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Veteran Member - Level 11
Despite being released a little over four years ago, EA's
and DICE's stunning and original first-person title Mirror's Edge still stands
as a unique hallmark of the first-person genre. Not only does it feature realistic
and pulse-pounding parkour-inspired gameplay, it also stars one of the
strongest female video game leads of the past decade; Faith Connors.
These days many gamers no doubt equate developer DICE with
the long-running Battlefield series and, funnily enough, Mirror's Edge was
actually the studio's attempt to create "something fresh and interesting" since
they knew they couldn't just keep making new Battlefield games forever.
Despite minor flaws
such as a weak story and short game length, Mirror's Edge went on to sell
fairly well both in North America and elsewhere and even spawned a variety of
spinoff media including several mobile games and even a six-issue comic series.
The existence of a sequel has been fairly hit or miss since it was first confirmed
by EA Europe in 2010, then supposedly canceled in early 2011, then
*re*-confirmed by EA during 2011's E3 conference.
So if and when a sequel does surface, what should it
More Freedom, Less
The story behind the original Mirror's Edge, while not
without its interesting bits, didn't really leave a lot of room for either
Faith or the player to "color outside the lines." Despite their visual appeal,
the environments were linear and often cramped which made gameplay feel more
like navigating a maze of pre-set obstacles instead of getting to parkour
around an entire city.
The narrative, which encompassed themes of murder,
espionage, and betrayal, managed to fit well enough into the overall setting of
totalitarianism that it didn't feel clichéd and the idea behind "Project
Icarus", training elite security forces in parkour so they could more easily
chase down and eliminate runners like Faith, is a concept that is just begging
to be explored more fully.
I think DICE could take a page from Ubisoft's book when it
comes to giving players more freedom by allowing us to run around and explore
entire sections of the city much like in the Assassin's Creed games. Roaming
"Icarus Initiates" could be peppered around each hub area, allowing Faith to
either practice her combat skills or simply find new escape routes on the fly.
Dedicated and crafty players could find ways to access
hidden side areas and puzzles, earning addition collectibles and other
non-essential rewards. Perhaps players could also stumble upon new time-trial
challenges, offering further incentive to get out and explore.
These hub areas would
not only lend a more cohesive feel to the game's story, they could also help to
prolong the game's staying power as players would have several activities still
available even after completing the main story.
Anything You Can Do....
One thing the original Mirror's Edge did really well was
allow players to upload their times and scores for the game's time trials mode
online to compete with other players. This concept could be taken even further
in a sequel with the inclusion of custom challenges.
Using a list of pre-set conditions, players could take their
favorite challenges and make them even harder, uploading their times and scores
for other players to try and beat. Maybe make it so that they had to complete a
challenge without jumping more than three times or without taking any damage,
or having to utilize specific parts of the environment as part of the
These custom conditions wouldn't have to be limited to just
time trials challenges either. Maybe a player could try to beat a story mission
without being detected or without ever touching the ground. Maybe DICE could
implement combat challenges; tasking Faith with disarming and/or taking down a
group of thugs within a time limit or by fulfilling certain "combat conditions"
like in Arkham City's Riddler's Revenge challenge maps.
These custom challenges could allow players to flex their
creative muscles while also adding on a hefty incentive of bragging rights and
bravado for the truly hardcore. DICE could also include a few default custom
challenge requirements that could tie into the extra collectibles and goodies I
Taking A Leap
Personally I'm pretty confident that we'll be seeing a
proper sequel to Mirror's Edge before long, maybe even before 2013 is over. The
first game wasn't perfect but it did lay the groundwork for an amazing new IP
that manages to be engaging without the need for guns or explosions. DICE was
willing to take a big risk when they first introduced gamers to Faith and her
world and I hope they're willing to follow through on that risk.
Even after four years Mirror's Edge still retains its
position as the only game of its kind and I know that with a great developer
like DICE at the helm, it can only get better. Rumors have already begun
circulating that the supposed sequel will utilize DICE's in-house Frostbite 2
engine (the original Mirror's Edge used Epic's Unreal Engine 3). Imagine
getting to leap between skyscrapers with those kinds of graphics.....