Hay Caramba. This game. Look, there are several cardinal sins in gaming. Two of the bigger ones are quick time events (or QTEs) and first-person platforming. Mirror’s Edge has both of these so there goes my ability to give it a fair review.
Mirror’s Edge is about a woman named Faith who works for a secret underground organization carrying packages whose entire training program is on rooftops. Irony ever present. Your group seems to have some beef with the government though I don’t think that’s ever explained. It’s never really explained who you work for either; or what you’re delivering and I don’t think we ever delivered a single package. So I’m not sure we’re in the right organization. Maybe we just have to take it on Faith that we’re doing our job (Har har, name jokes). In fact, I don’t see much point in the underground organization thing, Faith spends the entire game trying to get her sister off for a crime her sister didn’t commit. Seems like just about any occupation would do because it’s irrelevant.
The story is downright terrible. Maybe it’s because the game is so short and wasn’t meant to have a story. But they still managed to Jackknife (oops I did it again!) so many little pieces together. Maybe it’s just because I’m me, but I don’t understand why people with guns insist on putting guns right up against the person they’re about to shoot. Seriously, are you the type of person that plays archer class and stands right next to the enemy you’re trying to kill? You have a RANGED WEAPON. Why are you using it in melee range? Why so close to people you absolutely KNOW have hand-to-hand training! I guess you know you have that same training, but do you really need to take that chance? Just sit back 100 meters and shoot the guy. Hell, 10 meters will do. Ugh. Betrayals happen for little to no reason, or at least no adequately explained reason. Maybe there will be a sequel that handles all of that. After all, the game was rather short. I just feel like you could’ve focused on one story rather than trying to loop together some two and a half stories.
Let’s talk mechanics. You know, I absolutely hate quick time events, but Mirror’s Edge executes them in an adequate way. Quick time events are horrible when there’s no way to know that they’re coming. It’s annoying to fail a quick time event and get sent back to base when you had no means of knowing that it was coming. But in Mirror’s Edge, the entire game is pretty much built on quick time events so it’s not as bad. It’s a parkour game. You run, you jump, you balance, it’s all fun. When things can be jumped on or something they colorize from white to red, making it easy to identify where you could go if you were so inclined. Only not all red things should be acted upon. So it’s eh.
The combat is really $#@!ing retarded. You can take two hits from any police dude. Two. They also have guns. You know what you have? Tattoos and a bad haircut. So if two hits seems unfair to you, you’re going to have a bad time. You can steal guns from cops but to do so requires running at the cop (who, unlike the baddies mentioned before are actually smart enough to use their guns from range) and then wait for them to attack you. As they attack you, you can do your counter attack which insta-KOs and steals their gun. Which, if you’re going to play this game would be a very important skill to learn because if you hope to win sometime today you’ll be using it a lot. And this is where the game went from quicky parkour to pain in the behind.
See, whatever you’re doing has to be extremely illegal because the cops in the city have nothing better to do than send whole squads of cops your way with helicopter support. HELICOPTER SUPPORT. And remember, you’re not even delivering anything! It’s insane the amount of public resources that get spent on you. Anyway, the game sends full squads of cops your way. Now normally, you’d think “Okay, parkour game. We’ll just parkour around them or through them or something”. Absolutely incorrect. The game spawns cops in such a way that it’s very difficult to do so. My first attempts were usually to try and skirt the cops. But eventually I found it easier to run at the cops, do the QTE, and use their gun to take out the other cops. And this is where Mirror’s Edge fails. It’s just not fun to have to parkour to a cop, pass a QTE, and then turn the game into a first-person shooter for a few just to pass the levels. It breaks the pacing and it involves a lot of restarts should you fail that QTE.
Also, who was in charge of skybox? Is there enough bloom in the game? I guess it might be to help emphasize the red on white thing, but seriously. Put down the lights.
You know what the worst part is? I could see this game working. If you remove the combat and focus on the parkour, I think it could be excellent. I feel like to do that would require sandbox gameplay though. Also, can we deliver packages for once? I mean, that’s kinda what I wanted to do. I imagined myself free-running away and around the cops delivering packages. Instead I had to fight the cops to take their package and then kill the other cops with it. What a shame.
In summary, good idea, poor execution. I have a feeling the story was put on the backburner and that’s fine, but trying to shovel in a second story of betrayal without fleshing out the first story means bad design. Too. Many. Guns. Guns kill the fun parkour style of the game. At the time of writing, the game is $20 on Steam. I would not buy it for this price. Wait for it to go on super sale for like $5.