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Second Look - Mirrors Edge

6/3/12 5:11am
tl;dr

“No we can’t, we have a vision for this game and a goal, we can’t deviate from it, we must strive for what we see as perfection, we must … ONE MILLION DOLLARS!? SURE!”

 

If there was ever a game that fell short of the mark, it was Mirrors Edge. Before its release, trailers teased us with a beautiful sequence where the protagonist, Faith, would showcase a short sequence boasting immersive free running with eye capturing visuals.

The demo was then released to the public and gave gamers even more to look forward too. It was short, sweet and a lot of fun. Yes Mirrors Edge initial impressions had everyone quite excited, sadly though no one could predict what would happen next, something terrible … they released the full version.

The question on most peoples’ minds was how did they go wrong? The answer is relatively simple it’s that Mirrors Edge tried to be a game that it was never designed for. Boring level design that had more filler than a Michael Bay film, a story line that was both stale and unimaginative and a combat system that had us wondering why combat was ever part of the game in the first place.

So why would the developers add all this crap if it didn’t fit the game? One assumption would be that the game started out at about 20% of what we’ve come to accept as its full version. With this working concept they went looking for some financial backing and the only way the people with money would agree to give the developers funds is if they agreed to include other cliché gameplay so that it would appeal to a wider audience. I imagine being confronted with this conundrum the creators were thinking:

“No we can’t, we have a vision for this game and a goal, we can’t deviate from it, we must strive for what we see as perfection, we must … ONE MILLION DOLLARS!? SURE!”

So the game was built, released and the rest, sadly, is history. But was it really that bad? Mirrors Edge had many legitimate critiques that any reviewer would go to town on, but in the mess of discussing these issues what good parts were either glossed over or overshadowed and not mentioned?

Firstly not all the levels were terrible. In many areas the free running sections were executed well with clever design. Highlighting which areas could be strategically attacked worked very well in the first person view and would keep the free running flow to its maximum. This was apparent even more so in the time trial section.

Another aspect was the sense of urgency and suspense that was triggered during various missions. Being out numbered, out gunned and chased over roof tops immersed the gamer well. Although there weren’t a lot of these moments, the potential was there and the moments that included this should count for something.

Mirrors Edge wasn’t known for its memorable moments but there were a few here that seemed to really stick. This would’ve been after a length chase seen only to end it with an epic leap of faith (no pun intended). Sadly there weren’t anywhere near enough of these as the developers opted for more clunky combat sections that weren’t exciting or executed well.

So now Mirrors Edge 2 has been announced and I’m sure many gamers were left scratching their heads with the first one being one huge epic fail. Sadly the original was plagued with the issues highlighted above, adding to these it had the problem of being a victim of its own hype, so naturally anything it did do right was easily overshadowed by the things it did wrong.

Mirrors Edge 2 has a lot of potential to be a great game although it won’t be an easy road it’s at least foreseeable. If you’ve held off playing this game then perhaps the next time you’re in a game store and you see this in a bargain bin, its current price tag could easily be worth the experience you get from it.

Fin.

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