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Mirror's Edge steps into new territory by being the first videogame based solely around the sport of Parkour, or free running. Ever since the opening chase scene in Casino Royale, free running has grown in popularity in the main stream. It's a great idea to recreate it in videogame form, but EA has fallen short of the mark here.
Picture the scene; I've just bought a copy of Mirror's Edge, and am pretty excited at the prospect of trying something new in the world of videogames - a new style of gameplay. Soon I'm running across a rooftop at what seems like miles above street level; the distant hum of traffic below, blue skies and wisps of white cloud ahead of you. As I reach the edge of the building, I catch a glimpse of the seemingly endless drop to certain death below, before leaping gracefully across the gap and continuing on my way.
Scanning my immediate field of vision, I spot a pile of crates, launch off them and over a barbed wire fence, before rolling as I land. Wall running across a small gap, I propel myself at an oncoming guard, kick him in the head and knock him out cold, leaving my path clear.
Ever tried reasoning with a videogame? It doesn't work.
Let's be clear from the start - when Mirror's Edge works, and you're running, skidding and rolling from rooftop to rooftop, making split-second decisions about what can be leapt from or grabbed to keep your speed and momentum going - it's a great feeling. This is what the game was designed around, and it's far and away the best part of the experience.
The whole game should be like this - freedom, exhilaration, and the feeling that what you're doing in the game is actually possible - but far too dangerous and unfeasible to do in reality. This is what videogames are best at; letting us escape, fantasise and enjoy the absurd or unusual. If there was ever a game that you really wanted to like, but just couldn't, this is it.
Mirror's Edge is a hugely disappointing, poorly designed and poorly executed anti-climax of a game.
A bit later on I leap off a railing, slide under a ventilation shaft and crash through a door into a swish apartment building. There's a security guard who shoots at me, and as I get closer, dodging his bullets, he swings at me with the butt of his gun. I get hit, but still attempt to disarm him, only to get hit again. I'm dead - back to the last checkpoint.
I leap from one ledge to another and fall again and again, despite being clearly in range of grabbing what I'm aiming at. I found myself having full on rants at the screen, begging it to just do what I was asking it to, or for the controls to respond. Ever tried reasoning with a videogame? It doesn't work.
This is all too common, and all too annoying. Never has a game gone from thrilling highs to frustrating lows in such a short period of time. The number of occasions that I was left shouting abuse at the screen, hurling my controller around in disgust and cursing in an overly aggressive manner certainly tells a tale of what Mirror's Edge can turn you into - and all because you know it could - and should - have been so much better.
After several hours of swearing, near-violence and raised blood pressure levels, the game was over and I asked myself - was it worth it? Well, for the most part, no. Mirror's Edge is a hugely disappointing, poorly designed and poorly executed anti-climax of a game. By all means give it a try, as you may be in the group of people who love it, but don't say you weren't warned.
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