Mirror’s EDGE PC Review

Mirror’s Edge comes to us from Battlefield creator DICE. It is set in a world ruled by a totalitarian government. In this world you take on the role of Faith. Faith is what is known as a Runner, a delivery person. The name is appropriate as you do a lot of running in the game. Mirror’s Edge launched on consoles in November of last year and received a mixed reception. Some people praised the gameplay and others complained about its length. The PC version has added PhysX support to enhance some physics aspects of the game.

Good

Graphics: Mirror’s Edge is a pretty game. While most games these days are going for gritty realism with browns and grays taking more of their color palate, Mirror’s Edge uses bright colors. The world is filled with whites, reds, and yellows. It all really stands out. Although it uses Unreal Engine 3 you would be hard pressed to tell based on the graphics alone. Everything looks very clean and has a utopia feel to it. The bloom effects can be a bit over-powering in some areas, but its fine in most places. The few parts of the game that are darker are also done well, using shades of blue and green.

Emersion: The platforming elements are great. While the first person view does provide some limitations on what you can see, it gives you an added sense of excitement and suspension. There are some points in the game that would’ve benefited from it being in third person, but that would’ve ruined the feel of the game.

Sound: Sound is one of the higher points of the game. The voice actors do their best with the poor script and they try to build some kind of emotion with the characters. Even the police and other voices you here during gameplay are done well. You can tell when the police are annoyed or angry with you. The only think wrong with the voices is the over-all lack of death sounds. No screams when falling from buildings, no sounds when you’re killed and it is same for the enemies. They did add the sound of bones being crushed when you hit the ground from too far of a height. It’s a nice effect, but doesn’t sound overly realistic.

The musical score and ambient sounds are both good. Police sirens, the sounds of Faith breathing, the sounds her feet and hands make when landing or grabbing things. It’s all very well done. The music isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s very fitting. While you are just running around in a stage there is no music, it’s only the sounds of the city and of Faith around you. When the action picks up, during a fight or chase sequence the music kicks in. It adds to the mood of the situation well, making you feel that sense of danger.

Bad

Physics: In Mirror’s Edge PhysX acts like a little extra eye-candy, but it comes are a big cost. PhysX harms performance quite a bit. In the Windows 7 beta you have to disable PhysX for the game to run well and in Vista it’s recommended to turn it off, but it can be run with it on. The difference between it being enabled and disabled isn’t great. Glass shatters a bit more realistically, bullets can shred pieces of plastic placed in the environments, and strips of plastic are placed around that you run through and they react to your actions against them. The effects are neat to watch a couple times, but they don’t add anything to the gameplay and the FPS hit isn’t worth it.

Gunplay: Much has been said about the gun-play in Mirror’s Edge and I have to say it’s all true. The gun-play is pretty bad. You can take a weapon from an enemy and use it, but the weapon controls seem stiff and the guns are not very good or well used. The guns make quick work of enemies, but they limit your moves. There are many things you can’t do with a gun in hand. When the gun is out of ammo you simply discard it there is no way to pick up more ammo.

The rest of the combat system isn’t much better. You can do a simple combo, a jump kick, a slide kick, and a wall run kick. You also have the option of pushing the right mouse button to perform a quick take-down, that will knock out the enemy and give you their weapon. To do this you have to push the right mouse button when their gun flashes red. Knocking out enemies with your fists and feet is effective as long as they’re alone. When you have a group you are dead unless you can disarm them all before they turn you into Faith-shaped Swiss cheese.

Story: I don’t have much to say about the story in Mirror’s Edge. It’s a pretty basic story and the characters aren’t done well enough for you to care about them. The story simply tells you why you’re going from point A to point B. It offers no real explanations about the world or why it is like it is and it doesn’t tell a lot about the characters either. You go from stage to stage trying to prove your sister’s innocence and find out why the police don’t like you, but none of it is well explained.

Length: Although the game has some challenging moments the experience ends rather quickly. It should take an average gamer around 5 or 6 hours to beat.

Conclusion

I’ve played plenty of bad games throughout my life, Mirror’s Edge is not one of them. That doesn’t make it a great game though. This is a game I have a very hard time recommending to people due to its problems and its very short game time. Mirror’s Edge currently retails for $49.99 here in the US and I just can’t recommend it at that price. It’s too much for a game that gives no incentive to play again and relies on people playing the time trial modes over and over to get value from it. The story doesn’t make the game worth playing through more than once. The first run is very fun, but once you know how to make every jump and where to go to get away from people attacking you, much of the thrill is gone.

In closing: Mirror’s Edge is a fun and exhilarating, but ultimately it’s far too short and has far too little added value for it to be a worthy recommendation at any price over $24.99. If you feel that you’ll be able to get a lot of time out of the time trial modes then the game may be worth more to you, so keep that in mind when looking at the game.

Mirror’s EDGE PC Review by Derangel