E3 2013 had a wonderful moment for me, yes despite the console war getting ever stronger the one little thing that got me the most excited was the announcement I had longed to see for five years… Mirror’s Edge would finally get a sequel. Now remember how the first Assassin’s Creed felt like it needed a sequel? Its basics were there, but it needed more meat on the bone to really make it flourish We did get that two years later with the excellent Assassin’s Creed II, treated to better characters, plenty of varied missions and even a bigger world to play in. Mirror’s Edge needs the same treatment for it’s sequel.
At it’s core Mirror’s Edge is rather excellent – Parkour in the first person was impressive and surprisingly easy to get used to, the strongest parts of the game were when the game took me outside on the roof tops, even better when a chase sequence was involved, the sheer joy of movement with the strong visual feedback of seeing Faith’s (the main character) legs and arms perform a role when landing was one of the most immersive experience of last generation. Though, the combat was clunky and half hearted, the characters and story were uninteresting and some indoor sections were dull.
From what we know so far about Mirror’s Edge‘s sequel is that it will be open world which is incredibly exciting, the one thing I wanted most out of the original was more freedom. It was ironic a game based on a form of movement about being free and expressing oneself was restricted to a linear game, while there was different ways you could get round an obstacle you were still going in the same direction. Though what kind of open world? The next game is a prequel set in the same city as the original which we all know is large utopian looking with massive sky scrapers, what if the open world is all set on the roof tops? In the original being on ground level was extremely dangerous and Faith and her partner/mentor Merc longed for a return to the roof tops away from the surveillance and the police, even having a base on a roof. There is a poorer more poverty stricken area which was never shown in the original so maybe that could be served as a ground level play ground. I’m not sure what kind of open world I’d want it to be, as in will the city be large and free to explore seamlessly like an Assassin’s Creed or a series of fairly large hub worlds separate from each other but highly detailed like Arkham City. The idea the developer could create a full city scape with every possible path designed for players to run, vault and jump in any directions seems incredibly challenging, sure Assassin’s Creed does it but from the third person and with a more one button and aim approach where as the original Mirror’s Edge has the player using plenty of combination to pull off movements and one can assume it’s sequel will do the same. With the upcoming zombie survival game Dying Light doing open world first person parkour it is certainly possible.
What will we do in this open world? Faith is a runner, which meant she would traverse through the urban environments to deliver packages of information, with everything being surveyed, privacy is near impossible through modern tools. The original do much with this and the moral dilemmas that could come with it. What if Faith is giving information on underground crimes like planned murders or drug trafficking? It’s likely this won’t be the centre of the sequel, but likely to be side content if the game decides to go that route.
Combat is where the original failed, while being presented as optional there was some moments where hand to hand combat was the best route to go and even then picking up a gun was probably the best way to deal with enemies. It was all clunky, running up to a guy and either mashing the attack button or hitting the counter button at the perfect moment in order to put him down quickly and take his weapon. Holding the weapons in this game was off putting, I didn’t want to kill people but ended up having too due to cheap AI. Melee combat is in the sequel and I assume so will gunplay, they therefore need to be viable gameplay options. Stealth capabilities seem like an obvious choice in a game like Mirror’s Edge. How about situations like Dishonored or Deus Ex where there can be multiple entrance points into a building. Being able to sneak up on an enemy affectively or sneak past them work wonders for the sequel.
Of course, the story needs to be stronger, with the prequel setting this is intriguing, maybe it’ll follow Faith when she starts out as a runner as the trailer shows her getting her trademark tattoos. The first lacked any strong characters, so here it would be good to see more runners like Faith and maybe see her climb up through the ranks and get a reputation, of course the main plot will probably involve something more than delivering packages on the roof tops.
Mirror’s Edge 2 has great potential because it has a lot to improve and work on, I have high hopes for the game despite not seeing any real gameplay demo as of yet. With it’s release not yet know I partly worry it will take some time. But who knows maybe this time next year were running on the edge of roof tops again. Hopefully it’ll be the experience we have all been wanting for five years.