Developed by EA Digital Illusions Ce and published by Electronic Arts, Mirror's Edge is a definitive action-adventure game that brings with it a memorable and unique gaming experience. Mirror's Edge combines the elements of a first-person shooter with those of a third-person platforming and action-adventure game to create something entirely new and revitalizing to the genre. The concept for the gameplay of Mirror's Edge revolves around the real world discipline known as "Parkour". Parkour is described as the art of movement or the art of movement forward in spite of obstructions or obstacles. Mirror's Edge allows the player the freedom to choose their own path during level progression in-game. Throughout Mirror's Edge however, the player will come to realize that even their freedom as a practitioner of Parkour is limited in the world which they traverse.
Story: You play as Faith Connors, a "runner", forced to live in a dystopian cityscape where totalitarianism is the way of life. In this society, any and all forms of electronic communication are strictly monitored in an effort to keep crime levels at their lowest possible levels. For this reason, people are too afraid to communicate in such a way and contract runners to procure and deliver their information for them. The runners are couriers that physically deliver messages and information to important clientele that ask for their services. An upcoming election provides hope for the city, as mayoral candidate, Robert Pope, seeks to bring change should he be elected. However, the hope for new life for the city is shot when Robert Pope is abruptly murdered. Faith finds herself in the middle of the chaos as she tasks herself with getting to the bottom of the murder after finding out that her sister is somehow involved as well as uncovering an even bigger secret.
Gameplay: Here is where Mirror's Edge truly shines. As stated earlier, the gameplay revolves around Parkour, and as such, Faith has access to a multitude of acrobatic abilities and feats. The game was given the its first-person perspective to enhance the control and freedom given to the player and make every action look more realistic. For example, while running, Faith slowly accelerates into a full sprinting speed which causes the screen to blur partially (simulating motion blur or a "tunnel vision" like effect). The controls for the game are simple, with each button performing a single, basic, yet context-sensitive action. There are buttons to make Faith jump and crouch. Whilst in an idle stance, pressing one button will make Faith hop up and pressing another will make her crouch. Whilst running, Faith will leap forward if the "up" button is pressed or will slide on the ground if the "down" button is pressed. If there's an obstacle in Faith's path, pressing the up button as you near it will have Faith vault over it and pressing the down button, Faith will slide under it (if possible).
Aside from these actions, Faith is able to roll, run on walls, do 180 degree turns and wall vaults. One button functions as the "use" or "confirm" button used when there are interactive objects present in the environment. One button controls Faith's melee attacks as well as the firing of any weapon that's picked up. Though it is possible to use weapons in this game, using them is not recommended as this is not a first-person shooter or combat based, but an first-person action-adventure game with platforming and exploration as the main focus. Moving on, there is a button to re-center Faith's perspective view as well as to direct her towards her goal. There is also a button that enables "bullet time", which causes a matrix-like slowdown of time to allow Faith to better react in combat. As stated earlier, the controls for the game are simple, yet learning how to fully master them is the true test as figuring out how to advance in a particular stage is one of the game's challenging aspects.
Though this game does not focus on fighting or combat, there are times where engaging the enemy cannot be avoided. Combat is relatively easy as enemies are taken down with as little as three hits and do not try to avoid your attacks often. Enemies do wield firearms, but Faith is able to disarm and take their weapons in melee combat. This is accomplished through a timed button press in response to an enemy melee attack. The forced combat sequences can be a tedium as they do slow the fast paced action of the game to a halt. Fortunately, combat can be avoided in most situations and in some, must be if there is too big of any enemy force to fight. However, just because combat has been avoided, doesn't mean the problems end there. Now you have to find your escape route to safety, which is easier said than done when in the heat of a police chase down. Thankfully, there a little thing in-game called "Runner vision". Runner vision is a passive ability available to the player that highlights important objects in the environment that can guide the player to where they need to go or what they can use to do so. These objects will always be highlighted in a vibrant red and are of great help to the player if they're confused on what to do or where to go.
Mirror's Edge is not a long game. In fact it is rather short, clocking in only around 10 to 11 hours of gameplay. Once the main story is completed, you can try to progress through it again on the hardest difficulty setting. If that isn't your cup of tea, you can attempt speed runs of story chapters to measure your own skill. In addition, there is an added time trial mode where you can tackle various courses from the main game in an attempt to beat qualified times for a spot on the leaderboard or for your own self-satisfaction. Re-playability is an issue when it comes to Mirror's Edge if you're not a perfectionist. You'll probably put down the game and move on to something else once finished with the main storyline. Even if you're not a perfectionist and just love the game for what it offers, you can try some of the aforementioned modes to get the most out of it all.
Graphics & Visuals: The graphics in Mirror's Edge are very well done for a first-person game. From the many building rooftops and city streets that you traverse, every item is well-detailed and appears similarly to how they would in real life. Character models are also well done, having been given the same attention to detail as the very environment which they inhabit. The locales in the game are brilliantly executed. The city and its buildings are painted in a vibrant white coupled with shades of yellow, blue, green, and red during the day. Stark contrasts can be found in darker levels such as drainage plants where dark hues of blue and green color the walls and water slicked floors or in metro tunnels where softer shades of orange and yellow act as lights in the darkness. The story is told through two ways, in-game cutscenes and cartoonish, cel shaded animation cinematics. The cel shaded animations are dark and full of shadows, in contrast to the normally bright and vibrant visuals in-game and seem somewhat out-of-place for this reason.
Overall: Mirror's Edge is perhaps one of the more exciting first-person games I have experienced. Where other games simply offered war scenarios and mindless shooting, this game brought with it an innovative breath. Such a breath invigorated me and kept me hooked all through the game. The unbridled freedom that this game offers is unparalleled in any other first-person game known, and the feeling that it gives the player as they zoom across the high rooftops of towering buildings or skillfully navigate the tricky networks of a drainage plant can not be felt in any other such game of the genre. Along with the beautifully crafted environments and design style, exploring the world of Mirror's Edge couldn't be more enticing. Combat in the game can become a nuisance at times as later in the game, fighting will be unavoidable (in the sense that if you don't fight, you die trying to escape to your destination) and even difficult in some cases with large amounts of enemies. As I have stated before, the controls are simple yet difficult to master. This can become a problem early on, as if one can't grasp the moves necessary their survival, they will find themselves repeating particular sections of the game countless times. Regardless, this game is not difficult to finish by a longshot. Through some effort and persistence anyone can manage to pick this up and complete it in their own time. Mirror's Edge is definitely a game worth playing and finishing, whether it be rented or purchased