Everything I’ve seen about the upcoming Mirror’s Edge has excited and titillated me, to the point where, having now played the demo, I’m prepared to publish – on an obscure corner of the internet, no less – the following bold call:
Mirror’s Edge is this year’s Portal.
It’s a 3D, first-person game that has nothing to do with shooting people, but is instead strictly about new and innovative ways of exploring a world. Its look is clean, original, unique. And so is its gameplay. It looks like they’ve had a very clear idea from the very beginning precisely what experience they’re trying to convey and they appear to have succeeded admirably in doing just that. And the experience in question is one that is genuinely fun. It’s not about making the player suffer to prove themselves, it’s about letting the player show off what they can do.
DICE seems to have grasped that one of the big drawcards of videogames is when they let us do the things we’ve always wanted to be able to do in real life, but which are either too dangerous, beyond our physical capabilities or simply flat-out impossible. Drive cars ridiculously fast, fly fighter jets, swing on a web between buildings (that experience in Spiderman 2 was game-selling great fun, flawed and repetitive though the rest of the game turned out to be), and so on. You can imagine what it might be like, and there’s great fun to be had playing the games that let you realise these daydreams.
Of course, Mirror’s Edge is being produced by EA and not Valve, and so it won’t have been run through Valve’s famously tough gameplay testing process – the thing that polishes each of their games from a mere diamond to the Koh-i-Noor – which gives me some hesitation in giving it the plaudit above, at least before playing the full game, but I just can’t restrain myself. Things are looking very good indeed.
There aren’t many titles within the splurge of upcoming games in which I’m really all that interested, but Mirror’s Edge is leading that very select group*. I can’t wait.
NOTE: Yes, WGS is dedicated to bitching about game flaws, and here I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve done quite the opposite. Gushing, uncritical praise like the above is exactly the sort of thing WGS is supposed to counter. This post is indeed WGS sucking at what it’s meant to do.
But I don’t care. I couldn’t help it. I haven’t been this excited about an upcoming game since Half Life 2 Episode Two.
*The others are Left 4 Dead, Prince of Persia and Guitar Hero: World Tour.
UPDATE: You’re not going to believe this. Guess what Mirror’s Edge‘s theme song is called? I kid you not – “Still Alive“. As in the name of Portal’s beloved title track. A different “Still Alive”, apparently, but, come on. There’s something horribly wrong with DICE so unsubtly trying to draw the comparison.
Have some dignity, guys.