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nvision 08: Mirror's Edge - Hand's-On

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Despite not being noteworthy enough to feature in our list of most wanted game of 2008, for me Mirror's edge is one of the most anticipated titles being launched this year. Stumbling across a couple of PCs running a demo section of the game, then, was pretty exciting for me. Even discounting the large "no photography please signs" which prevented me from giving any impression of how the game looks on the PC. 'Great' is the answer to that question, by the way.

If you've seen the trailer (above) then you'll already be familiar with the game area I got to play in. Sadly the first time in I wasn't quite as skillful or slick with my manipulation of Faith - Mirror's Edge's main character - but after maybe 10 minutes I pretty much nailed the basic principles of moving around the game. Actually playing Mirror's Edge is much more satisfying than watching videos and despite not particularly being anything of a parkour fan or practitioner, picking up the in-game principles were surprisingly simple. Of course, that's helped by the highlighting in bright red any object that can be jumped from, run across or swung on to get to progress though a level. The puzzle solving aspect of the free-running gameplay makes Mirror's Edge quite similar to Portal in many ways. Apart from the fact you're a courier transporting information, rather than a "test participant" and that the cake in Mirror's Edge probably isn't a lie.

Weirdly Mirror's Edge features no HUD, unlike every other game I can think of, which takes a bit of getting used to. However, because of the nature of the game, it soon becomes clear that that really isn't needed anyway. When the game does need to tell you something, such as the fact you've fallen a long way and hurt yourself, or been shot, it does so with visual cues as a HUD would, but in what actually becomes a more immersive fashion. As unrealistic as it is, having the screen get progressively more red as Faith gets more damaged makes sense.

All told, the short time I had with Mirror's Edge gave me just enough of a taste of the game that I really can't wait to play the full thing. Roll on November.

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