The IP Shack #1: Mirror’s Edge

We’d like to introduce you to the IP Shack, this is the first test run of it we’ve had, so hopefully it will turn out okay. The IP Shack is all about giving our gamers (staff and readers) a space to rant about the games that aren’t currently spamming the industry with videos, screenshots, teaser trailers, previews, or any related pre-purchase buzz. The idea being that we’ll take a discussion point from a game old or new, whimsical or technical and share some thought on it. We kind of see it as a revisit to existing game IPs (hence name…the shack part is because we like candles) to look at them from quirky angles.

Like I said it’s still barely out of a ‘beta’ phase so expect some experimentation over the coming weeks. We could be waffling about the online days of Splinter Cell back on the PS2, and about all the glitches and scary voices. Or speculation on Raiden’s sexual preferences, why Nolan North seems to pop up in every bloody game, the best puzzle on Portal, whatever. But all you really need to ‘get’ is that this is a little bit less serious and restricted than articles normal dictate, so relax, don’t feel guilty about liking Bayonetta, and come inside the Shack.

And yes I realize that sounded awfully creepy. Sorry about that.

In the first episode of the IP Shack, it’s all about Mirror’s Edge:

I hope you haven’t forgotten the alarmingly agile and typically badass duchess of parkour, Faith? Stretch your mind back and you may recall lots of falling, cursing, and a whole variety of retry screens. Yeah, Mirror’s Edge was way too difficult considering it was trying something totally new, and lots of critics and regular folk alike noted the love-hate relationship that was brewing.

DICE and EA took a risk with this game (as they always do, to their credit) by taking the traditional platforming and first person ingredients, and giving them a good old lesson in the “birds and the bees”. Thus spawned Mirror’s Edge; crazily exhilarating rooftop sliding, train hopping, shopping centre acrobatics, and gun fights. It looked (and still does in fact) absolutely incredible, the whole package was like a pure fantasy chase sequence from the mind of a shockingly athletic postman, and people were passing it around their friends quickly.

That is assuming they ever completed it. When I revisit it now the visuals have aged well (you understand what I mean I hope) and the thrill of the chase gameplay still gets the adrenaline pumping. Perhaps EA should rescue this unique IP and give it a haircut, buy it some new shoes, and maybe even a nice hat. I genuinely hope they don’t let Faith and her milk coloured city get swept down the industry drain, the core idea is very special indeed.

Talking about the ‘milk coloured city’ reminds me of the tangible illusion of freedom you got when playing Mirror’s Edge, it actually felt like you could go anywhere (even though you only had 5 or 6 buildings to jump between realistically) but because of the way the game was structured, you felt you wanted to go in the direction you were guided in. It’s an odd situation, predictability and pacing hiding behind dizzying tower blocks.

However, any but the most eccentric and obsessive gamers would have put Mirror’s Edge down before they got enough at it so that they could play later levels through seamlessly (as you so badly wanted to) without tumbling to your messy death.

Feel free to share your memories of this classic if you were bold enough to buy it, and for those of you who didn’t, it’s less than a tenner now, see what you missed.