While the console versions of EA DICE's ambitious first-person action adventure game Mirror's Edge might have slipped past the Frankenreview monster, the recently released PC version encounters no such luck.
The console version of Mirror's Edge, released last November for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, may have received overall positive reviews, but multiple complaints marred what could have been the perfect game. Claims of shortness, difficult controls, and the general lack of freedom mingled with more obtuse arguments over the game's perceived innovation, sparking harsh arguments on forums around the internet.
Now Mirror's Edge is finally available for the PC gaming crowd. Let's see how the assembled critics of the internet put this version through its paces.
This is a modern-day iteration of an old-fashioned platformer, in which you're meant to play and replay sequences of jumps, grabs, and slides until you get them perfect, or at least perfect enough to continue. But unlike its ancestors, Mirror's Edge is more about speed and momentum, and when you can connect your moves in a flawless stream of silky movement, it's eminently thrilling and satisfying. Unfortunately, Mirror's Edge has a tendency to trip over its own feet, keeping you slipping and sliding blissfully along, only to have a tedious jumping puzzle or hazy objective put the brakes on.
On consoles...Up and down were easy to master, but analogue directional control and DICE's reluctance to correct your course - even slightly - often snagged you, or left you to slowly, agonisingly draw yourself over the lip of a roof-edge, or sent you plummeting to your doom and the commiseration of a sympathetic checkpoint. Look down and you could see your feet. Look down and you wouldn't have time to look up again. Thanks to the mouse, not so on the PC. With the sensitivity at a decent level, a decade of twitching guns onto monsters rescues you from misjudgement.
The game falters when it comes to enemy interaction and combat. The enemy AI goes from incredibly unintelligent to tactical-genius in no time at all, though this steep curve can probably be attributed to the game's five-to-six hour length. Still, it's jarring when they go from missing you at point-blank range to picking you off from five stories below. Many times it's best to simply avoid combat and run past the enemies, but the game does force it on you more and more frequently as it progresses. Disarming enemies can be fun, but also unreliable, resulting in needless deaths. And the gunplay itself is loose and unfulfilling, which is a shame since the core mechanics are so inspired.
With the PC version you do get a few extra features, the majority of which are expected. You can use a mouse and keyboard or Xbox 360 controller for instance, and the former turns out to work pretty well, as we used it to play through the whole game as well as log some decent runs in a few of the time trial modes. There's a standard array of video options such as anti-aliasing, texture and graphics quality, and resolution settings, as well as a toggle for PhysX effects. Turning this on populates the world with flowing banners, billowing plastic and fabric, as well as a number of other flashy effects that most definitely enhance the visual appeal of the world.
There are times in Mirror's Edge when you'll be frustrated, replaying a section for the umpteenth time with no solution in sight, but persevere; Faith always has a way out - you just have to find it. Combine a thoroughly entertaining single-player campaign with a stunning and challenging time trial mode and you'll soon forget that you managed to run through the story in six hours or less. There's depth here that you'll only discover hours into time trialling a single stage, and as we said, no other game in recent memory comes close to being as cool. We can't wait to see what Faith gets up to next.
Sounds like the keyboard and mouse made a world of difference.