Mirror's Edge for PC




Genre:   Action

Developer:   EA Digital Illusions CE AB

Publisher:    Electronic Arts, Inc.

Released:  January 2009

PC Requirements:  

Microsoft Windows XP SP2/VistaWindows XP or Vista

Processor: Pentium 4 at 3.0 GHz, RAM: 1GB

Video: 256MB memory with Shader Model 3.0*

HDD Space: 8GB

DVD Drive: 1x DVD Drive

Soundcard: Soundcard with DirectX 9.0c compatibility

DirectX: DirectX 9.0c

Network: An online connection is required for access to Leaderboards





by Trail_Mystic


Stylish, brutal, fun and far too short -- welcome to the Mirror’s Edge.

I knew little about this game, prior to purchasing it, other than it looked “interesting.”  It was a GameBoomers member and someone I work with, both fellow Xbox’ers, who recommended the game. I was tempted to get the Xbox 360 version, but held out until it was made available for PC. The game is quite obviously designed for a game console controller due to its variety of complex moves. There are a good number of keyboard combinations that you will need to master in order to complete the game, but I was quite impressed at the intuitive design of the keyboard controls. The designers definitely worked at porting this to PC from the aspect of a PC gamer. The many key combinations are all in reach of the left hand without having to stray too far from the “home row,” allowing you to keep your right hand firmly on the mouse for combat and camera control.

Mirror’s Edge takes place in a highly developed and metropolitan city business center sometime in the near future. The government of this place has turned neo-fascist and those who wish to conduct business away from the prying eyes of the regime employ specialized couriers called Runners.

Runners are so in tune with the ebb and flow the of the city’s rooftop architecture that they treat it like their own private Zen garden.  They run across the rooftops many stories above the city streets, jumping from building to building in a manner reminiscent of a gymnastic floor routine on steroids. There is a definite Zen element within the game to the running, swinging, sliding, jumping...dying.  Oh yes, unless you have youthful or exceptional hand-eye coordination, expect to die many, many times -- at least during the first hour of the game. I played at the Normal difficulty level and there were times that frustration made me consider moving to the Easy level, but I felt that I would not get the true feel that the developers were attempting to get across.  There were also times during the game that I felt the difficulty level was skewed in order to increase the game play time.  This was a disturbing thought, since I came across a similar technique while playing another Electronic Arts release, SPORE. The difference between SPORE and Mirror’s Edge is quality on all levels. The level of immersiveness, control and finish is far higher in Edge than SPORE could ever hope to accomplish in its present form.

Since the game is so very short, figure 8-10 hours of game play for the average gamer skilled in FPS (First Person Shooter)/Action style games, I’ve decided not to cover any detailed aspects of the story line, because in truth it is really secondary to the game.  Now, I can already hear the RPG (Role-Playing Game) gamers saying, “WHAT, the story is secondary?  The game is too short?  How could this possibly be a good game?” To be honest, I really don’t know. What I do know is that I had a blast playing it, even though I lost count of how many times my character was turned into “pavement burger” while playing. 

The game is at once very similar to many action games I’ve played, but altogether different as well.  I am reminded of the Tomb Raider games to some extent, but Mirror’s Edge takes character control to a new level and does it exceptionally well.  When the keyboard and mouse combinations finally clicked, I felt a real sense of accomplishment. At one point -- faced with several armed foes -- I ran towards them, wall-walked over their heads, did a flip over the last, disarmed him as I landed, shot two others with the gun I took from the first and then jumped to an adjacent building to disappear in the distant rooftops while SWAT helicopters, still searching, circled in the distance.  My girlfriend laughed when she heard my audible response to the sequence, “That ROCKED!” This game is built to give you an adrenalin rush. There were times that I found my palms sweating as my character ran, slid and then jumped across an impossible gap 50, 60, 70 stories above the city streets and vaulted over electrical fences while pursuers unloaded round after round.

Music for the game fits the environs. I’m not sure if this is the standard release, but my copy included the game’s soundtrack. This was not a collector’s version, only the result of a pre-order. The techno/pop music fits the game very well and the catchy main theme reflects some slick production values. This shows a professional effort was put forth to make it commercially acceptable and potentially radio worthy.

Drawbacks to the game are the occasional freeze-up that seems to happen at crucial moments.   Additionally, the game uses the checkpoint system for saves.  You cannot save at any point within the game; it’s done for you. This sometimes means that you will need to start quite a distance back from your point of demise. This can happen innumerable times, but this reviewer could not put his finger on exactly what it is that drives the gamer forward.  Though I have the sneaking suspicion it’s related to the wish to be able to have the skills that Runners possess, so that you feel obligated to help your character succeed.

Psychology aside, this game has all the attributes of the predictions I have read and heard from various gaming sites related to the future of gaming due to the stressed economy. An increase in methods that will lower demand in the used game market by producing games that are shorter, but more desirable to keep. This is done through a combination of required online activation, free additional content and the promise of full (paid) expansions.  In any case there is a give-and-take, but I really do hope that the producers, writers and developers come up with some more cutting edge expansion material for Mirror’s Edge.

Rather than recommending the game, I recommend playing the demo to determine if it is a game for you.  While the story is somewhat lacking and the game play seemingly too short to justify its introductory purchase price, it still provides a great deal of entertainment value.  Graphics that switch between slick, true, three-dimensional views of the city’s rooftop landscape and animated graphic novel illustrations give this game a style all its own.  Frenetic game play, immediately followed by fantastic and flowing chase sequences, show the developer’s skill in planning.  Picking the correct course while running across the rooftops is made easier by the “Runner Vision” option, which colors potential aids in your run across town in a vibrant red.  There is also an effective use of the other primary colors (yellow and blue) throughout the city, giving the scenes the appearance of something you might find in the Museum of Modern Art.  Aside from the “Story” level of the game, there are also Race and Training Modes that allow you to take full advantage of the game’s features without the combat or story driven aspect.

You will need a fairly buffed up gaming machine to get good frame rates.   The machine I used contained a 3GHz Core2Duo CPU, dual XFX 8800 GT 512MB Alpha-Dog Over-Clocked video cards in SLI and 4GB of available RAM.  Even with this combination I saw my CPU and memory spike close to full utilization more than once during the game at maximum settings.  It’s worth it, though, to try and obtain a balance using the higher settings to get the most out of the wonderful graphics.

All in all, the game is visually appealing and the well executed controls combined with varied playing environments make you wish for more. For as short as the game is, the variety of paths across the city and the wish to improve your game play does lend some “replayability” to the game.  Combine that with the promise of future content and you have exactly what the producers wanted -- a keeper.

Game Score: 8.5

January, 2009

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