Free Rambling
Mirror’s Edge In 7 Hours

By Rituro - July 6th, 2010

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Mid-June saw “EA Week” hit Valve’s digital download service, Steam. In amidst the crazy discounts on titles like Dragon Age and the Mass Effect series, DICE’s parkour title Mirror’s Edge was listed at 75% off. I’d always been intrigued by the concept of a game centred on free-running, so with no price point to hold me back I pushed everything else to the bottom of the “To Be Played” pile and started downloading DICE’s 2009 darling.

Jamie Love’s previous articles  for Toronto Thumbs on Mirror’s Edge do an excellent job of reviewing and retelling the game in eloquent depth. Those of you looking for a well-thought-out review would be better served by reading those; I would be doing the game a great disservice were I to re-review the game with Jamie’s works already on the site. Instead, let’s recap what my seven hours of the game were like.

Yes, that’s right, seven hours. According to Steam’s timer, that’s all it took for me to do the tutorial twice, the entire single-player story and one of the challenge maps, and it went a little something like this…

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Hour 1 – An inglorious start as I botch the first jump after meeting Celeste in the tutorial. That’s, what, the third jump of the game?  Embarassing. After quitting the tutorial two-thirds of the way through to run errands, I re-do the entire tutorial and pass with flying colours; well, except for that damn pipe section. I swear that’s the buggiest pipe-collision mechanic in history.

Hour 2 – The cutscenes are quite enjoyable, even if Faith and Merc are the only decently developed characters in the game so far. The guilt I feel every time I misjudge a rooftop-to-rooftop jump doesn’t lessen, especially when accompanied by the rushing wind before a sickening splat. Having Faith speak back to other characters she meets is equal parts disconcerting and welcoming, compared to all the time I’ve spent with Gordon Freeman and Chell. While we’re on the topic, score one for the Unreal engine vs. Source; Jacknife and Kate look great up close.

Hour 3 – Damn blues… ruining my parkour fun with their guns and their resistance to being punched in the face. Trying to isolate one for a disarm is all well and good, but being shot at by his buddies while I do is not. Points off for forcing me to fight my way through these goons, especially when they have magnetic run-towards-me powers when I try to run and hide. Even with the magic of video game health regeneration, how much blood has Faith lost at this point?

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Hour 4 – You know that feeling where you finally nail a tough combination and build up so much momentum that you blaze through the next set of puzzles, nailing every guess on which way to turn next? If there’s anything else like that feeling, I haven’t found it until now. The bipolarity of this game – the exhiliarting highs vs. the frustrating lows – may arguably be its defining characteristic.

Hour 5 – I can pick up guns by right-clicking?! Why the hell wasn’t that in the tutorial?! Good grief…right, no more Ms. Fancy-Shoes. Disarm one cop, riddle the rest with bullets. Jerks. Almost as jerky as the pursuit cops and their jerky-jerk combat tactics. At least running away from these ones is a viable tactic.

Hour 6 – Quick break to check out the challenge maps. Let’s start on the first one… which apparently has a world-record time of three seconds. Screw this. I’m-a get a sandwich and get back to the main game. Well, fine, let’s give the challenge a decent run through first, then back to the main game with its bizarre plot points and seemingly nonsensical story transitions.

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Hour 7 – The Shard is a clinic in level design. End of story. Literally, it’s the end of the story, as I just beat the boss on my second try thanks to Reaction Time™. Maybe I should’ve used that stuff more during the campaign.

Well, there you have it. If I had one overall complaint about this game, it’s that it didn’t wear out its welcome. Another few hours scampering across the sterile white rooftops of the city certainly wouldn’t have been amiss.

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    One response so far:
  2. By Ghoti
    Posted on Jul 10, 2010

    The only thing stopping me from finishing this game is that stupid, stupid final level. Some of us are worse in virtual parkour than others, I suppose …

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seven − = 1