Mirror’s Edge – How Fun Can a Run be?

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is only a few months away but what is all the fuss about? In its simplest form the game is fundamentally just running around for a few hours. Yet there is something about that which is just so enticing and down-right enjoyable.

I’m personally eagerly awaiting this game and was distraught when only a few months ago it was delayed to its current release. Although, my love for the series wasn’t always there, and it still isn’t strong enough for me to fork out the £160 they want for the collector’s edition, however nifty the statue is. So I can understand where some of the grievances towards the franchise are coming from as I once argued them.

I remember when the first game came out I was a bit sceptical about it thinking it wasn’t my cup of tea, when it really was. My friends were all getting into it and I was in the background taking cheap shots about how you’re just frolicking about on rooftops. I couldn’t see the appeal and they tried explaining why it was good fun, but they never got more descriptive than, it just is.

For some unknown reason I grew this desire to try it and as soon as I did all of my gripes seemed to take off without as much as a goodbye. It turned out running on a roof is a little more enjoyable than one would think.

For those who have no idea what a Mirror’s Edge has anything to do with running, and were intrigued enough to read this far I shall explain, briefly. This is a first person free-running game. Too brief? Well the game is a dystopian society, where free-running is the only way to deliver messages without the government intercepting it. The story is based around Faith, who is trying to uncover the truth behind the murder of a politician and doing it the only way she knows, running. Doing so creates a whole game about you getting from A to B by climbing over obstacles or jumping over gaps, with the odd villain needing to be stopped.

It’s a game that everyone has practised at without even realising. Whenever you’re fed up of fighting in games and decide to just leg it past everything, perfect training. You are already an expert at Mirror’s Edge. Okay so maybe I’ve undercut the game a little, there is far more to it than just going for a run, it’s more like a run with some jumps.

No matter how much I go into the cool jumps or vaults in the game that make you feel like an untouchable badass, unless you try it you can’t understand. It’s this weird barrier that when you watch someone do it, it’s just ‘meh’ but when you personally pull it off it’s the coolest thing you’ve seen. Catalyst is an open-world and will no doubt make that ‘bad-assness’ come through even more, when leaping from building to building across a whole city.

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So most of the game was parkour, but it was also often a great puzzler. Most of my first play-through was stopping and assessing how the hell I’m meant to get past areas. It was less of a nice fluid and fast paced game and more of a slow slug, which ended with me redoing areas instantly so I could do it smoothly. The game is pretty much a hipster platformer. It offers the same amount of excitement as finishing a classic Mario map and no one questions the fun of those games.

The game tries to incorporate shooting, with Faith being able to take the guns from the various grunts who crowd up the roofs and halls. Though this has been dropped from Catalyst, as it made the game far too easy. Besides its much more fun to fight using parkour and being smart, than to just run and gun the guys down.

The graphics are something all fans mention, and they were breath-taking when it was released and have aged well. It’s bright and vibrant making everything pop out of the screen, but the city might want to invest in architects who appreciate other colours that just white. If you like modern designs or just a super clean freak it’ll be the best looking game you’ve seen.

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If you’re more interested in the story, there will be many people saying how good it was, but I didn’t really think so. It seemed that the making of a great plot was all there and it had potential to be something great, it’s just it didn’t do enough. Had the game gone into a bit more detail about the characters and give some of them some more personality it could have done much more. I’m sure this is going to change with Catalyst as it seems to be a lot more story driven.

The story of Catalyst already seems to be a bit more in-depth than its predecessor and with it being a sequel, it’ll make use fall in love with Faith even more. We will no doubt see her having a troubled childhood and then being a reckless ‘Runner’.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst strikes me as another Portal 2. The first Portal was a short game that was really testing the water and then the second really showed what they could do and in every single way it was improved. So I feel that’s the direction Catalyst is aiming at. It will improve on everything and make it feel like a fuller game than what the first was. Well to be honest isn’t that the aim of most games, well you know what I mean.

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