Mirror’s Edge, a game that passed me by. I didn’t even know it was made by Dice (battlefield fame) but needing to kill another week until my new pc arrives I decided to pick this up at bargain price. It’s a game based on the half sport half trespassing idea of ‘free running’ the real life version is pretty tricky and results in lots of broken bones and painful falls unless you happen to be very good or very lucky but thankfully I can fall from high-rise buildings in this game and I get to try again after being treated to a particularly fine bone crunching noise.

The setting is a near future cityscape were you are part of an illegal courier service that runs across rooftops and dodges the “blues” which are government forces intent on catching you, or killing you… or maybe catching and killing you. You play an asian woman whose sister works for law enforcement and is framed through some political shenanigans for killing someone important. So you set off on a mission to save her and uncover the bad guys through a series of mad dashes across rooftops, ventilation shafts, train tunnels and offices.

Along the way you get shot at a lot, you can choose to fight but you are very fragile and much better suited to running and avoiding the enemies although as the game reaches the latter stages I must admit I was finding myself resorting more to picking up guns and shooting my way past numerous enemies, matrix style. See you can’t carry ammo so you discard a gun when the clip runs dry, at best you get maybe 1-2 kills with a weapon unless you find a SAW light machine gun, unfortunately whenever I found one on a fallen enemy it was usually the last guy left standing and I was forced to drop it in order to progress climbing and running.

The design of the levels gives a clean white appearance to most of the terrain with colour used mainly as a hint of where to go and what to do via ‘runner vision’. Unfortunately the speed you feel pressured into and the openness of choice in path can sometimes confuse you, there is a “look at your objective” button but it makes you turn to your objective which is a problem if you are running for your life and suddenly find yourself falling off a rooftop because you turned without meaning to.

Being a gamer that strongly dislikes timed missions or lot’s of pressure on completing objectives quickly I was skeptical how much I would enjoy this game but there are enough auto save points and the controls are relatively easy to learn if hard to master. There were a few points mainly involving being shot at and having to run or fail that caused me some frustrating restarts but overall the game is a lot of fun and a uniquely entertaining take on a first person shooter where you spend most of your time discarding guns in favour of running, climbing and jumping.

My one niggle was the first time I acquired a sniper rifle I couldn’t figure out how to aim with it, there were no crosshairs and it took me until later in the game to finally be given a tip in-game of how to zoom in with the scope by which point I was near the end. Apparently they forgot you could get a sniper rifle earlier on.

I was impressed with this game, it has some minor flaws but overall it is so different and so unusual that it shines out as a game that has no equal. The presentation is high quality in every area and I’m surprised I never heard more about it at release. I don’t know if there will be a sequel for certain because I don’t know how well the original did but if they make one I will definitely buy it.

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