In the world of cinema, there is a certain sub-genre of films that weren’t considered successful when they were initially released, but managed to retain their audiences over the next few decades of their lives. These movies are called cult classics, and while they might not have the biggest fanbases, they certainly have some of the loudest. The video game world shares this subgenre, with the 2008 game mirror edge widely considered a cult classic.
A first-person game focused on parkour, mirror edge received pretty mixed reviews when it launched, with some outlets considering it a brave new step in the FPS genre, while others saw it as a short, half-baked collection of decent ideas. Over the years, however, mirror edge collected all of the following, with fans still actively engaged in the game today. Wonderfully unique combat mechanics, bold art direction, and innovative controls are just a few of the reasons why mirror edge worth playing in 2022.
An eternal artistic style
Although 2008 might not seem that far off to many, games in the decade that followed continued to innovate and improve graphical fidelity, making many games from the late 2000s look much older than they actually are. The games most affected by this are those that aimed to feature realistic graphics, which means great games like Grand Theft Auto 4 and Fallout 3 are now a bit difficult to revisit due to outdated visuals.
mirror edge, on the other hand, manages to look quite phenomenal, thanks to some very stylized art direction. While the character models of mirror edge have a more realistic appearance, mirror edgeEnvironments use a minimalist approach, with only a few colors used to paint the environment.
During a game, players will notice that walls and other textures will often take on quite minimalistic appearances, with simple, clean lines. Objects important to the player are highlighted in a bright red color, making the path forward very clear at all times, while maintaining the game’s minimalist art design.
This clear and bold artistic direction makes mirror edge a joy to play today, as despite its age the game still manages to look crisp and interesting, with the minimalist style meaning there’s no real detail that could be lost when using monitors or newer televisions. This stylistic art direction also carries over to the game’s cutscenes, which are told through a series of moving comic panels. These two different styles of art direction don’t mix perfectly, but they help keep the game from being stale.
Unique and minimalist combat
mirror edge also has a pretty unique approach to combat. With most of the game purely focused on first-person parkour platforming and light puzzles, mirror edgeFights are rare. But when these encounters happen, players are very limited in what they can do.
To defeat an opponent, players can really only hit or counter. The mechanics themselves aren’t very satisfying, especially when other first-person melee games have since done it better, but the limitations placed on the player are where the real satisfaction lies.
With only two buttons used in a fight, players are strongly encouraged to use their surroundings to their advantage and avoid frontal combat whenever possible. Likewise, although an opponent’s weapon can be taken away from them during a counter, that weapon has extremely limited ammo, encouraging the player to be strategic in how they use it.
Over time, this emphasizes the idea that the player-character, Faith, is just human, and despite all her acrobatic abilities, she’s still extremely vulnerable. This makes every combat encounter incredibly tense and exciting, as the player is forced to use their limited set of tools to gain the upper hand and overcome obstacles.
Intuitive and responsive Parkour controls
Making a responsive parkour game isn’t easy. Making a responsive first-person parkour game seems even harder. Somehow, mirror edge manages to make its parkour mechanics intuitive, responsive, and all without giving the player too much motion sickness.
In keeping with the rest of the game’s core elements, the mechanics of parkour in mirror edge are also quite minimalistic, with just one button to do all the heavy lifting. With a simple press of L1/LB, players will jump, swing, and run through walls. Having a single button to control most of the game’s actions makes it very intuitive and easy to learn.
However, as should be the case with all great games, learning the ropes is easy and mastering the mechanics is a whole different challenge. To compete in mirror edgeIn ‘s Time Trial mode, players will have to learn all the ins and outs of the game’s more complex mechanics. campaign, players will need to spend some time perfecting their jump timing and making sure every one of their landings is pixel-perfect if they want to land anywhere near the top of the leaderboards.
Although he may not have been recognized at the time, mirror edge is generally considered an extremely innovative game for its time, influencing modern titles like dying light and its recently released sequel. Although the series may never have reached the heights it could have, as mirror edge sequel that missed the mark in a number of ways has hurt its reputation, at least the legacy of the original game lives on in other modern franchises.
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