With so many conflicting reports already appearing on, not only details regarding a sequel to Mirrors Edge, but also whether the game is even in development, I felt it was time to re-indulge my free-running capabilities and refresh our memories, as to why there is even contemplation of a followup.
Despite Mirrors Edge original release being almost 4 years ago, in which time there have been massive visual and technical strides, mirrors Edge is still as pleasing to the eye as Jennifer Hendricks covered in milk chocolate, whilst straddling a football (Oh yeah, I went there!). The City itself conveys a very utopian feel, picture the futuristic city perceived in Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”, now think of that cities polar opposite, bright, vivid and misleading, but an also a very cerebral setting, with overused whites, which is minimally layered with neon blasts of vibrancy, which can cause you to lose your bearings in unfamiliar surroundings. Almost every aspect in daily life is monitored, news is manipulated and used as propaganda, all very reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel “1984”.
You play as Faith, a female, free runner whose job is to deliver Haagen-Dazs ice cream to wealthy stock brokers, before it melts into tasty liquid mess, or something like that? I think there’s some sort of conspiracy sub plot simmering somewhere in the background. The truth is, the narrative is like a Fearne Cotton opinion, totally irrelevant, all you really care about is the free running. It’s fair to say that Mirrors Edge doesn’t adhere to the typical formula normally associated with FPS’s either, opting for a less violent direction. Rather than perpetrating questionable acts of violence, your rewarded in taking the moral high ground, by simply running away, very quickly, and hopefully looking good while doing so.
But you know a game is going to be unbearably frustrating, when you spend less time leaping from rooftop to rooftop, disarming heavily armed guards, and trigger happy helicopter’s, than you do attempting to leap over a desk. When you first begin Mirrors Edge you will fall, a lot! Frustratingly frequently actually. It will happen with such irritating regularity, that your believe that it isn’t your miss timed jumps that are causing you to fail, but that the game is just hopelessly unresponsive. Whether your jumping, sliding, or running across walls, if you’ve even slightly miscalculated, Mirrors Edge will brutally send you crashing (quite literally) towards Earth, and leaves you with a familiar sensation of hopelessness. But when you do achieve the seemingly improbable, and your suddenly linking jumps, runs, slides almost effortlessly, it’s a gratifying sensation, and almost single-handedly erasing your previous frustrations. You can’t help but stride around with a reinvigorated sense of satisfaction and omit a swagger only Simon Cowell could equally exude.
For vast majorities of the game, the combat is rendered relatively redundant, as its conceivably possible to not even engage in any hostilities, let alone kill anyone, and even when required to battle, your almost always choose to disarm the opponent rather than fight head on, which is accompanied by its own problems. Again it’s a timing issue, time it right, and your feel suitably smug as Faith sends her knee crashing into the assailants jaw, and relinquishing the gun at the same time, get it wrong, and its good night Vienna, or this worlds equivalent. Slowing down time with a button push is an advantage, but your soon become heavily reliant on it in almost every combat situation.
So lets recap; Mirrors Edge is painfully frustrating, is visually appealing but equally derived of character, is nightmarishly ruthless, not to mention sluggish, unresponsive and explains itself about as well as an excitable child, high on cookies watching back to back episodes of Peppa Pig, but do you know what? Despite its glaring over sites, and its borderline narcissism, I love it. Mirrors Edge generally offers something new from the typical mainstream, first person perspective, and a level of sophistication rarely associated with the genre saturated with modern-day conflicts. Just being able to see your feet and hand responses as you quickly ascend to the top of a skyscraper, or carefully negotiating perilously narrow pipes, offers an even greater sense of immersion.
Mirrors Edge is a difficult game to recommend to the wider demographic, it’s not really aimed at any one potential gamer, it follows the same basic premise throughout, you go, you see, and you run faster than an orphan being chased by Madonna, but it never feels repetitive. It rewards gamers for their perseverance, and punishes the rest. But taking into account Mirrors Edge age and affordability, (currently available for £8.65 on Amazon) in my typically biased opinion, this is well worth purchasing. I’m now just hoping that the sequel is a free running, free roaming, open world. Hmm? A readily available, fully exploitive city? Just imagine the potential?!