In the fourth quarter of 2008, Electronics Arts publish two new IPs that definitely impact the gaming industry, Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge. The first one was critical acclaimed for gamers and reviewers around the world while the other obtained really mixed reviews for the weird and new mechanics that the game implemented. In this days I was wondering why Mirror’s Edge received so an unpleasant welcome in reviews, majority of gamers and sells as well, leaving the game in a limbo of love and hate that the product don’t deserve. Through this lines I want to prove that you don’t need to hate this piece of software and celebrate the joy of innovation.
First If you think this game is first person shooter, your totally wrong. This is a game based on the principle of flow, be a monkey man, a parkour in a first person perspective. At the beginning maybe looks a little bit confusing travel around and know where to go, but you know what, that’s how a parkour feels when running, like a disaster under control. Your enemy are not the police , is the environment that surrounds you, that the level designer make for you to beat it. This principle is a unique game design that publisher EA and maybe DICE have afraid to show at his pure form, because in fact is pretty different from what gamers know with the term FPS, so they choose to put something familiar in the first person genre, gunplay. Maybe this idea destroy in some parts the amazing flow that the game was made for. But at least, DICE give us a new perspective that can be very addictive and fun in future game development, they call it “the flow” and I cheer for that (even Modern Warfare 2 guys took some inspiration with this idea, check).
Another thing that is very important is that this is a pretty hardcore game, why?, because is very hard to get the flow, but man when you get it, is the best thing ever. This is not a game that a casual gamer will pick up and having fun right away, NO!, they will hate it because is confusing an demanding. Don’t give a bad opinion of a game if the game simulate pretty good a topic, in this case a parkour. The frustration and sense of lost is what feels a parkour, you have to think fast to beat this game, as a parkour, is based in real simulation people. If you don’t like, too bad, but don’t say is a crappy game just for do the right thing.
Two other things that this game did right was the visual style and “you can see your body, legs and feet in a first person perspective” feeling. The first one have mixed opinions, some says is gorgeous and futuristic and other says is just plain and simple, the real deal is for the set of the game, the visuals just feel perfect. The second one is just pure awesomeness, no more floating hands with guns, you’re playing with feet and legs, no other game have done that in a first person perspective, and mirrors edges is still the only one who did it. I cheer that.
I’m not saying that mirrors edge is the best game ever in this generation, far from that. In fact, the meaning of this article is congratulate the innovation of some company in the business and I hope that reviews, opinions and sales don’t ruin the chance of keep evolving this idea into a more mature one, maybe in a sequel. So, what you think?, you support new ideas or just want to keep playing Halo for the rest of your life.