Best of 2008 #10: Mirror’s Edge

Mirrors Edge

As the most risky of EA’s two big new IPs, the other being Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge already looks to have been a bit of a commercial disappointment. If that means that it doesn’t get a sequel, I think that will be a tragedy, because the thing that this fledgling series really needs is a second game to iron out the handful of flaws that this one has.

I’m reluctant to criticise it too much for its short length, both because it’s already cheap and because, as I’ve always said, I’d much rather have a brilliant six-hour game than a padded-out 20-hour one that outstays its welcome. As Sonic Team has no doubt discovered with its next-gen Sonic games, it gets expensive to model all these carefully balanced environments that players aim to blast through as quickly as possible. Would this have been a better game with a lengthening gimmick? That’s a definite no.

The combat is the other weak point and really all that keeps it from placing higher on the list. The game is at its best when you’re leaping across the rooftops and pulling off these leaps and vaults without breaking stride, and some slightly dodgy disarming and shooting – not that you should be doing that here – against increasingly tough enemies only takes away from it and really hurts the pacing. The time attacks could well be what justifies spending the money on this game, because seeing that a friend can get through a level a full minute faster than you is all the encouragement you’ll need to have another run.

Those issues aside, Mirror’s Edge is a fabulous game. It’s one of those where you’ll just feel in tune with your character and know instinctively whether or not you can make a jump; the best at that since the almighty Crackdown. By the end, when you’re doing time attack runs, you’ll spot routes that you simply wouldn’t have seen the first time through because you’ve just become that much better at it.

And that’s why this needs a sequel. It’s a great game marred by some poor design decisions, and I hope that it made enough money to warrant another one with those kinks ironed out. It has the potential to be phenomenal.

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