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Home » Featured, Previews

Mirror’s Edge Demo : Impressions

Submitted by on Thursday, 30 October 20085 Comments

As part of our long running (huh?) feature of letting you know what’s good in the weekly PSN update (and what should be avoided like a plague infected rat with the hantavirus – unless of course you have a morbid obsession to download every demo known to man – or like sick rats) we take a look at the recently unleashed  First Person Runner “Mirror’s Edge” from EA DICE.

Is it all style over substance or does Faith rise leaps and bounds above the cornucopia of other titles currently vying for your wallet? And what’s with the manly arms?

Title: Mirror’s Edge
Publisher: EA
Developer: EA DICE
Demo Release Date: October 30th
Release Date of final game: November 11th (NA/JP), November 14th (EU)
Size: 917 MB

Introduction: Faith really shouldn’t need an introduction but in case you’ve been living under a rock where gaming news is banned: Mirror’s Edge is a first person perspective adventure with a difference. Heavily featuring the urban phenomenon of free-running (or parkour as all the kids are calling it) the emphasis is on movement and conflict avoidance rather than churning through enemies with millions of (badly aimed) bullets like, say, Resistance 2. The demo was somewhat of a nice surprise considering it was hinted at some time ago and some people had an inkling that it simply wasn’t going to appear.  Thankfully we were wrong and now a small taste of the game is awaiting your visit and selection at the PlayStation Store.

Initial impressions: The Mirror’s Edge demo can now literally be referred to as the paragon of what a demo should be. It ticks every box on the “What Makes A Good Demo” check-list and should be sent to every developer who is thinking of releasing a preview of their game to the masses. This is how you do it folks.

After a short animated prologue (that most of us have already seen) explaining Faith’s world and why she does what she does, we are introduced to the quintessential tutorial presented by Celeste – an apparent colleague of Faith who is going to show you the ropes. This “I go first, you mimic me” method that, apart from the annoying fact that you can’t skip through Celeste’s teachings after you’ve managed to throw yourself off a building, is a simple and refreshing way of welcoming a player to the game’s quirks and habits.  And, let’s face it, the control system is definitely quirky.

Though not a negative mark against the demo (more on the actual game if it is to be seen as a negative) it’s painfully odd not pressing “X” to jump at first, though you do get over it. Putting both “Up” and “Down” actions on the same side of the shoulder is also tricky to master but one feels that any gripes with the inventive control system will quickly be mitigated by an hour of actual play-time. We’re confident that some trial and error will see most people get the hang of it and master the combinations of running, jumping, sliding, disarming and posing demurely into as many reflective surfaces as possible.

After the tutorial you get the briefest (and I mean ephemeral, we’re talking brine shrimp duration here) of chapters that spectators of previously released media of the game will be all too familiar with. You  literally get the opening level to do some jumps, wall-run a little, disarm some goons with bullet-time-esque hyper-time moves and make that death-defying jump to the helicopter at the end.  Anybody who shouts “Spoilers!” will be promptly ignored; you’ve already seen this in the footage released on the net – this time you just get to play it.

A small note on quality and the artistic presentation within the game. The environments can feel quite sterile at times which is probably just a personal qualm. I also noticed some frame-rate drops which can be a little jarring at times. Finally, and I’ll need to check again to be absolutely certain, Faith’s arms in the tutorial part of the demo look like plastic man-meat. They appear more feminine and realistic afterwards but it might freak you out a little at the start. OK, it freaked me out a little at the start.

Who’s Going To Like This: Girls. And guys who like girls.  And guys and girls who like to try something different. The only people who I don’t think would like this demo would be people that are turned off by the concept of the game-play of Mirror’s Edge in the first place.  If you have any interest in the game – get this demo. If you have absolutely no interest in the game – get it anyway. It’s so short that it’s not like you’ll be ringing EA demanding those 35 minutes of your life back.

Interest Radar: We here at PS3 Attitude were already looking forward to the game and this demo just confirms that EA have another “new franchise” hit on their hands. Sure, the final game might be short, (which some of us with massive back-logs don’t see as a bad thing) and in some places the look and feel of the level(s) appear quite stark, but we’re sure this is going to be big and the demo will not disappoint if you give it a shot.

Mirror’s Edge gets Seven out Seven on the “Years of Bad Luck When Smashed” Scale.

Remember: demo impressions are based on the demo and not on the game. Great games have been known to have lousy demos, with the opposite also holding true. Objects in mirror may appear closer than they are, etc. etc.