Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Mirror’s Edge

Who’d have thought running could be so much fun?

Mirror’s Edge is essentially a game about free-running (or parkour if you fancy, or are French). And rather uniquely it’s a game about free-running in First-Person Perspective.

I didn’t think free-running would work in First-Person if I’m totally honest, I’ve always found the more platformy sections of FPS games to be more of a chore than a joy, but Mirror’s Edge does rather buck the trend.

DICE have gotten a lot right here. Not everything works perfectly but there’s a lot here I’d like to see become standard in all FPS games.

First up, how about running? Running and sprinting in the majority of FPS games lacks realism to say the least. Often it feels like your character is some sort of weightless entity gently bobbing in the air, sprinting results in slightly more vigorous bobbing and the sensation of speed is often lacking. Some games bob better than others, but Mirror’s Edge is king. Ok, yeah it’s still essentially bobbing but the sense of acceleration and speed DICE have achieved in Mirror’s Edge ranks it head and shoulders above any other game I’ve played in first person. Other developers need to rip this off, because what they’re coming up with is weak in comparison.

How bout we talk low walls and fences? In too many games these are insurmountable obstacles. Aw, seriously? a low wall? Better be a gate or we ain’t gettin past this mutha! Mirror’s Edge has a vaulting mechanic that allows a smooth vault over low obstacles that also increases your momentum. There’s no reason why this can’t be implemented in every single FPS game. It makes a butt-load of sense. Some games have tried to implement the feature (Call of Duty springs to mind) but it’s clunky and lacks the fluidity of the DICE solution.

Scenery! All games have scenery, but a lot of it, well, most of it, is very much look but don’t touch. That stack of boxes look climbable to you? Yeah, let’s go check it ou- ah, no, it’s just scenery. In Mirror’s Edge if it looks like a person could climb it, you can, and in a fluid realistic manner. People have hands. Hands that can be used to help you up and shit. Amazing!

Rockin the Taijutsu shit. Mirror’s Edge is light on combat, you’re expected to avoid confrontation where possible, but when you need to take a guy out you’ve got some ass-bustin moves to get you there. I don’t think all the unarmed combat aspects of Mirror’s Edge would transfer well into other games, but the disarm-takedown moves are something that other developers should think about. If you get the drop on an enemy it kinda makes sense that you should be able to pull off some cool ninja shit to take them out.

It’s a shame DICE don’t have the rights to Assassin’s Creed, because when it comes to this free-running stuff, DICE in first-person created a better free-running experience than Ubisoft Montreal did in third-person. Considering third-person has long been the home of games with free-running elements that’s quite some achievement. My major complaint with Assassin’s Creed is that it’s free-running on auto-pilot. You hold down the right trigger and point yourself in the right direction and the game does everything for you, auto-jump, auto-roll, auto-climb, auto-bore. In Mirror’s Edge it’s down to you to time jumps, when to roll etc etc. Personally I feel more involved in Mirror’s Edge whereas in Assassin’s Creed I feel more like an observer, and that bores me to tears.

Never played Mirror’s Edge? You can get it for as little as £4 right now. That’s a freakin steal. Do It.

Oh yeah, and the games title music is fucking beautiful

I fell in love with this song the very first time I loaded up the game

freedoms_stain, DO IT! out.

No comments: