• There’s something eminently disturbing about a future dystopian world that sits freshly scrubbed and bleach-white under a clear blue sky. All should be well in Faith’s world. She’s a runner, a psyched-up courier with superior parkour skills and the ability to “see” elements in her immediate environment that can help her to scramble across the rooftops of the harshly bright skyscraper-laden city as quickly as possible.

    Mirror’s Edge takes up Faith’s story as she recovers after a fall that puts her out of action for a while. After some warm up training in a Runners Training Area you take control of Faith and use her athletic ability to your best advantage.

    Here’s where I issue a minor cautionary warning. If you suffer from motion sickness you might want to play this game with a bucket balanced on your lap, because Mirror’s Edge has a unique perspective – head height camera in a first person style, really putting you in Faith’s shoes in every way possible.

    Mirror's Edge

    The plot of Mirror’s Edge thickens once Faith is shot at during a routine courier mission by the city’s ever present overbearing police force known simply to runners as “The Blues”. Faith later finds that her sister, a member of that same police force has been framed for the murder of the city’s mayor and so Faith’s quest begins – to clear her sister’s name and avoid being taken into custody.

    As the story plays out, you begin to piece together clues and find valuable contacts within the city that can help to uncover why Faith’s sister was framed.

    A short anime-style cut scene precedes each “chapter” in Mirror’s Edge, then you’re straight into the action. Using your runner’s vision, and following the radio prompts of your courier controller, a mysterious man known as Mercury who saw potential in Faith at an early age and trained her as a runner. Mercury will keep your butt out of trouble and will offer up plenty of help to ensure that you avoid capture.

    Levels start off by being relatively simple but you’ll soon learn how to spot the telltale splash of red that marks out a clear and trusted path across the various rooftop and street-level obstacles.

    The training acts as an extended tutorial to give you the basic moves including jumping, sliding and grabbing onto ledges and other objects, but it’s up to you to work out how best to chain all your moves together in order to progress as quickly as possible to each level’s goals.

    The game moves at quite a pace, and some serious work has been done to ensure that movement feels fluid and natural and really does put you right behind Faith’s eyes as a point of view. It’s quite harrowing the first few times you fall from a great height and land with a sickening crunch on the ground ten storeys below but eventually you’ll start to get a feel for how to make the best of your momentum and your jump distance so that you stay out of harm’s way.

    Players who have seen the trailers and are expecting plenty of gunplay might be disappointed. Faith is far more efficient at unarmed combat than she is with any of the weapons you can wrestle from the various security forces, so heed Mercury’s words and isolate any aggressors before nimbly and swiftly disarming them and knocking them out (there’s a special achievement available that encourages you not to fire on anyone during the entire game – quite a tough challenge indeed).

    As each chapter passes, the challenge becomes more and more difficult until you’ll find the game ramps up the difficulty spike furiously, perhaps to make up for the overall shortness of the main storyline.

    Though short, there’s plenty of extended life on offer in the game with the online race challenges. Each chapter can be played purely as a race from the start of the chapter’s run to the finish, and your best time can be posted online against other LIVE players. Because the game allows for speedy restarts, you can soon begin to get seriously hooked on this aspect of the game – in fact learning each level in the speed challenges can seriously help you get to grips with the main game.

    Mirror’s Edge seems to be yet another game marking EA’s gaming renaissance. Rather than churning out endless sequels, it’s encouraging to see that they’re willing to take a leap of faith (pardon the pun) and let ace developers such as DICE try out new IPs and ideas. The experiment seems to have paid off because at times, Mirror’s Edge has some serious ‘Wow” moments that will almost have you hugging your joypad with glee. It’s not without its moments of frustration too though, so be warned that it’s deceptively tough in places and can make you seethe with anger as you fall again and again when a jump or move stretches your patience and your ability.

    Don’t be put off though, once you begin to gel with the game it’s very rewarding and gives off tons of atmosphere and potential for more games of this ilk.

    Ultimately though, it’s best to give the demo a go before you invest in the full game. I’d hate to be the one to recommend this game to you wholeheartedly then hear tales of you having to clean carrot chunks out of your joypad buttons.

    Score: 8/10

    About The Author