Mirror's Edge, Strangely Compelling - Destructoid

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Lordy, where to begin. I'm a student at PSU, chemistry major (if that surprises you, then I weep for your future). I've been gaming since I can remember and still do it avidly. I love a lot of RPG's, adventure games, MMO's, FPS'es, pretty much anything but sports. People have trouble finding games that either I haven't played or at least haven't heard of. Other than gaming, I play quite a bit of Magic the Gathering, I watch a small bit of anime but I do like cosplaying (I am currently writing this dressed as Link). Stick around if you are interested in my views on current games, social memes and a bit of cynicism. (Keep in mind I like unique games, so don't expect any sweet words for more popular games)
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Let me lay down a little bit of important information. I hate EA. They take games, mass produce them, beat them into the ground, shit on them and sell them again. Still, that oh so fickle friend of ours does produce or at least manufacture some solid games. Rest assured, however, that they will put a massive, unskippable logo to let you know, your average experience was brought to you by those two letters. I digress, the real star here is Mirror's Edge.
When Mirror's Edge was first announced, I got excited (those being my more naive, vulnerable years (they have now since dissipated leaving a cynical young adult in their wake)). I thought the game market needed to explore the budding sport of Parkour (see Free Running) and this was a bit of a godsend. Knowing EA, I was a bit cautious that the E3 screen shots of photo realistic environments and trailers of action packed, smooth game play, were in fact, more of EA's wonderful ability to embellish. When released, its sub par ratings confirmed my suspicions of another disappointing let down. Don't get me wrong, I kept interest in the game because I was an avid Battlefield 2 player back in the day and I respected Dice's work. I decided to let the price drop before I made the leap.
It wasn't until 2 weeks ago that I started thinking about that game again. Conversations with one of my friends rekindled my interest in the game. We reached the conclusion that not a single person we knew bought the game and that was unreasonable. Being that I had some extra scratch sitting about, not being used to purchase games, I decided it was time. I strode into my local EB Games (I refuse to call it a Gamestop), walked straight to the 360 section and bought myself a new copy for 30 ducats.
On a quick side note, the reason why this blog is called "Gamer ADD" is the fact that I can't finish a game for the life of me. I honestly don't have the patience, but sometimes I juggle about 3-7 games at once. I SHOULD be playing my Atlas RPG's (Persona yadda yadda yadda) but whose making sure I keep on track.
I put that game disk into my console, booted it up in HD (It really makes a difference for me). First thing I noticed were the environments. Of course, they aren't up to Crysis level, but why shoot for that when no reasonable hardware set up or console would care to give it a decent fps? Either way, I have never seen something so vibrant. This game clearly doesn't suffer from "next gen brown" syndrome Cliffy B seems to be plagued with. The lighting is beautiful, the environments (though mostly rooftops) are very believable. It really gives you a feel of being in a near futuristic city with a lot of interesting offices to speed through.
As for the gameplay. I would say that it is very, very well designed. Keeping your timing, the flow of the game is unmistakable. It plays so smoothly, just one jump to another, a vault, a slide. There are a few commonplace elements such as run from the fuzz and jump over shit, but hey, there are a good amount of puzzles requiring nothing but movement. The one thing I found compelling is the fact that even though each level has a somewhat linear objective, the levels are open enough to improvise a path towards that goal, plus the nature of the environments keeps you from really feeling like you're forced to follow a path.
I beat the game in about two days of regular gaming (a few hours a night), and I can say it was money well spent. The story is a tad generic but the cutscenes are fresh and interesting. Overall though it was a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

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Living the dream since March 16, 2006

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