Hands-on / Mirror’s Edge

The other night I had the pleasure of attending the Mirror’s Edge Remix Album Preview and Video Wrap Party put on by EA and Nettwerk Records here in LA. The event was held at Nettwerk’s office, which resembles a totally rad apartment that a friend of a friend would have and you’d try your damnedest to get over there any chance you could. Those of us in attendance were treated to free drinks, free food and a lovely, acoustic performance of the theme song from Mirror’s Edge, “Still Alive,” by Swedish singer-songwriter Lisa Miskovsky — remixes of the song played throughout the course of the party. Oh yeah, and the game was there to demo. I played it. This is my story.

Even though I’ve had a major pant tent for Mirror’s Edge since it was mere concept art, I’ve never had a hands-on with it. I waited in line to play at PAX but had to give up and walk away because I was about 10 people from playing and the dude rocking the controller at the time was giving everyone a lesson in failure and determination to fail. It slightly blew my mind when I was able to just walk up to the TV, say “Hi” to EA’s PR guy and get down to business. After a brief introduction to the controls and mechanics — demo was run off a Xbox 360 — I was let loose upon an early level of the game.

If you’ve seen screenshots or videos of the title, you’ve no doubt taken in the visual aspects of bright, vibrant colors with an almost sterile sheen to them — it’s the future after all. The color red is used to not only add a little eye-candy splash to your surroundings but also highlight guidance points for you to progress. Honestly, until you experience it happening live and in your face, justice has not been served. The game really is beautiful and runs smoother than a gazelle coated in Vaseline. That would be very smooth and rather sexy for those who don’t understand my creepy metaphors.

Alright, so the presentation is purty, but what about the controls? If my mention of the lubed-up gazelle got you all excited, you’ll be happy to hear the same applies to the actions and movements of the main character, Faith. In a nutshell: she’s a badass and sleek. The maneuvers you can pull off are pretty damn stellar and will make for some really amazing speed runs. In some situations, you can simply follow the red “hints” to get around, but they’re not necessarily the fastest route which opens levels up for you to play how you want. With the ability to pull a quick 180 as well as slow time with a simple button push, you’re really allowed to think outside the box in most situations. You know how in first-person games a fence is generally a pain in the ass barrier? In Mirror’s Edge it’s an advantage which doesn’t click at first, but when it does you start to realize the freedom you’re allowed and encouraged to shoot for. The best part is, as long as you know what you’re trying to do, you can pull off complex maneuvers rather easily since the controls are responsive and non-complicated.

Though my time in the demo was short, it left me extremely satisfied and wanting much, much more. The holiday season may be slammed with high-profile, AAA titles, making it difficult for gamers to choose what to spend their money on, but I know, come November, Mirror’s Edge will get my attention. And for PS3 owners out there, you’ll be happy to know the team at EA DICE isn’t half-assing a port as the title was developed with PS3 as the lead platform, ensuring an identical multi-platform experience. Don’t you just love when a plan comes together?