Sonic and the edge of mirrors

Recently, a member of the forums going by the handle Fredly81 posited the theory that Mirror’s Edge is the new Sonic the Hedgehog. Mirrors Edge is a unique upcoming game in which you are a messenger who free-runs (or performs parkour) across a sterile urban environment. Other than the fact that both games reward you for going as quickly as you can, I don’t see a lot of connections between Sonic and Faith, the main character of Mirror’s Edge. As part of my glamorous career in game’s retail, I was able to play a demo of Mirror’s Edge, and to me the experience of playing the game was much more reminiscent of the platforming in recent Tomb Raider games or Uncharted, but portrayed in the first person perspective. The pure visceral thrill you get in the aforementioned games when you can quickly and acrobatically traverse long platforming sections without slowing down or falling is taken to an extreme in Mirror’s Edge. The first person perspective heightens the feelings of vertigo and the adrenaline rush of pure speed, and nailing a particularly tricky combination is a satisfying accomplishment.

I am a big believer in the game after having played it, but I am still very nervous about it’s reception. When I was waiting to play it, it made me sad to see people play it for 60 seconds, fall three times, and walk away. This is a game that you need to invest in before it “clicks”. I was lucky in that there was a guy there to walk me through the mechanics while I was playing, and I was soon scampering around the level like I was the star of a Luc Besson-produced French action movie. If the game can keep things fresh and interesting throughout it’s entirety, then I think it has the potential to break out and jumpstart a new franchise, regardless of how confused some consumers might be with a game in first-person that doesn’t revolve around guns and shooting people in the face.

As someone who gets almost as much enjoyment from discussing games as playing them, I think the dialogue surrounding the game is going to be very interesting. DICE and EA are taking a risk with this new creation, and while I know I’ve been aching for something unique and original on a home console, I can but hope that there are a lot of other people like me out there are as well — people who aren’t completely satisfied with sequel after sequel. I don’t think I’ll have too long to wait until the dialogue gets kick-started, as a Mirror’s Edge demo is to arrive sooner or later…sooner rather than later, I suspect. My reasoning: preorder customers get a code to unlock an extra Time Trial mode in the demo; since the game store I manage already has these codes, it stands to reason that the demo should be available soon. One of the tough things about early access to games is there aren’t very many people to talk about them with (I know, poor me), and I can’t wait until a wide variety of gaming enthusiasts are flooding the internet with their own impressions. Just be sure to post your impressions on Talking Time first, since it’s bound to be full of people discussing it.

6 thoughts on “Sonic and the edge of mirrors

  1. I have to say, I am extremely excited for this game, specifically because it’s a first-person game that’s not about shooting people in the face. So excited that I’m considering putting down the $130 for the special preorder that includes a messenger bag from Timbuk2.

  2. Serendipitous that this got posted this evening, because The Simpsons just had an episode with a long parkour section that parodied movies like District B13 and the opening sequence of Casin* Royale. Even with free running becoming somewhat of a cliche, like where bullet time was in the wake of the first Matrix movie, I can’t hold it against the game. After all, the game has been in development for a long time, and besides, long after I had started to groan at bullet time in TV and film, I was still enjoying bullet time when well implemented in video games.

  3. I think this is 2008’s Bioshock. By that, I mean an otherwise overlooked game (in the mainstream, that is), will be successful through the champion of the press and word of mouth.

    As a comparison to Sonic, that kinda worries me. I’m a big Sonic fan, but I can recognize that those older games are purely from their time, and don’t hold up well today despite my nostalgic failings. Hopefully this game is a bit more challenging.

    Really, my first thought was that it’s an extension of the Metroid Prime games, in that it’s a first person game that does something successful other than actual shooting.

  4. turkish, I like the Metroid Prime comparison, especially because MP has shown that platforming can work in the first person!

    djSyndrome, I love the slight feeling of vertigo I get playing racing games in the first person, and Wipeout HD is so far the best at giving me the frisson that I crave.

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