There have been attempts, others succesful ones, on making unlikely games in the first person. We have had First Person Shooters, First Person Role Playing Games, First Person Turn Based Strategy, now we finally have a First Person Platformer. What’s a First Person Platformer you ask? Imagine playing Super Mario Brothers through the eyes of Mario himself. That’s exactly what Mirror’s Edge feels like and it is interesting to say the least.
Mirror’s Edge is set in a time and place governed by a totalitarian government. You play the role of Faith, a runner. Runners are highly trained, very agile agents who physically pass messages to avoid government surveillance. You got caught in a plot to wipe out all the runners in the city as your sister is framed for the crime of killing the top handler of runners. The story is told in in-game cutscenes through the eyes of Faith and some animated sequences thrown in here and there. The animation though are not that impressive.
Mirror’s Edge uses the Unreal 3 engine with a new lighting solution. The brightness burned my eyeballs! So to those who are very sensitive to brightness (you frakin’ vampires), you can turn down the brightness a bit. The scenery differs widely from one point of the game to another. One you’ll be running through a rooftop, then crawl through airvents and get shot at by policemen in an office building. They all look realistic enough despite the pupil shrinking brightness. To add to this, the game supports Nvidia’s Physx Engine. So cloth moves like cloth, glass breaks like glass, and metal bends as bullets hit them.
Sounds in the game are convincing. But what I prefer to listen to more is the soundtrack. Heck, I would want to buy the soundtrack for it and use it as an excercise mix yokyokyok. Glass breaking as you run through display cases as you are being shot at, simply exhilirating! Makes you want to run in your seat too.
The game is played with case-sensitive controls. So pushing the up button will make you jump, climb a barrier, vault up a ledge, depending on what’s infront of you to interact with. For example if you’re running and you push the down button, you slide down. If you’re walking, down makes you crouch. Running and precisely timing when to push the buttons as you encounter barriers makes for very exciting running sequences. You’ll slide under low bars, jump through chain fences, walk on side walls, leap across impossible distances and roll as you land. The game keeps your adrenaline pumping.
My one complaint is the gunplay. When you take out an enemy and pick up his gun, Faith can’t shoot! You fire a couple of rounds and the shooting feels clunky and unimaginative. So you’re left to throw away the gun and use hand to hand combat. Speaking of hand to hand combat, it is absolutely amazing! Depending on where you stand and your stance, context sensitive controls will allow you to do amazing martial arts feats.
Mirror’s Edge has no significant replay value though. You can do the runs again timed if you really are very anal and want to beat your own time. Also there are runner’s bags hidden all over the maps that will unlock a few goodies. Other than that, Mirror’s Edge’s primary pull back for replay is the exhiliration.
If you’re an adrenaline junky who doesn’t mind falling off buildings once in a while, this game is for you.