Mirror's Edge Preview
Mirror's Edge is a futuristic First-Person Action-Adventure game based in a seemingly utopian society. Of course, as with all stories of utopias, not everything can be perfect, otherwise this would most likely be one of the most boring games to date. Anyway, as with any utopia, there are always going to be restrictions on how to keep the society 'perfect' in Mirror's Edge's case, it is through heavily monitoring information that order is kept.
Of course, not everybody is willing to abide by those restrictions and so, they use people called 'runners' to transport their more private information throughout the city. You enter the city as a woman known as, Faith. With her comes the story of how a perfect society always has its corruption, her sister having been framed for a crime she did not commit and now she is being hunted as well. She will meet with other runners who will help her learn more about what it is that they do and how exactly they do it.
Why Mirror's Edge? What makes this game different from all the other mainstream first-person games that we see being released again and again with a different title? As mentioned before, your character is a 'runner', and the name does a decent job of describing what it is that they do.
Imagine your favorite part of Assassin's Creed. No, not sending the lepers and beggar women hurtling into a scaffold because they blew your cover as you fled from the city guards. The parts where you explored the city, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, climbing anything and everything in sight all in one quick, fluid motion. This is what a runner in Mirror's Edge does, except on a much larger scale, a futuristic street runner if you will.
Is this concept really that unique, however? After all, you can traverse buildings in many games, such as Crackdown and the previously mentioned Assassin's Creed. But, one look at a video of the game's tutorial level, and you can tell that there has never been anything like this before.
This massive city is meant to encourage you to take different routes, to reach an objective, to find how you can reach different spots faster, or to even push yourself and reach areas you thought were previously unreachable. Combat is said to come second, and in fact, there is even an achievement available for you to unlock, 'Test of Faith' which can be completed if you do not fire a single bullet throughout the entire game. This having been said, you can take weapons from enemies, however, you are meant to run through the city and clear far distances, having a heavy weapon with you will slow you down.
Of course, not everybody can have the reaction time, or the concentration, required in order to pull off some of these jumps with perfect accuracy. So, in order to save a few controllers and televisions due to a repeated view of the same checkpoint over and over again, the player has been given a feature called 'Reaction Time' which is basically the bullet time that you see in certain games like F.E.A.R. This will slow things down and give you enough time to plan out your next course of action, something that I'm sure very many players will be thankful for in the future.
In order to prevent players from becoming lost in this large city, they are also given a feature called 'Runner Vision' which will highlight various routes, helping them along if they get stuck. However, in order to keep this feature from ruining the game, they decided to progressively reduce the amount of highlighted objects as you venture farther into the game. Even at the beginning, it is to show you one way to get to your objective, though it doesn't necessarily show you the best way.
Mirror's Edge takes a new spin on the first-person action genre by taking a gameplay mechanic that was enjoyed in various games and expanding on it further, making it into a core element of the game. While being primarily an action-adventure game, encouraging more quick, fluid attacks when necessary, it does provide the opportunity to be enjoyed by those who prefer first person shooters as well, which should in the end provide an enjoyable gaming experience for those who enjoy the first-person genre. The additional 'help powers' such as 'Reaction Time' and 'Runner Vision' should also help work those who are less hardcore into the new style of gameplay, while being completely optional for those who prefer to play it in a more realistic manner.
Mirror's Edge is to be released for both the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3 on November 11th in North America and on November 14th in Europe for the same systems. However, there is a PC version that has been announced, though the release date for that has been pushed back until, "...later in the winter".