A trait it shares with DICE's effort is how the game struggles to transition between the excellent free-running sections and the more taxing wall-jumping interludes. With level design that (at first glance) doesn't seem to marry with the control set, seemingly simple sections turn into a roaring war of attrition as you try to remain patient with the exacting demands of the learning curve.
Part of it can be down to you not observing situations properly, and an equal part is the game possibly not explaining itself fully. Simple elements become easy to overlook, such as the way Faith will helpfully clamber up a portion of the wall surface when wall-jumping. If anything, past experience and intuition often gets you into trouble, making you do things that actively work against what you're trying to achieve, like jumping prematurely out of a wall jump straight into a jet of steam. Once you extract yourself out of your own self-imposed rut and start paying attention to what works, you're less inclined to be the bad workman blaming his tools and start enjoying it once more.
There is a suspicion, though, that the combat mechanics could have been rather more developed than they were. Unlike the original, firearms have been completely disregarded, with Faith able to perform swift disarm manoeuvres as she runs past enemies, yet bizarrely reluctant to use them on the army of aggressors shooting at her. Because Faith is only able to slide into them or perform a running karate kick, it feels like the designers simply dodged the combat issue in a manner befitting of a free-running game.
Although this heavy focus on breathtaking free-running undoubtedly makes for an exciting focus, the downside is that you end up with a ludicrous end sequence where apparently the only way to defeat enemies is to karate kick them three times.
Once you've barrelled through all 14 levels, the temptation to speedrun them again with all your acquired experience remains fairly high, and the presence of online leaderboards and downloadable ghosts adds to the replayability immensely. Better still, being able to play two-player multiplayer on the same machine (taking half the screen each at either end of the iPad) and race each other across any of the unlocked levels is a truly excellent addition. Rivals mode, meanwhile, adds three beautifully abstract environments where players compete to collect the most bags within a time limit.
Although its current price tag feels weighty next to what we're used to paying in the App Store, it's worth getting a bit of perspective to quell the notion that £7.49 is somehow overpriced for a game like this. Firstly, at roughly one sixth of the price of a new console game, this is excellent value, and secondly, stood next to some of the other download titles on WiiWare, Xbox Live or PSN, EA is offering a game head and shoulders above the quality threshold offered at a comparative price.
In offering a slick touch-based reinvention of what platformers can offer, Mirror's Edge succeeds brilliantly. While by no means perfect, and a little undernourished in places, it's a game that points to a bright future for the device.
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