Games Gone By are short retrospective reviews, taking a look back at games you may have missed. Today’s game is Mirror’s Edge.
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst has re-imagined this beautiful game, but that doesn’t mean the original should be avoided at all costs.
When I first played Mirror’s Edge, I described it with one word: different.
A first-person, free-running, platforming shooter — Mirror’s Edge strayed from the standard “it’s the year 2050, you’re a soldier, kill everything” formula and created its own lane.
Mirror’s Edge is set in a futuristic utopian city, ruled by a sinister oppressive government who use intrusive monitoring of citizens and subtle manipulation of the media to keep control of the population.
You control a “runner” named Faith, a free-runner who carries physical communications for high-profile clients who wish to remain off of the grid, away from the government’s prying eyes for fear of repercussions. When Faiths sister is framed for murder, it falls to you to bring those responsible to justice.
You do this using your parkour abilities to navigate sections of the beautiful city around you, all while avoiding the trigger-happy police force who hunt you. Leaping from building top to building top, kicking through doorways and charging down hallways never gets boring.
I cannot get bored of looking at this game. The city itself is pristine, which sets it apart from the gritty futuristic cities of Deus Ex, for example. The interiors are equally immaculate, with clever changes in color to differentiate locations, which creates a distinct character for each area and prevents them from becoming stale.
The parkour and jumps are good – not as precise and fluid as Dying Light, but very impressive all the same. It is a game that requires a little patience and quick thinking. The success and failure of each climb and jump falls to you, your timing and judgment (plus the occasional bug, but let’s not go there).
You will die. A lot. And, that’s okay.
Dying rarely becomes frustrating, as the knowledge from each failed attempt ultimately leads to nailing the sequence of jumps and rolls with perfection. These sequences are exciting, often fast-paced and, with the police hot on your heels, occasionally high-pressured. Getting through a particularly testing location is an incredibly thrilling and rewarding experience, one that I had never felt in a first-person game before.
Sadly, Mirror’s Edge isn’t flawless – hence EA DICE decided to go back to the drawing board and start over. The shooting isn’t great; the story isn’t the strongest, and you will yearn for the option to explore the entire city with the skills you master through the story.
Despite these blemishes, I cannot recommend Mirror’s Edge enough. We as gamers cry out for the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield to “do something different” with each almost identical release. Mirror’s Edge delivers that touch of extra creativity to create a thoroughly rewarding, innovative game.
Catalyst certainly builds upon the foundations laid by the original. It is fine-tuned and improved in almost every area. But, guess what? The original Mirrors Edge is still a stunner and, considering its low price, is a must buy if you’re still patiently waiting for Catalyst to drop in price.
If you want a different experience from a first-person game, you owe it to yourself to try Mirror’s Edge.
Thank you for reading.