As I mentioned yesterday, going into E3 there wasn’t really much on my radar other than Left 4 Dead. Perhaps a couple of other titles I had a passing interest in; the likes of Fallout 3 and Prince of Persia. But overall…my excitement levels were fairly low. Which makes it all the more pleasing when something like Mirror’s Edge comes along and surprises.
Preview: Mirror’s Edge
This game was announced a fair while back and there was even a trailer released in May which raised a few eyebrows. Despite that early video’s claim to be ‘all in-game footage’, though, I don’t think anybody quite believed it. A first-person platforming action adventure? Surely not?
The video above quite rapidly dispelled any doubts about the game. It seems to pick up where Dark Messiah tentatively trod a couple of years ago, focusing on the acrobatic antics from Arkane’s FPS (first-person sworder) and turning them into a complete game, one which is closer to the clambering adventures of the Prince of Persia than any normal shooter.
Presuming that Mirror’s Edge doesn’t give you immediate motion sickness, it would seem to be another gaming Holy Grail: first-person platforming, something which many probably assumed would never work. We’ve been moving towards this stage incrementally for the last few years, even since Thief 3 made the player’s body visible. ‘Body awareness’ is crucial to Mirror’s Edge, enabling you to plant hands and feet exactly where they need to be to avoid plummeting to your doom.
What remains to be seen is just how much skill is involved. Do timing, position and accuracy play important parts, or will it all be disappointingly automated? Assassin’s Creed‘s freerunning capabilities were astounding initially, until the ease and lack of challenge became apparent. While ease-of-use and accessibility are key factors in gaming these days, it’s a delicate balance to tread – in acrobatic games such as Ass Creed and MIrror’s Edge it’s just as important for the player to feel in control as it is to maintain fluidity of motion. With luck, Mirror’s Edge will find a happy medium.
I suspect that the game could end up becoming 2008’s Portal – innovative and unusual, pushing against the boundaries of a reactionary genre to create an experience that leaves people wondering “why didn’t anyone do this earlier?”
Here’s the arty new trailer: