Game news Why Mirror’s Edge is a cult game in EA’s catalog you’ll never forget
Immaculate skyscrapers, red doors and inaccessible alleys… the environments of Mirror’s Edge are recognizable among thousands. Scatter their images among a few hundred other video game settings and you’ll still be able to spot them in the crowd. And then there’s this unforgettable ease of moving around, this relentless flow that the title sucks us into. Never has an experience impacted me so much on this level.
A story about perspective
This article is an opinion piece, it is subjective in nature. The author’s opinion is personal and is not representative of the rest of JV’s editorial staff.
Mirror’s Edge, developed by DICE, was part, along with Dead Space, of the new licenses overseen by the giant Electronic Arts with the aim of diversifying its game portfolio. “There was pressure inside the studio to do something different… Back then we were still an independent company. We would push for a new IP“, recalls Patrick Söderlund, former CEO of DICE (Polygon). The Swedish team takes the risk of daring, its formula is not yet popular. The dystopian game is part of a first-person stream that references violence in the background. It brazenly deviates from the chains already imposed by triple A and shines in three aspects: eye-catching aesthetics, a highly charismatic heroine and fantastic gameplay. For these three features that have never lost their excellence fourteen years after release, Mirror’s Edge is still my favorite game.
An unforgettable universe
I imagine, Mirror’s Edge never shined after its scenario, but its universe is no less amazing. The adventure begins in the shoes of a young heroine who outruns the police by clinging to the landing gear of a helicopter. Faith has a scandalous appearance and temperament. She embodies a messenger with a fiery temper who is employed illegally in a city won over to securitarianism. Its role is to send sensitive packages by crossing the city’s rooftops. The shallows are so impenetrable that they become mysterious, reaching them is always synonymous with death. On the roofs there is not a living soul, but the immersion there is striking.
The game keeps us at its dizzying heights immersed in an impeccable blue sky. The heroine’s breath echoes with each sprint; Faith moves with unsettling ease and gives us a certain sense of freedom. But his course must remain constant: the authorities are on his heels, watching the slightest decline. The fantastic music from Solar Fields characterizes the epic. And you may remember the main theme Still Alive, which ended our holiday in style.
The impeccable level design
I’ve never found such well-executed pathfinding and level design, based on a minimalism that’s as unsettling as it is effective.. So, of course, Mirror’s Edge has its share of imperfections: a narrative that never really takes hold, and the ability to use firearms as a last resort when it comes to breaking fluid parkour. The DICE game will still be a critical success, if not commercially. Martin Frain, director of marketing for DICE, estimated that his baby would sell at least 3 million copies, adding that he “believes he has the potential to do even better than that“. But the hope was in vain; some unofficial sources evoke sales of less than 150,000 copies worldwide in the first week of marketing. A year later, the title will painfully cross a million copies.
Still, Mirror’s Edge is an undeniable cult title. It was born at a time when the parkour craze was at its peak, fueled by the flagship licenses that are Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed. Restarting the game to write this post reminded me that her beauty hadn’t aged one bit and that her aura remained as special as ever.. Lars Gustavsson, Creative Director of DICE says he feels the need to pick up the controller and play a bit, just to get back to it. Catalyst, the sequel, should have picked up on this formula of well-designed levels instead of serving us its soulless free-roaming. Mirror’s Edge doesn’t need an open world to give us a sense of freedom. We doubt we’ll see a third installment land in the next few years, even if the license was intended as a trilogy. But a return to basics would be (at least for me) a true blessing.