Mirror's Edge, is a first person platform for the PS3. It follows into the footsteps of games like Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider, except its all from the first person perspective this time. In many aspects the game is quite a bit like Breakdown, which had first person platforming as well, but with Mirror's Edge there is a much stronger focus on running and momentum and much less focus on fighting.
When it comes to the basic gameplay, Mirror's Edge succeeds on most accounts. The running and jumping feels right, the unusual controls (L1/L2 = Jump/Duck) work great and the lack of overview due to the first person perspective is never really an issue, since you always have red objects marking your way. You still die quite frequently in the game, but that comes simply due to the nature of the genre, which is focus as in other games of the same genre on figuring out the best path through a situation instead of just allowing anything.
The shooting in the game, while just a small part, however is problematic. For one it is simply to easy, an unarmed girl in a tanktop, should have a harder time against a heavy armored soldier with a machine gun. Another thing is the death of enemies, in a game that tries to get away from guns and in large part manages to, you would image that knocking out characters would have diffierent reaction then shooting them or that shooting them in the head would have a different reaction then shooting them in the leg or that there would be consequences or whatever, but it doesn't, its all the same and it doesn't matter what you do. The level design also pretty much forces you to use guns in a few situations, which again undermines the whole philosophy of the game a bit. The trigger happyness of the enemies is also a little annoying, as everybody starts to shoot instantly, no questions asked.
The graphics in the game itself are among the best I have seen this generation, the choice of color in the city is a great change from the dark brown and gray in other FPS and the sunlight looks beautiful as well. Together with the great soundtrack the game manages to create a phantastic atmosphere.
Where the game however utterly fails is cutscenes. Instead of using the 3D engine as most other games, the game falls back to what is best described as Flash animation, not only doesn't it mix well with the 3D, it also looks pretty damn ugly. Especially when in motion the proportions get all wrong, the heads wobble weirdly and all kinds of other distracting errors come into the mix. It just looks cheap, the Zelda CD-I kind of cheap. Graphics aside, the cutscenes also have a hard time connecting the levels together, there is just to much disconnect, both in space and time, between what you play and what you see in the cutscenes, which makes it easy to lose track of the story. This is one of the cases where I would have prefered a more linear naration as in Half Life 2.
The story itself also leaves quite a bit to be desired, there just isn't enough backstory to care much about any of the characters and there are also just not enough characters around to make things interesting. The story also is another case of sequelitis, bringing no real conclusion.
Overall however the game is great, the atmosphere, the movement and the almost gun-less gameplay are a great change from all other FPS games out there and it is simply a lot of fun to play. The story itself isn't all that bad either when compared to other games, but it certainly fails to give the game a deeper meaning. In a game like this I would like to know more about the background, the political situation and care about the characters, but the story never really accomplishes that.