Mirrors Edge – Looking Back

by Chris ‘spiros za’ Hartley

This was one of those games I was not too sure about when it came out. I picked up a couple of times and put it back down not being sure if I would like it or not. Nowadays spending R550,00 on a game and not liking it will make a dent in the pocket somewhere. I had a couple of old games to trade so I made the trip to Canal Walk. There’s a little shop there that does rentals, trades and sales. Pretty cool little shop and you can pick up some real gems there, just keep going back once every 2 weeks and see what they have on the shelves. I traded Sonic the Hedgehog for Mirrors Edge and paid an additional R79,00 bucks, bargain! (Better than spending the R550,00!)

m-edgeSo, got home, put it in and started playing. Well, it’s safe to say, in my opinion; it’s really enjoyable to play. The whole platform is something completely different and new. The whole world around you could either help you get up a tricky spot or put you flat on your back, literally. The game was developed EA digital solutions and published by EA and is powered by the Unreal 3 Engine with the addition of a new lighting system developed by lluminate Labs in association with DICE. The graphics, though not the best, works well with the game. The scenery is a bit botched out and seems rushed in a sense, but that doesn’t really matter because you are more focused on the centre of the screen trying to find a quicker, alternative route to get to a spot quicker or evade an enemy.

The game really gives you the freedom to roam and use different moves to scale building and obstacles. It’s different from your normal 1st person platform in the sense that you basically run, tumble, wall run, slide and shimmy to get from one point to the next.  It sounds like you have some sort of superhuman jumping power, but in fact, it is quite realistic as to what the human body is capable of in real life. Think back to that program on the Discovery Channel, Jump London, where “athletes” (rather adrenaline junkies that can jump really well) scale building, jump cars, run up street lamps and generally harassing the British public. The HUD has been removed and the arms, legs and torso are clearly visible, this has been done to give you more accuracy when moving around and to help with getting around quicker in the game.

mirrors-edgeThe game play was a bit short. Consisting of 9 missions, each mission with its own obstacles. Mirrors Edge takes place in a city where a totalitarian regime monitors its citizens through invasive surveillance, tracking all forms of electronic communication in order to reduce crime and quell any challenge to its power. An upcoming mayoral election seeks to keep the power of totalitarianism (Mayor Callaghan) but a newcomer (Pope) promises to change that. Faith (your character you will be playing as) is a runner and trained in parkour, to stay out of sight and use the rooftops as pathways. Runners deliver physical messages between revolutionary groups within the city because electronic messages can be tracked. Faith gets a call from her sister Kate, who is a police officer, telling her Pope has been murdered. Kate has asks Faith to find out more and to report to her superior Lt. Miller. Along the way she meets a former runner, Jacknife, and tells her that Pope’s head of security has info. Faith tells Lt Mills who proceeds to setup a meeting with the head of security, Ropeburn. Faith tries to listen in but gets caught and Ropeburn tries to kill her, Faith gets the upper hand and the next thing Ropeburn is dangling from a building and Faith starts asking questions but before she can get answers he gets shot from a building across the way. Faith gives chase and discovers that he works for a security firm that the city heavily relies on and that they are also training a form of Runners.

mirrors_edge_10Merc (the guy that works at HQ) tells Faith that her sister has been convicted of Pope’s murder and arranges a spot for her to ambush the convoy that is transporting Kate. Faith is able to free Kate and Merc tells her to come back to HQ and lure the police away from Kate. Faith gets to the HQ which has been attacked and finds Merc near death and Kate gone missing. Merc tells Faith that Kate has been taken to the Shard, a skyscraper that is home to Callaghan as well as the city’s surveillance HQ. Lt. Miller helps Faith to gain entrance to the main frame server room, destroy them and get to the roof where a helicopter is waiting to take Kate away. During this scene Lt. Miller is cut off and shots are heard. As you find yourself on the rooftop you see Kate being held at gunpoint by Jacknife. He proceeds to tell faith of how Callaghan is planning to destroy all runners and that he (Jacknife) was involved from the beginning as a driving force. He attempt to escape with Kate in the helicopter but Faith follows and kicks Jacknife out of the helicopter sending him plummeting to his death.  As he falls stray bullets manage to hit the prop which makes the helicopter to start spinning, Kate is flung to a rooftop nearby with Faith following behind. Kate manages to grab onto a ledge and as she falls Faith grabs her and pulls her up as the helicopter crashes below. They hug and the credits start rolling.

So, not really much to the storyline, yet entertaining. The other nice feature of the game is the time trials you can run. You gain stars for beating a certain time run and you will also unlock some achievements in this mode. You can download “ghosts” of XBOX LIVE and see how the pros do it and what routes they take to beat the clock. In the time trials runs there really is no right or wrong way of doing it, but there is always a shorter route than you think. You can challenge friends to races and new trails are available as DLC called ” Pure Time Trials”. They have no cops in them, so no annoying bullets slowing you down, just you and the clock.

mirror-s-edge-first-gameplay-footage-1On the achievement side of things, there are some that are east to get and some look near impossible. One that comes to mind is wall run, turn, and jump. Climb up wall, turn, jump, aptly named “can I have this dance”. For the serious player a full gamescore is not impossible but hard, for the not so serious, finish story mode twice, once on normal and once on hard, you will be looking at about 500-600 GS. There is one achievement that is worth 80GS that will frustrate you; “Test of Faith”. For this achievement you are not allowed to shoot an enemy once during the whole game…

Not a bad game all in all, fun to play and easy to come to terms with the controls. I like the fact that you have completely freedom to try different ways from getting across the map, you are not bound to one certain way. A new, fresh platform of gaming that I hope is not the last we’ll see of.

Link to site for more info, screen shots and videos: http://www.mirrorsedge.com/