After a few minutes in the training level, I thought I was ready to go. What the training mode didn’t prepare me for was encountering trial-and-error gameplay and crappy combat.
The biggest issue for me was that the game doesn’t make it clear enough for where you need to go. There are obvious elements for you to grab onto, which are coloured red, but it’s usually not that clear in the heat of battle. In the third level, I got to a point where I had absolutely no idea how to get out of the area before the guards came. I had to watch a YouTube video for the answer and when I saw it, I said to myself, “WTF!@#” I never would have come up with that solution myself. Due to the way the levels are designed, I get that feeling all the time. I could follow along with one of the many guides online if I really wanted to, but a game really shouldn’t make me resort to that.
To compound the issue of getting lost, oftentimes you’re under the gun by guards. In a game designed around running, the combat feels horribly out of place and leaves you greatly underpowered. Hand-to-hand combat is really clunky and enemies can kill you very quickly. Picking up a gun doesn’t help much either, since the actual shooting mechanics are pretty bad and carrying a gun actually slows your character down.
I applaud Dice and EA for trying something ambitious with Mirror’s Edge. I can see why some people absolutely loved this game. When it has you free-running and doing crazy acrobatics, it can be some of the most exhilarating action you’ll ever experience. But to counter-point, there are a lot of people that hate this game, too. The problem is that the game isn’t that awesome all the time. The experience is hampered by somewhat clunky controls, level designs that aren’t easy to navigate on your own and terrible combat.
A sequel to this game has been confirmed, and it’ll be interesting to see how they handle it. A lot of people have asked for Mirror’s Edge to go third-person, but I think that would take away the most unique aspect of the game. Without being in first-person, it’s just another Prince of Persia or Assassin’s Creed style game. I do hope they polish the controls and make the areas easier to navigate. As far as combat, they can either improve the game by improving the combat mechanics or stripping combat from the experience completely to focus on the acrobatics. I won’t be the first in line to pick up Mirror’s Edge 2, but I’ll continue to hope they refine this idea to perfection.