Mirror's Edge Review - January 12

You'll jump for joy.

It’s not often that a despotic, sterile vision of society can evoke simultaneous feelings of exhilaration, wonder and joy, but DICE’s clean, Portal-by-Ikea design of everything from the city to your sneakers, coupled with the impressive, immersive first-person free-running assures you’ll fall head over heels for Faith and the incredible rush that only falling 30+ storeys can provide.

In previews, the context for all this jumping has, rather unfairly, come under attack – it’s not exactly easy to justify what equates to a big game of urban Tarzan unless you’re box art bears either the Spiderman or Matrix logo. However, DICE – developers behind Battlefield: Bad Company (rated 90% here at TGSN) have plonked the player in a future world so fresh, so devoid of trench-coated rebels wielding twin SMG’s or spouting exposition about how ‘machines...are...winning’ that it’s worthy of the highest praise. Or at least a screenplay.

Falling to your death could not be more fun.

The Wachowski brothers, take note: it’s the future and faceless institutions control the roads, the streets and the skies. Fortunately for you, they obviously don’t put much thought into rooftops and it’s there you’ll duck and dive through the reach of the system, delivering important nuggets of top-secret information for your underground network like a Nike-sponsored Ninja. While rushed 2D cut scenes – an obvious last minute replacement for using the game engine instead – belie the personality achieved by the gorgeous character models and look more like a daytime TV advert, everything from the levels’ primary colour schemes to the lack of even a speck of dust (we challenge you to find a place less untouched by the power of Barry Scott) lend this vision of the future a completely original, if an eerily resonating, tone.

Mirrors Edge plays as good as it looks, taking its lead from the environment by being stylish, bold and liberating. Combining an Assassins Creed-inspired limited button layout with a simple momentum metre, Mirrors Edge is by no means a complex game. This aids it, however, in the ease and lightfootedness you’ll need to swing from pipes, balance on beams and jump over chasms. The story mode places fun above difficulty, employing ‘runner vision’ – holding the b button highlights where you need to go – to eliminate the kind of rambling frustration that could have been a problem. More of an experience than a test of skill (leave that to the time trial mode), while it lasts, the story mode is a constant pleasure.

There is a surprising amount of variety in the environments.

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