developed by EA DICE
Cast as a messenger to the rebels of a surveillance state, our task is to run through the sheen of the city, ‘on the edge between the gloss and the reality’. Colour acts as a symbolic in-game indicator: we are invited to traverse, run across, or slide under any object that glows red. These are handy tip-offs, but they also hint that deeper secrets are encoded into the fibres of this sprawling city. All we need to do is follow the scattering of scarlet surfaces, storming across sunlit rooftops as if completing a colossal dot-to-dot puzzle.
Despite the hyper-bright aesthetics, there is an uncanny realism to our first-person experience. When we travel between two buildings by zipwire, our character’s body contracts, her knees buckling as we try to keep her centred. As she scales a ledge, she clings on with stained fingertips as her legs dangle perilously below. The movements of her hands during combat sequences signals both our deftness and our proximity to a lethal blow, a single moment of bad luck threatening to fracture the mirror for good.
Words by Elizabeth Brown
In a totalitarian society where phone calls and emails are tracked, Faith is a courier who delivers confidential communiqués. The player spends the entirety of Mirror’s Edge in her shoes, using her impressive parkour skills to traverse its urban utopia. Barely a second passes without the need to skid down a slanted surface, clamber up a drainpipe, or scale a fence. The action is seen from Faith’s perspective, a choice that aids the sense of flowing movement and forward momentum. Each time she kicks in a glass panel or rams down a door, her limbs swing into view. With every roll, the camera angle spins along with her.
But the real star here is the cityscape itself. Buildings are glassy and spotless. The architecture is clean-cornered and clinical. In the opening moments, a handful of credits move slowly across the screen, encouraging us to trace a skyscraper’s perimeter, the sweep of a street, and the profusion of parallel and perpendicular lines. As players sprint and jump across rooftops, they become familiar with repeating patterns within the city’s construction. Under the glinting sun, the scaffolding and air vents seem fairly free of grime. Yet this pretence to purity, it soon becomes clear, is a futile attempt to hide the dirt beneath.
Words by John Wadsworth