The best thing about Mirror's Edge isn't the parkour, the sense of movement and momentum, or even the sharp, bleached-out world that you're moving through beneath a vast sky of Sega blue. It's the doors: the red doors, each one opened not with a polite survival-horror twist of a creaky handle, but with a squeeze of the right trigger and an almighty slam. Doors you aim for at full pelt, doors you pound through, punch through, the clatter of collision accompanying the blinding whiteness that greets you on the other side, before your eyes have time to adjust and before the game pulls you onwards.
Until five or six years ago, I had never heard of Parkour. My sister, a professional in the field of athletic strength and conditioning, first described it to me as something of a balletic aerobic sport with all the complexity and conditioning of a martial art -one used for clambering up the side of a building in seconds, or clearing two-story jumps without any messy bone breaking.
First things first, apologies if you were disappointed, having read our Eurogamer Expo preview on Monday, to discover that the MotorStorm: Pacific Rift vehicle outside the Expo entrance was a monster truck instead of a Humvee. We are also sorry that so many of you missed the chance to touch Bertie's moustache, which endures even now atop the sweater-clad granite torso and arms of news-typing sultriness.
As you'll know if you've read, well, pretty much anything at all about it, Mirror's Edge is an action-adventure game with a difference. Like so many other titles in the genre, it involves working out how to get from point A to point B and pulling off the right combination of moves to get there. But unlike most of them, it presents the action from a first-person perspective. For this reason it's most often referred to as an action-adventure with an FPS twist. But in fact, it's got more in common with racing games.
Where does DICE get its inspiration? Looking at the Battlefield series, you might guess the answer is dark and gritty war films, the latest developments in military technology, documentary footage of actual battles and the like. But the answer, of course, is ballet.
Mirror's Edge isn't your typical videogame dystopia, and that's exactly the point. There's no rust, no rubble, and no legions of storm troopers running through shattered streets. Instead there's gleaming cleanliness, a spotless high-rise environment of shining steel and glass without a leaf out of place. This is an altogether different vision of hell - a sanitised and well-kept prison where the population have traded their personal freedom for crime-free streets, limitless supplies of sexy gymwear and a shoot-to-kill anti-littering policy. It's a world, you suspect, where somebody has made the trains run on time: a dystopia, then, but a subtle, believable one. That sly kind of thinking is the first sign that Mirror's Edge might be something special.
Forget blue-skies-in-games, how about press-events-not-in-dungeons? The one we're in - some sort of trendy nightspot off Union Square in San Francisco - has comfy seats and plenty of Corona, but it's still a bit out of place, and particularly as it's host to Digital Illusions' new first-person action game, Mirror's Edge, whose gameplay is sprinkled delicately across a gleaming range of mountainous rooftops and endless glass under an azure sky.