Runners are the only way to move information across the city undetected.

Mirror’s Edge is unique in that the free running occurs in first person rather than third person. All you ever see of Faith when playing the game are her feet and hands as you make her scramble across buildings.

As Faith’s speed builds up while running, the rate at which the camera bobs up and down increases and when performing a roll, the camera will spin to match Faith’s view.

The developers, DICE, took the unusual step of making players avoid violence wherever possible. If Faith is attacked then her best chance for survival is usually to make a run for it, picking up a gun will slow her down and she cannot climb whilst wielding a fire arm.

The plot finds Faith’s sister, Kate, framed for the murder of mayoral candidate Robert Pope. As she investigates, Faith will uncover ‘Project Icarus’. All is not as it seems, are some her own friends working for the Police state? Can you trust anyone?

Mirror’s Edge plays well but the lack of alternative paths to the destination seems very restrictive today when Connor can clamber over an entire forest in the recently showcased Assassin’s Creed III. Setting most of the action atop skyscrapers was also a bad idea, it may have served the plot but it does mean instant, squishy death on many occasions.

Graphically, the game looks fresh and modern but suffers from aliasing issues and for such a shiny, mirrored world we hardly ever get to see Faith, a shame when they had spent so long making her unique.

The in-game music is rather special and the theme, Still Alive, reached No. 26 in the Swedish top 40. Pop Fact Extra: The composer of Still Alive, Rami Yacoub, also wrote ‘Ooops I Did It Again’ for Britney Spears and recent top ten hit ‘One Thing’ for pop muppets One Direction.

Mirror’s Edge is a flawed gem, if a sequel is ever announced it should improve on the solid foundations set back in November 2008. EA were working on a sequel but it was sadly cancelled. EA say the franchise is ‘still important’ but have yet to announce a new game.

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34 Comments

  1. I loved mirrors edge, the character, the environment, the game mechanics. But the time trials were near impossible!

  2. I agree that it was flawed, but I personally also consider it as one of my favourite games…besides those points where there seemed to be no way to get out of small spaces, THOSE were incredibly frustrating…

  3. I actually owned this for like two years but have never played it much. So I eventually traded it in since I couldn’t be arsed with it anymore. Might go for the PC version on Steam once its on sale I guess. It just didn’t grab me however it was an interesting and bright world. Didn’t like the cut scenes though but I liked how Faith would place her hands on the wall if you went close, the gloves were cool.

    Best FPS…experience Evar, mainly cuz it wasn’t grim, military or depressing. Its a shame EA would never likely green light the sequel but yeah since they’re wasting money on Medal of Honor its no shock, Hate em.

  4. A real gem, very unusual this generation have a major release that offered something new beyond a new type of particle effect or something similar.

    Yes it was flawed as a game, but more please… not just Mirrors Edge 2, but more genre blurring games altogether

  5. Mirrors edge is awesome I for one think it didn’t have any flaw. Like you said jumping around buildings are part of the plot and yes it did mean instant squishy death but I personally think that just adds to the fun and challenge. I hope a sequel can be made soon and I also hope its not like past sequels from EA *cough* dragon age 2 *cough*

  6. Hmm, Got Mirrors Edge like 2 years ago from Game for 4.99. Haven’t even removed the plastic yet. xD

  7. well i’m glad i bought it preowned, one because though it is a good game, and comes closest to making platforming work in first person, it’s still not the ideal way to do platforming.

    hang on a ledge and all you see is a face full of wall.
    and then there’s not being able to see where you feet are and where you’re going at the same time, which is a bit of a hindrance when you have to make precise jumps.

    but the main reason i’m glad i bought it preowned is it makes me sick.
    as in literally, i get motion sickness when playing it, i still haven’t finished the game because of it.

    i’d love to see a sequel, but one with the option, just an option mind so those who prefer the first person can play that way, of a third person mode.
    i would buy a sequel if it offered that.
    i don’t blame ea for the motion sickness, but knowing ea if they ever do make a sequel, they’ll lock loads of content or have some form of online pass, even in their single player games these days, and that i do blame ea for.

    and it was nice to see a game featuring a female lead that didn’t have ridiculously huge breasts and run around in inappropriately skimpy clothing.
    for some female characters i use the term clothing in it’s loosest possible sense.

    and i loved that song that went with it.

    • The only game to ever give me a little bit of vertigo.

      That aside though, whilst the 1st person viewpoint was cool & a little different, i much prefer parkopur/freerunning games to be in 3rd person, so that you can see all the cool stuff your character is doing.

    • Whilst I sympathize for the motion sickness, allowing a 3rd person option would ruin the whole point of the game. It would probably make for an entirely different game/experience, and thereby not be all that unique.

      • i think you do the game a bit of a disservice if you think that the first person parkour thing was the only thing that made the game unique.

        there was the environment, there was the fact that despite having the ability to take weapons off people trying to kill you, actually using those weapons is not recommended, and how many games are there where avoiding combat is the preferred course of action?

        i don’t think a third person option would ruin the game, i could see it playing much the same but just giving you greater awareness of your surroundings.

        and like i said, just make that an option, so those who prefer first person can still play it that way.

        the main reason i’d like to see a third person option isn’t the motion sickness, but it would certainly help with that.
        it’s that platform, even this parkour style platforming, just isn’t suited to first person.
        that’s why there are so few games that do it.

        just being unique for the sake of it, isn’t a good thing unless what you’re doing works.

        somebody could make a driving game where you steer with the triggers, that would be unique, but would it make a good game?

  8. I liked the look of the game but the tutorial was as far as i got.

  9. Refreshingly different as a game.

    • Totally agree. This game was the very definition of refreshing change. Such a fine combination of cerebral platforming and clean graphics and given it was in the first person it worked incredibly well. Wasnt so keen on anime cut scenes but no matter. Also still amuses me years later that I didn’t work out until about two thirds through the game that you could actually pick up the guns left by enemies by presssing triangle button! Still even then it was far more fun to slide / melee them rather than use the admittedly weak shooting mechanics.

      Mirrors edge deserves a sequel as it was a brave new IP with great art style (cut scenes aside) and some fantastic mechanics in a time when most were producing unreal engine space marine grey with alarming regularity.

  10. I’m the odd one out. I hated it more than I have ever hated a game. It tried so hard to be different that by the end it just annoyed me like no other.

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