Like most action-adventures leads, Faith can also climb poles, shimmy along ledges, run along walls and leap over huge gaps - but she's no superhero. "She's a completely normal person in an extraordinary situation. The point is she's only limited by your skill," says Channon. "You can't power her up in any way; you can't give her a boost pack, or armour to make her less vulnerable or anything like that."
You can, however, arm her with a weapon - at least temporarily. Channon explains how Faith can slide into enemies' shins to knock them off balance (L2), then follow-up with a punch (R2) and disarm them (triangle). On my first try I mess up the angle of the slide, then panic and hammer the R2 button too much. The man is battered to the ground before I've had a chance to grab his gun, but never mind. Proves the melee combat works and besides, it was highly satisfying.
More skilled players who are able to disarm enemies without getting over-excited will find guns come in very handy. They're only useful for as long as the bullets left in them last, however; you won't see any casually discarded full boxes of ammo lying around. The other problem is guns restrict your movement. The extra weight prevents Faith from being able to pull off the more spectacular leaps, for example. So you're unlikely to hang on to any particular weapon for very long.
This is designed to ensure Mirror's Edge feels like a first-person action-adventure game, and prevent it from feeling like a first-person shooter with lots of jumping. Combat, Channon explains, is about the environment and your movements within it more than anything. "Yes, you can disarm people in the world to get a weapon. But you only have it temporarily, so it's about your skill. The idea is to try to isolate the enemy." As is often pointed out, Mirror's Edge can apparently be completed without ever firing a gun.
And while the combat system works well, it's clear that exploration is where Mirror's Edge really stands out. The first-person perspective does make it feel more like it's you who is zooming down that zip line or hanging off that ledge, rather than a member of the aristocracy with unfeasibly large bangers or a prince in ridiculous trousers. True, the controls, camera and wider field of vision take a little getting used to, but that's part of the fun - working out how to move around Faith's world and realising all the things you can do. It's seems likely that over time, you'll be able to make her move even more fluidly and at greater speeds.
Here's hoping we get to spend longer with Mirror's Edge soon and find out.
Mirror's Edge is due out on PS3, 360 and PC "this winter".