Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge is an interesting game. It's a first-person runner, where the primary gameplay involves running across rooftops performing feats of acrobatics to get from point A to point B, avoiding the gun-wielding authorities. The demo really engaged me, so I decided to pick this one up (and my wife made me wait for Christmas to open it).

One impression you get in the demo is that you're encouraged to run rather than fight, finding a way around enemies rather than through them. Unfortunately, as I'm finding out in later levels, the opposite is tending to be true. I'm coming across more and more levels where there are more people that I have no choice but to fight, as attempting to run through will get you gunned down in three steps or less. And with no gun of your own, this is nearly impossible. (You can take an enemy's gun and use it, but the achievement for not doing this even once in a campaign suggests an encouragement not to do so.) "Take them one at a time" is easier said than done when five come at you all at once.

The game can be frustrating at times. It's very much based on flow and momentum. If you know exactly where you're going and the path you're taking to get there, it can be very satisfying to string together a sequence of runs, jumps, tumbles, and slides that just flows from point A to B. However, finding the right sequence or even the right place to go is an exercise in trial and error, not to mention patience. Sometimes the controls don't respond exactly how you'd expect, either, where you'd expect a wall-climb ends up with your character lying flat on her back with the wind knocked out of her (if you're lucky).

Despite that, it still is a very interesting game. It's so unlike anything I've ever played, and there's a definite thrill to being able to run across rooftops and leap across buildings. Although it can be frustrating, once you do find the magic path that flows across the map, the rush when you do it is quite a payoff.

There is some DLC that is being released for it that reduces the game to its basic, fun play, where you just run through time trials through some abstract aerial tracks. It is something I look forward to spending some points on, when I get back to playing it.

I'm glad EA decided to take a chance on this unique game. Unfortunately, it may be something we see less of, with the economy being what it is, there have already been murmurings that a game that's as different as this is from the mainstream is unlikely to get recognition again. :( I know my wallet may regret spending full price on this, but I'm certainly glad I threw in my support. It's a good game.

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