Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mirror's Edge (XBOX 360)



- Finished in about 7 hrs. After that there are speed runs and time trials. The later has a neat ghost mode which shows your best run or anybody on the leaderboards. It's a neat way to extend game play and find new short cuts.
- Music, sound design, graphical style, all create a really original atmospheric setting.
- I found the unique perspective, platforming, exploration, melee combat, and just the right amount of gun play to create a really enjoyable experience that I've never had before.
- Great sense of vertigo educing scale, and even speed when you go into a full sprint.
- Framerate is very smooth all of the time.
- I enjoyed the story and characters. The ending was pretty satisfying if a bit short.
- I'm not as crazy about the art style in the cut scenes. I think I would have preferred them in engine.
- There is a lot of trial and error to the gameplay. Some parts of the game requires unforgiving timing and jumping skills. The continue points are spaced fine so at least you won't have to replay much to get back to where you were but expect to die....a lot....over and over again.
- The controls are well thought out. It's just they are different than most other games so it takes a bit of time to get use to.
- This isn't quite an open world game like crackdown. There is some flexibility in how you approach navigating the environment but there is basically a specific path you must take. It's a pretty wide path with a few different options, but basically it's a path. I'm fine with this since you rarely get lost. If you do, just hold B and the camera will look in the direction you must go....most of the time. It doesn't always work perfectly.
- Game does a great job mixing up the gameplay and pacing. Sometimes your are being chased. Other times you are chasing others. Then there are times where there isn't that time pressure but you have some more difficult level design puzzle to figure out.
- There was one part where I had to jump from a vertical pipe to a catwalk. I couldn't quite aim and/or push my left stick (or is it right stick too) just right so it would "inviso" lock to make the jump. I must have just let go and dropped to my death like 10 times. I'm not sure why I was having such a problem in this one spot.
- Sometimes jumping up and hanging on something and then trying to look and nudge the game to inviso lock on a 90 degree platform next to you is tough. This also happened in just one spot so far.
- I'm getting much better at the soft roll landing now. Jump reverse jump is becoming more natural too.
- Melee combat is kind of tough especially when there are a lot of blues clumped together. Sometimes hiding separates them, sometimes not. I was trying not to shoot and kill people but oh well there goes that achievement. I usually like to start with a slide kick since that makes them double over. It seems like a more effective stun than the jumping kick.
- I'm enjoying my quiet reading time in the elevators.
- There was one spot on chapter 7 (vents working my way up) I was stuck on for quite a while. The timing required to do what was needed was a bit crazy. There was one tricky jumping part in chapter 8 too. Ending wasn't bad but pretty short. Wait through the credits for a bit more story in a voice over. By the end you'll be really good at wall running -> jumping, wall running -> reverse -> jumping -> wall climb -> reverse -> jumping, etc. Disarming timing is like crazy precise without the slow- mo. So ummm yeah use the slow-mo.
- I tried some speed runs and time trials (ghosts are pretty cool). I might work on playing on hard and getting some more achievements like not shooting anybody (which would seem quite difficult on the later levels). Overall I would say it was 6.5hrs of incredible gaming and 30-60min of hair pulling frustration. I still loved it but man a bit more play testing and a slight loosing of timing/precise jumping in just a few spots would have gone a long way to making this an even more enjoyable experience. Maybe it was done on purpose to lengthen gameplay but this wouldn't be the ideal way. This game just felt so original and refreshing in so many ways.
- Oh I played around 6 hrs straight today and no motion sickness. It's odd because I've gotten sick with all the star breeze games (must be something about their engine). I finished both Riddick and the Darkness but I couldn't play more than one hour at a time. Even MGS4 made me a bit ill but Mirror's Edge I was fine.
- I'm impressed with some of the risks EA has been taking recently with original IP's like this. It's even more impressive that this came from Dice the developers of the Battlefield series since this game is so different. I was surprised to learn this was built with Unreal Engine 3 since it looks/feels so different than any other unreal engine game. That really shows how flexible that engine is.
- It's pretty family friendly so I didn't mind playing it while the kids were still up. I would consider it a very mild Teen rating.
- I'll give one hint to anybody who is stuck. Learn to love wall running and jumping (with or without a reverse in there). Learn to spot where you can do it (and it's not always immediately obvious). Getting enough speed, getting good height on the wall run, and timing that jump exactly perfect at the apex of your wall run to get maximum distance and height is CRITICAL to completion of this game.

Highly recommended. This is a gamer's game. It doesn't feel watered down for a mainstream audience. Having said that the learning curve is pretty steep. Stick with it, and you will be rewarded. If you are willing to put up with a bit of frustration, there is a really great and original game that feels and looks like nothing you've played before.

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