|I got this game in some Humble Bundle or another|
I tried playing Mirror's Edge last night. It's not good. Sorry. I want to like this game. I really like the concept: first person running, leaping, climbing! It looks really cool when the computer is controlling the action. But it's tough, and I don't think it's tough for the right reasons. It's tough to do much of anything.
The first level is a training level. Well, thats' good, because this game is tough, and the controls aren't terribly intuitive. They even acknowledge in-game that is a training course. But the training level, itself, is really tough. Also, for some reason the training course is at the top of a series of tall buildings, rather than in a sand-pit obstacle course somewhere. Every time I fuck up, I get to watch myself fall thirty flights of stairs. Doesn't do much for my immersion into whatever world they're trying to create for me. Or sometimes, if I stray off course, I am forcibly teleported back to my starting position, where I get to watch the computer example again. This is annoying and happens a lot, because as I mentioned, the controls aren't really very intuitive.
I tried using a joypad and I tried using the keyboard an mouse. The keyboard and mouse was slightly easier. Mostly, I think, because the ability to customize the controls on the joypad is severely limited. I just want to use the control pad and not the control stick. Can I? please? And, maybe, just maybe I want to use the shoulder buttons for doing quick turns. No? Boy this game is tough, and not in a good way.
I got sick of the training level, and moved right on to the first actual stage. I managed to muddle my way through it, though not without annoying my in-game companion, who started berating me sarcastically for not moving fast enough. I guess this delightfully one-sided banter is supposed to increase immersion, but instead it just makes the experience suck more. And I can tell I'm muddling by the sheer number of times I fall thirty feet to my doom, and then bounce right back. A big part of why this isn't fun is that it seems clear that the point of the game is to perform sequences of moves, not just to spam the high jump over and over until it stops working, and then spam the duck button, or whatever.
And here is where I want to draw a comparison to a great game. Also a first person game that is not a shooter, not exactly: Portal. Portal is a fantastic game. And, wouldn't you know it, it does a great job teaching the player how to play. The first ten stages or so are baby steps to how to use the portals and switches and general solve small puzzles. Then, after getting your sea legs, as it were, the game throws some very complicated puzzles using every technique you've learned up to that point. It works marvelously.
All I've gotten from Mirrors Edge is that I can go back to the training stage again, and practice each move, one by one, in sequence. I can't just jump to that one move that's giving me trouble, I've got to work my way to it. And when I pass that sequence (by sheer luck) I'm on to the next move, even though I really don't have the previous method down. I going to keep muddling through the levels for a bit longer to see if I can get the hang of it.
Bottom line: The makers of Mirrors Edge should have played through Portal and taken notes. Then maybe I would enjoy playing the game, which has an interesting concept at its core.