I had been looking forward to playing Mirror's Edge since the early months of 2008, all the while hoping it was going to live up to the hype I had heard swirling around it. The good news is, this first-person action title is beautiful to look at, it's a great way to break out of a RPG rut (note to self: must stop playing Fable II), and I was able to do things I had never done before in a game. The bad news? It takes quite a while to get the hang of the controls and movements, not to mention the camera angles.
Mirror's Edge places you in a suppressed city, run by a totalitarian regime. You're a messenger, running correspondence between the underground resistance, and your sole mission is to deliver your "packages" without getting caught by government surveillance teams. But the coolest part? You use rooftops high above the city floor to make your way from point A to point B. This is where things get interesting.
To see what I mean, just
As Faith — the game's main character — finding your way around the ceiling of the city is made much easier by looking for objects, platforms, pipes, anything that you can jump from, grab onto, or open, that is shaded in red. Sometimes this has you leaping from one building to another while avoiding barbed-wire, sliding under pipes, and busting open roof doors to evade the police; or to get where you need to go. But nothing is set in stone — there is never only one way to get to your destination.
The colors and graphics in Mirror's Edge are like nothing I've ever seen before. It's vibrant, crisp, has great detail, and has impressive lighting effects that emulate real sun reflecting off the glass windows of your city. Plus, the sounds are pretty awesome too. You can hear the traffic bustling below, but the one thing you hear the most is your heavy breathing and footsteps — it's a true immersion into the world. This great detail is what makes the issue with the controls such a bummer! Even with a full tutorial in the beginning, I spent more than a few hours doing some trial and error before I finally got to the point where I could really play the first level — but in the end it was totally worth it.
Mirror's Edge is that game that you can keep coming back to, even if it's only to perfect your skills. The story is engaging, and your heart really does pound when you leap off the edge of a skyscraper, or when you're being pursued by cops and can't find your way out of a building. There's a lot to love about this game — it's fresh and I've never played anything like it — but it's definitely not going to be for everyone. Especially those who have a hard time picking up control functions. . . and maybe even those who are afraid of heights.
Mirror's Edge is available now for $60 bucks for the Xbox 360 and PS3.