Mirror’s Edge sounded so promising when I first read about it. The footage was impressive, so clean and daring. It was impossible for me, at the time, toconsider what a mess it would end up. I enjoy Mirror’s Edge and still play it occasionally, but I am not going to say that it is absolutely without fault. It has several, the most glaring issue being the combat system.
Faith is an underpowered character. Exceptionally underpowered for a game in the first person, and like a paper doll to the crack shot operatives she encounters. Initially I was ready to forgive the game it’s heroine for the focus on skill and acrobatics over combat, but by the time you are running from a horde of men with machine guns you begin to see the fault in the set up.
The issue truly is not with Faith, but with the entire set up of the game. The first person perspective is an interesting idea as it allows you to experience the world through a runner’s eyes. What this limits, however, is the field of vision during combat. I never quite got the feel for the more advanced melee styles because I was so trained by Prince of Persia. Acrobatic combat is something my mind is not capable of dealing with in first person.
If Mirror’s Edge were in third person perhaps the combat issues could be avoided. The nausea-inducing jumps would still be nausiating, but the player would be able to see why that wall run failed and be able to see the blindspots caused by first person.
Of course this is the jankiest thing I have ever witnessed. A cheat for the PC version of Mirror’s Edge that allows you to play it in third person. Clearly not how the game was designed.
My better Mirror’s Edge will never exist. What the world has now is inFamous. Though the combat is completely different, Cole being overpowered, the interaction with the cityscape is exactly what I wanted from Mirror’s Edge and found myself struggling to find. InFamous encourages exploration with its mission system and sprawling urban setting. I spent two hours today just rummaging for blast shards and seeing what parts of the environment I could break to make new paths out of. InFamous takes the concept of free running and mixes it with the elegance of Prince of Persia and Tomb Raider to provide a seamless mix of exploration and action.
Seeing through the runner’s eyes is a beautiful concept but can ultimately be a handicap when the combat is done primarily hand to hand.