Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Mirrors Edge - Why Walk when you can Fly?

When I was younger I used to have dreams where I ran and ran without my feet touching the ground. I am sure that the amateur psychiatrists will have fun with that but Mirror's Edge reminds me powerfully of those dreams.

The game is at its absolutely breathtaking best when you guide the sylph-like free-runner Faith in a madcap dash across rooftops leaping from ledge to ledge while narrowly avoiding flying bullets from the guns of your less nimble pursuers. The sense of speed and movement is magnificent and imparts a feeling of invincibility, at least until you miss a jump and end up plunging to your death hundreds of metres below.

The suspense is slightly marred by the realisation that the pursuers such weaklings that you can often turn around run up to them,  disarm them and use their weapon to murder their comrades with little more than a  few scratches to show for it. The fact that your unarmed elfin heroine can disarm an assault rifle wielding body armour clad SWAT officer strains credibility and feels like cheating. I try to avoid the tactic whenever possible but I must hang my head and admit to having resorted to it on a few occasions when my middle aged reactions proved incapable of leaping my way to freedom while under fire. I play on the default difficulty setting so it is possible that pursuers become more dangerous at higher settings but then I would have to put up with the frustration of not being able to get through certain sections of the game so it is a balance choice I
grudgingly put up with.

I actually put off playing Mirror's Edge for some time because I generally suck at running jumping games but I am pleased to report that this aspect of the game has proven perfectly balanced for me at least on normal difficulty. The mouse and keyboard controls work very well and I have even developed something of a fluidity as I glide across the rooftops. There are a few "difficult" jumps that look impossible at first glance but nothing that delayed me for more than about 10 minutes as I refined my timing or tried alternative approaches.

I am currently about two thirds of the way through the  game and I am playing it in small enough chunks so as not to get bored with the potentially repetitive game play.



Jayedub said...

Mirror's Edge is an interesting idea and a game everyone should at least try once. I didn't care for it much but I respect the game for doing something a bit different.

mbp said...

The game does have flaws. There are an awful lot of samey looking corridors and the gameplay can get repetitive but jumping across the roofs of sky scrapers is an adrenaline rush for me.