Tag Archives: Mirror’s Edge

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.

Sending EA The Wrong Message

It’s fair to say that I’ve been critical of EA in the past, accusing the company of everything from┬ásingle-handedly┬ábringing down the industry to the ritual murder of virgins… maybe. It’s been massively improved recently, though, somehow turning Pro Evo into the football franchise that’s resting on its laurels with the really rather good FIFA 09 and, for every questionable decision, releasing a few games that are actually pretty risky and unique.

Dead Space

In the last year, for example, Burnout Paradise was a major departure from the previous games’ successful formula, and it has since been supported by some incredibly diverse downloadable content, most of which has been free. Bearing in mind that this is the company that has charged for in-game money and that’s incredible.

Rock Band 2 came out and, understandable licensing fee aside, Harmonix was allowed to patch in the ability to export almost every game from the original game for the new one, which made me happy.

Then, this Christmas, we’ve had Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge, both new IPs that bring new things to their respective genres – if Mirror’s Edge could even be considered part of a traditional genre – and have allowed a couple of clearly talented studios to cut loose from their usual licensed pap and Battlefield drudgery respectively and flex their creative muscles.

So it’s good that the new, risk-taking EA is reaping the benefits, then, right? Oh…

It’s not all that surprising considering that people are going to be picky about their games and new stuff like this has to go up against guaranteed sellers like Gears 2 and a new Call of Duty, but it’s still a huge shame. I’ve seen some pretty good deals on both of those, and Dead Space in particular is brilliant, so if you’re looking for some late Christmas presents at least consider them because otherwise the new EA will take over from Activision as the new old EA… or something.