Friday, July 11, 2014

Second Impressions & Review: Mirror's Edge (PC)

Whew!  Finally finished that game and it only took me nine hours, which is a bit less than I was expecting, but honestly, I am just glad that I am not being shot at by any more of the police.  As I did with my review (of sorts) of Dead Space, I do not plan on putting my my standard "Full Review," but instead my thoughts about the game and hopefully, I will not be repeating myself from what either myself or Dr. Potts have already said.

First off, Mirror's Edge was a very fun game with the level of fun being conducive to a couple of factors that I have worked into a handy dandy flowchart.

That is pretty much about it.  While I was indoors, I noticed that a lot of the levels were puzzle heavy., needing to figure out where to jump and how to get to where I am supposed to be going held a certain level of interest, but I quickly felt confined and claustrophobic.  I wanted to be outside, in the open smog-less air of The City.  Being indoors also meant that there was a good chance that Merc would call you up on your earpiece radio to let you know that there were some Blues on their way and they did not look like they were in the mood to exchange pleasantries.

One level in particular I had an increasingly difficult time with.  If you would rather watch how the level was supposed to be played, you can watch it here, otherwise you can finish reading about how I could usually manage a few jumps before I had to revert to watching the video to figure out where I was supposed to go next.  Considering how much of the game, by this point, has the player conditioned to look for red as a way of letting you know which way to go or to "jump off of this thing to go over there", the inside building portion of Chapter 8: Kate became the antithesis of fun even though there were no Blues in this portion of the stage.

The fighting in the game I also felt that I was never able to get a good grasp with.  Even just watching Faith in the loading screens made me feel that I was doing something drastically wrong when it came to hand-to-hand combat.  I always felt that I should be that adept at taking out Blues, but I ended up being very clumsy with my punches and attempts to disarm. Oh yes, while being shot at because those bastards were hardly alone.  Often times I would "simply" take down a guard, take his gun then play Mirror's Edge like I would any other FPS action shooter and take out the guards before going back to running.  With hope, the trailer from this year's E3 has hinted to a more streamlined and less annoying (meaning someone who sucks at the hand-to-hand combat) attacks and takedowns for Faith to execute.

As you can tell from the flowchart, any level where I was outside and not being shot at, I felt that the game excelled here and I would have really liked an entire game of just going from Point A to Point B.  I wanted more of that.

Another aspect of the game that I found semi-intriguing and liked was the use of animation for the cutscenes.  At first, the difference between the in-game landscape and the cutscene animation was a little jarring, but ultimately I liked it.

There was cutscene of sorts at the end of the game involving two characters that used the regular in-game graphics and not the stylized animation  and while I feel that that worked for the flow of the stage, I felt like I was missing the look that I had become accustomed to over the course of the game.  But, since the scene happened in the middle of a level, I understood the reasoning behind the decision.

At some point while playing, I did find out that there was a DLC map pack that EA Games released, but it looks like it is only for 360/PS3 owners and (maybe?) for people who bought the game through Origins as opposed to Steam.  This is sad because an obstacle course (without Blues) is something that I would love to play with, but I am not about to spend money on a console to buy a game (I already have) to then buy DLC.  I am not that hard up for a $4.99 DLC but I hope that sometime similar is included in the retail PC release of Mirror's Edge 2.

I think if I chalk Mirror's Edge up to a great "first attempt" then I feel there is a good chance that the sequel, when it is released in April 2016, will be spectacular in the strictest sense of the word.


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