|PS3 / XBOX 360||USA|
By Jeriaska . July 25, 2008 . 2:19pm
The unnamed futuristic city of Mirror's Edge is safe, clean and technologically sophisticated. But if you send an email to your friend, it will be intercepted and read by the police before being passed on. This is the situation Faith, the game's protagonist, finds herself in. While no one in the city is oppressed, surveillance is ubiquitous. Keeping secrets is practically impossible unless you are the government. In effect, it is the spitting image of what is sometimes termed a "nanny state."
While most people in the setting of the aesthetically captivating first-person game by Dice accept the situation because they feel comfortable, Faith feels that the city has lost the vibrancy it once knew and has become a cold, austere place. As a result, she is pushed to the "edge" of the society. She makes her living running illegal documents between messengers, which is the only effective way of communicating in secret. The game begins upon Faith discovering that her sister has been framed by the government for a crime she did not commit. She has no superpowers to enable her to get to the bottom of things, but her amazing skills are what might result if parkour stunts were an Olympic sport. (If you've never heard of parkour or free running, check it out on YouTube — You're in for a treat.)
For Mirror's Edge, the developers at Dice wanted to create a game revolving around movement, while keeping the controls intuitive and context-sensitive. Faith jumps and can wall-run with L1; she slides with L2. The player is alerted to which direction to head in to reach their goal by following red-colored objects. According to developers, this is not what Faith actually sees — rather the color is a shorthand for her intuition and experience as a runner. There is even an option to turn the color-coding off if players prefer taking more time to explore their surroundings. In the game's various bullet time sequences, termed "reaction times," the action is slowed down to offer players greater degrees of control during difficult jumps and intense maneuvers. Again, the slow-mo is there to help the player deal with a tough obstacle, not a power belonging to the character herself. Faith is an extraordinary runner, but she is altogether human.
Images courtesy of Electronic Arts