Here’s a new concept. Take the parkour element of Assassins Creed and make a first person run ‘em up set in a not-too-distant future where couriers now take important packages on foot over the rooftops, risking their necks in the process.
You play Mirrors Edge as Faith, one of these flighty people who have a head for heights. At the beginning of the game your policewoman sister is set up for her Dad’s friend’s murder and so you embark on a mission to find out who did it and clear your sister’s name. What this basically boils down to is you infiltrating a number of buildings via the rooftops, nicking something, then hightailing it out of there whilst lots of police chase you.
So how does the free running mechanic work? Well, to look and turn you use the standard FPS controls of the analogue sticks, then the L1 and L2 buttons to for high and low movements. Examples are jumping, vaulting and climbing, or sliding or dropping down. As you move about your urban climbing frame, red areas indicate where you should be going. If you get truly lost you can press the circle button and that literally points you in the right direction.
Although the game is mainly about running, you’ll sometimes have to fight so you can slow down time at the push of a button, or press the R2 button with any of the afore-mentioned buttons to flying kick, slide kick or punch enemies. You can even press the triangle button at the right time to disarm someone and steal their firearm.
And it’s not a bad looking game either. For once it’s not set at night and there’s a nice clean, crisp look to it that’s refreshing. I’m not too keen on the cut-scenes though, the strange animation technique looks like something from a cheap tampon advert.
When Mirror’s Edge works it’s genuinely fun. Running and vaulting away from the police as shots ring all around you is genuinely exciting. Unfortunately, it’s let down by its ambitious nature. Because it’s in first-person, it’s tricky to be precise at speed. When you’re not sure of your exact footing it’s easy to miss ledges and plummet to your doom over and over again. In fact it brought back memories of the original Tomb Raider which isn’t a good thing.
Luckily, the checkpoints are close together so you’re never thrown too far back into the level, except when you’re doing some of the chase scenes.
Mirror’s Edge is an interesting idea but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Still, when it works it’s fun and it’s an original concept so because of that this free running game gets a good 6 out of 10.
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Related: Assassins Creed, Youtube Mirrors Edge review