Games: ‘Mirror’ not so edgy
"Mirror’s Edge" has been touted as a fresh new idea among this season’s deluge of sequels, shooters and movie tie-ins.
Electronic Art’s T-rated game offers an athletic protagonist who sprints up walls and leaps from rooftops while trying to outwit the authoritarian regime.
Right now, you might be thinking: "That sounds an awful lot like last year’s ‘Assassin’s Creed.’ " However, you’d be wrong. "Assassin’s Creed" offered an interesting plot that was packed with action and unfolded in a richly detailed world. "Mirror’s Edge" has little of any of those elements.
In fact, "Mirror’s Edge" is a lot like any platformer you’ve played over the years. The only big difference is that you see the world through a first-person view.
You play as Faith, who lives in a city that’s decided social harmony is more important than personal freedom. You’re a "runner" who delivers packages that don’t meet with the approval of the city’s iron-fisted leaders. Under normal circumstances, they don’t worry too much about you or any of the other runners. However, things suddenly change. A mayoral candidate winds up dead. Your twin sister — a police officer — is found nearby. Everyone’s after you, and they’re packing heat.
The game play basically involves moving from Point A to Point B by running, jumping and climbing. You know the best paths to use because your "runner’s visions" makes useful railings, stairs, ledges and pipes appear red or yellow.
As in any platformer, you need to hit specific buttons with perfect timing to pull off the feats of agility — and maintain your all-important momentum. If you fail — and you will fail quite a bit — you’re sent back in time a few seconds to try again. The controls typically work pretty well, but you’ll still need very nimble fingers and keen eyes. Fortunately, there’s a hint button if you’re unsure of your destination.
You’ll occasionally encounter a police officer you can punch, kick, disarm or shoot — if you’ve acquired a weapon. However, it’s often best to simply run by and dodge their bullets. The combat system isn’t that effective and is pretty much useless if you’re facing more than one or two foes.
The first-person view isn’t really that interesting. In most cases, all you really see are various geometric forms whizzing past and your foot or hand coming into focus at the edges. It’s much more enjoyable to watch a full character pull off acrobatic moves — that’s why Altair and Lara Croft are so popular.
In addition, the city is pretty dull. It’s basically white or gray concrete with a few red or yellow items that are highlighted by your runner’s vision. What makes Altair’s Jerusalem so interesting is the grittiness and rich texture — and the people. Faith’s city really doesn’t have many people to interact with, even when she’s not skipping across rooftops.
Despite my gripes, I have to admit it’s awesome to string together a combo of leaps and wall-runs. "Mirror’s Edge" is fun; it’s just not breaking much new ground.
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3On the Web: www.mirrorsedge.com