Cult Classics – Mirror's Edge
Like a lovestruck paramour, I tend to fall in love with some games more than others. Sometimes these games aren't perfect, but I adore, and become infatuated with them, nonetheless. Example: Mirror's Edge.
I don't tend to replay many games. I'm usually too busy moving on to the next title to go back and explore everything that a game has to offer. However, occasionally a game hits me powerfully enough that I'm compelled to go through it two, three, or even more times. The list of titles that I've played three or more times is short, but it includes amazing games like Mass Effect, Resident Evil 5, Plants vs. Zombies, Dead Space, Portal, and Mirror's Edge. That last one is the one that sticks out the most to people. Mirror's Edge wasn't a perfect game, but it's a game that perfectly balanced innovation and entertainment, and I'm happy with every moment I spent with it.
Mirror's Edge follows the exploits of a courier and parkour expert named Faith who gets caught in the middle of a political assassination and finds herself on the run from an oppressive totalitarian regime. Even though I played through the game nearly four times, I never cared much about the story or Faith herself. The platforming and action of Mirror's Edge felt like a breath of fresh air at the time.
I've always loved games like Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, and Assassin's Creed, which allow you to clamber all over your environment. The platforming in Mirror's Edge was in the spirit of those games, but it somehow felt more real – Faith's movements were more grounded and plausible. What's more, the game was in first person, which put platforming into a whole new perspective.
Developer DICE is no stranger to shooters, so the gunplay in Mirror's Edge feels good, but it's not the main draw. Sneaking past enemies and dodge gunfire while you run up a wall then coil into a ball to slide through a hole in the wall before hitting the ground running provides a lot of thrills. I loved landing on an enemy from above and then using his weapon to take out his two friends, but I got an even bigger kick the second time though the game when I went for the Test of Faith achievement, where I had to beat the game without killing any guards. Avoiding conflict altogether creates a lot of unique platforming puzzles, but I felt even more empowered after sneaking through an enemy encampment without taking a hit – I felt untouchable.
Mirror's Edge wasn't perfect, the experience was short, the story was lackluster, and some of its platforming required a little too much trial-and-error, but I love the game warts and all. You can read Andrew Reiner's review to learn more about the game, but you should really play it for yourself. Unfortunately, despite rumors of a sequel, and the love fans seem to have for the game, it looks like we may never get one. Mirror's Edge is such a unique experience, that it seems fitting that it stands alone.