Mirrors Edge for the PC is a first person action-adventure puzzle game with an extremely compelling story line and quite possibly the most frustrating game play known to man.
I want to preface my review by saying that I really, really want to like this game and it’s close to being actually good.. close, yet so far.
Over all the story line is very good. I very much enjoyed the game for the story aspect, and I do like the idea of a FPS game where the S is largely missing. The ability to interact with your environment is extremely enjoyable and is something that is almost entirely missing from any other game out there.
More over, the game has a lot of nice touches like the rats everywhere indicating the decay of society and the occasional airplane flying over at 30+ thousand feet.. but there were far more frustrating elements.
Known Bugs – the game had two bugs that made the game completely unplayable and by reading the forums they are known;
1. even with the latest physx drivers installed, once the soldiers start shooting at you and glass starts breaking the game would slow down to 1 or 2 frames per second making it completely unplayable. My computer is a big fat quad core so there was no excuse for the kind of lag I was seeing other than poorly written drivers. Disabling the physx stuff resolved this issue and there was no noticeable impact to the game play.
- if you have any audio acceleration turned on the ambient noises would be so loud you couldn’t hear anything else. Again according the forums this is a known issue and simply turning off the audio acceleration resolved the issue.
Aside from those two bugs, the rest of my complaints could easily be described as nitpicks but in my mind make the game a lot less fun than it could have been. Frustrating, isn’t fun.
Game play issues;
Craptacular Tutorial – The tutorial for the game is extremely weak and cleary written by folks who have been playing the game for years and as such everything is already intuitive for them. They would give you a written queue as to what you’re supposed to do, but instead of writing it prior to the action, they give it to you WHILE the action is going on. That means by the time you’re done reading the instruction it’s typicallytoo late to perform the action. So you end up doing the same thing over and over again to get it right – this is likely to prepare you for the game to come as you’ll end up doing the same thing over and over a lot.
Linear – Despite what you might think or any billing to the contrary, the game is extremely linear. You’re always at point A trying to get to point B and there is just about always only one way to get there. Once you get to point B, it becomes point A and now you have a new point B. Any death along the way and you start back at your last point A.. Oh and you will die.. Oh yes.. You will..
Frustration Factor – The almost constant injection of enemy soldiers in your way turns what would be an extremely fun puzzle game into an even more frustrating set of “do overs” as you try to do the same crappy set of objectives over and over again while they shoot at you.. You don’t have time to observer the solution 9 times out of 10.. You’re just running balls to the wall all the while trying not to be killed.. This sucks.
Runners Vision – The game is supposed to have a system by which you see where you’re supposed to go and what you’re supposed to do by cleverly placed visual queues in the form of the color red. Firstly, a big thanks from all us color blind folks. Secondly, they don’t work 90% of the time until you’re standing right on top of them. So you end up racing towards the unknown away from the guards trying to kill you. You end up doing it over and over simply because you have no idea where or what you’re supposed to be doing.. This sucks.
Sluggish – The input often feels extremely sluggish. My game would have a solid 60FPS with vsync turned on or over a 100 without and still sometimes it feels like there is a delay in faiths responses to any input. More over, even though she seems like she is running quickly, often it feels like she is wearing lead boots..
Single Solutions – Many of the “puzzles” are a single solution only situation in that if you didn’t know to do the exact right thing, you’re done. Put another quarter in, try again. Example; if you didn’t know to grab the gun and shoot out the window on the third floor of the room you wouldn’t be able to jump across to it.. Or if you didn’t know how to navigate the building side scaffolding correctly then you die horribly to the helicopter gunship.. or if you don’t click the right mouse button at the right microsecond when the big dude is swinging the pipe, then he kills you. This is just a small example, and really really lame. These extremely scripted do or die points suck and detract from the game entirely.
Right Click My Ass – The right click grab thing is almost impossible to get working correctly. I can’t tell you the number of times my character was butt stroked to death simply because the 1/20th of a second red queue flashed before I could react. Or my character was in the middle of a slide or some other action and couldn’t react.. etc..
Once I did get a gun I just about always fell back on to my FPS roots and shot that sucker until empty. This is sort of contrary to the point of the game, but I felt there was no other way to resolve the situations.
Farther into the game you’re confronting what I can only assume is your female counterpart on the roof of a cargo ship.. You’re forced to play the “grab the gun” game again and this time there is no avoiding her. You MUST do it to continue the game and it’s nearly impossible. You’re only presented the opportunity to do it in rare circumstances and only for 1/20th of a second again.. It was entirely to hard, and the 20 or so deaths I took there made me want to throw in the towel.
Once I did get past that point I was excited that I finally got to move on, only to be thrust into an impossible chase scene.. Who were the assholes that thought raw frustration was fun? The computer opponent is able to make jumps that you simpley can’t make.. Sorry the cake is a lie.. OR if you can make them it’s because you have been playing the game for a year and its second nature to you.. Also, making it timed is just fucking dumb. If she “gets too far ahead” it STARTS YOU OVER!! okay fuck it.. I’m done.
This shit isn’t fun. It’s frustrating. It speaks to the fact that the game designers didn’t think the puzzle aspect of the game was fun enough when IT WAS! They had to add all these crappy FPS elements and “make it more exciting”.. All they succeeded in doing was pissing me off..
I played pretty far through the game and I can say that I think it has a lot of potential.. The way you can interact with the game environment is awesome and every game out there needs to take a hint from it.. But mirrors edge itself isn’t fun it’s just too hard, and entirely too frustrating.
I may continue to play it a bit, just because I don’t want it to beat me.. but I’m not doing it out of enjoyment.. This is the first game that I might finish purely out of spite..