The famous ‘What went wrong’ series returns! I’ve been playing through Mirror’s Edge again recently after I nabbed the iPhone version for free, so I thought now that the game is over two years old, what better time to write about it? That’s right, there is no better time. Good answer.
I love Mirror’s Edge, but mainly when I’m not playing on it. It infuriates me constantly, but the second I turn it off, all I can think about is how much fun it is when it isn’t making me scream at the TV. So, DICE, if you are working on the sequel that I just found out is supposedly in development, please bear the following in mind:
1) There wasn’t enough freedom
For a game based heavily on Parkour, it’s painfully linear. DICE did a brilliant job of making it look like you could explore and find different routes to your objectives, but they did an even better job of making sure you couldn’t use them. An environment similar to the old Tony Hawk games would have been ideal, just don’t use as many half-pipes and ramps. Or do. If I can suspend disbelief for the ziplines conveniently scattered about the city, I’m sure I can do it for half-pipes.
2) Too much combat / Shit combat
One of my fondest memories of Mirror’s Edge is running away from huge groups of enemies while being shot at. It’s a strangely exhilarating feeling to hear gunshots bounce off the metallic frame of the object you’ve just slid under at high speed, only to see another nasty gun-toting bastard break open the door in front of you, making you charge off in other direction while gunfire sprayed around you. See? I was getting a bit excited writing that, and it’s even better when you’re playing on it.
It’s probably a bit harsh to say that combat was shit actually; disarming people was brilliantly fun at times, but I’ve been doing the same bit on and off for about 2 hours now because of the combat system. When you end up face-to-face with an enemy, you’re only real option is to wait for him to swing his gun at you so you can (attempt to) disarm him. Faith is clearly capable of looking after herself, why not let us have some better offensive moves? Maybe some way of locking onto an enemy and have a system including the ability to dodge and counter. Or just drop combat and make the game all about the chase?
3) The story
I very rarely complain about the story in a game unless it’s really bad, but the problem with Mirror’s Edge is more to do with the lack of it. There’s something resembling a plot, but I just wish the cut-scenes had given a little more information on the universe the game takes place in – Visually, it’s very striking, but it just seemed to lack back-story. Have a word with Valve, they’re really good at doing that without you even noticing. Sneaky bastards.
Also, the cut scenes looked shit. Sort that out.
4) Not enough doors
Yep. For all the frustration it causes when you mistime a jump because you can’t see the floor, or you miss a ledge because you weren’t looking in exactly the right direction, everything – absolutely everything – is forgiven when I get to run at a door at high speed and smash it open; the shake of the camera, the vibration of the pad, and the huge thud it makes – for some reason it’s one of the most satisfying split-seconds of console gaming this generation for me.
So DICE, if you are making a sequel – please God, let them be making a sequel – please make it a brilliantly open, free-roaming experience with improved combat, so I can leap from rooftop to rooftop with gunfire clattering all around me, before disarming and knocking some poor bastard unconscious with his own gun.
Or one long corridor with a door I can smash open every hundred yards or so. Either is fine.