|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA DICE||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 12, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The voice acting isn't as good as the music or sound effects, but they are definitely above average for a video game. Some characters come across as a little cheesy or over-the-top, but how much of that is because of style or design choice is unknown. On the other hand, what is known is that the voice acting does complement the story well.
Mirror's Edge can be a frustrating game, especially when a single misstep or problematic glitch occurs and forces the player to respawn at a much earlier part of the level. Even with the red "runner vision" that helps guide the player through the levels, falling to your death is inevitable. Luckily, the game does have invisible checkpoints that keep the player from restarting at the beginning of the level. Keep in mind, the difficulty level of Mirror's Edge isn't really a problem of game design. The game does have varying difficulty levels to make things easier or harder. There is even an option to take away the "runner vision," which removes the red-highlighted guides.
While the game does recommend that players avoid direct confrontations with enemies, there are instances where they are unavoidable. This is when the player must use quick thinking on the best way to disarm and overcome enemies. Whether it's attempting to disarm from behind, or lure them away from groups first, or just tripping them so getting away is possible, the player is given very little time to make choices. Ultimately, it really depends on the player's preference. A room full of enemies could be cleared by killing them all one at a time, or by simply escaping with a few well-timed jumps.
If combat is a player preference, however, it isn't an easy one to manage. Faith, unlike most FPS protagonists, isn't bullet proof. In fact, a single bullet (two at the most) can put her down easily. Moreover, a single pistol whip can put her into a daze or cause her to stumble, while an additional one or two could put her down for the count. Player skill is a huge factor when determining success or failure in combat. While Faith doesn't carry a gun, she does have the ability to pick them up and use them. However, she also is unable to perform a lot of her more complicated moves while carrying one. Generally, the bigger the gun, the less she can manage.
Another interesting aspect of the combat is the amount of ammunition. When an opponent with a pistol has been disarmed, Faith gets the handgun and only the bullets that remain in the magazine. This seems logical, but most FPS games tend to miss the mark in this area. Instead, they carry on the misconception that a single pistol on the ground comes with a full magazine of ammunition as well as a ton of extra. In Mirror's Edge, however, once the player has fired the last shot, Faith instinctively throws the weapon aside. While this seems like such a minute detail, it does a great job of reinforcing running as the main gameplay element while also providing just another, often over-looked, bit of realism.
Once player's have finished the single-player story, there is additional gameplay to be had by competing against other players in time trial leader boards. Unfortunately, racing against another or multiplayer opponents at once isn't a feature of this "multiplayer" component. This is where Mirror's Edge could use the most improvement. With such solid and interesting gameplay, a multiplayer experience that took advantage of the gameplay to its fullest would have done nothing short of increased its overall value.
Mirror's Edge is a delightful tangent from the traditional gameplay elements that keep much of the FPS genre stagnant. The addition of a female protagonist is refreshing, even if the grander story arc doesn't exactly break new ground. The game does suffer a bit from technical issues here and there, but not nearly enough to make it not worth the effort. If anything, the only problem with Mirror's Edge is its relatively short story, which is only increased by the lack of a multiplayer component that does its gameplay justice. Nevertheless, Mirror's Edge is a solid and innovative title that takes the FPS genre and reminds it that things don't always need to stay the same.
CCC Freelance Writer