I’ve always wanted to try doing parkour. Picking up speed as you clamber across different articles and surfaces to feel a ‘flow’ that seems to guide you as you go along. But eh, who’s gonna bother risking a broken rib or worse just to see if I can even come close to a feeling like that? So, just like other things that I want to do but can’t – I naturally have always wanted to play a proper parkour game. Assassin’s Creed is the middle-child of parkour, stealth, and action – thus ending up nailing none of those, so it was obvious that it wasn’t going to cut it. Dying Light was probably the closest I came to playing a parkour game before I finally laid hands-on “the” parkour game: Mirror’s Edge.
Gameplay – 6
Really liked the first-person parkour. The bits where you could continuously parkour off from one building to another, then wall-run over a billboard, then slide below some pipes to kick into a door were the highlight. They were what make this game ‘fun’. Unfortunately, the game tries it’s level best to hide its own positives and present you with trash content over and over and over. There was no place for gunplay in a game like this, but here it is. I wouldn’t mind it if it was optional – but it isn’t. There are places where there are 3-4 guards in an area and the only way to proceed is something like slowly climb a pipe, or wait for an elevator to come, or something along those lines. In these bits, it becomes necessary to grab a gun from one of the guards and shoot ’em down. And then Mirror’s Edge converts into some trashy FPS. The gunplay is just one of the segments that are ‘game slowers’. In a game that is about building momentum and jumping around, there’s a hell lot of speed-breakers.
Narrative – 4
The story isn’t too interesting either. I was definitely intrigued by the setting initially. A world where technology has evolved so much that the only way to be actually anonymous is grabbing a hoodie and jumping across buildings. Though, the dialogue was generic. The characters weren’t explored at all, and the plot was very flat. If you play this game for 2 hours and don’t like it, there’s no need to play further because you’ve already seen everything it has to offer.
Visuals – 9
I ought to hand it to DICE, the visuals are incredible. This does NOT look like a game made in 2008. Even if the textures aren’t realistic or it doesn’t look “graphically better” than even some games I’ve given 7s and 8s to, it uses a great aesthetic and knows what it’s doing. Red is used to show where you need to go. And even with the annoying ‘speed breakers’, that is the thing that makes for the most fun segments of the game, where you are running around without a clue and still knowing what to do.
Content – 5
There isn’t too much content in the game. It’s all linear, and there’s hardly any straying from the singular path. I would’ve appreciated multiple ways or branches of doing stuff, and I do think it’s a missed opportunity.
Mechanics – 7
On one hand, I loved the first-person parkour. This is something that can be very hard to get right, but I think this game does it better than anything I’ve personally played. On the other hand, I hate the inclusion of mundane activities like climbing pipes, turning valves for no reason, and especially the friggin’ gunplay. I did think the elevators were a good idea to catch a breath and have some storytelling done via the message boards, yet the rest was completely mundane and boring, as if an executive in the company felt that it wouldn’t sell unless people were given guns to shoot.
Challenge – 5
There isn’t a lot of challenge when it comes to the platforming and free-running, and I don’t mean they should’ve made it hard to do. Still, they definitely should’ve made it more rewarding by giving the player opportunities to continuously run around and not be forced to stop. The gunplay was so easy to do that there was no point in running around when the cops were around. I mean, why does Faith ever need to run? She’s a god with the guns.
Diversity – 6
I would’ve preferred some diversity in the parkour itself. While there was a lot of crawling, hanging, climbing pipes etc. – those things slowed down the game. Instead, they should’ve added more maneuvers like the wall run and made the player combo those to get through levels. That would’ve been way more satisfying. To be honest, just having more of the same good stuff would’ve been golden for me too.
Mapping – 6
I loved how the maps were designed visually, though, structurally, I think some places left a lot to be desired in terms of being intuitive about where to go. I know there was this button which pointed me towards where to go, but it only pointed towards one final destination and didn’t even work in some areas. Nevertheless, I shouldn’t need to use an option like that. The game should be designed in a way that I know the natural path. I remember one specific area where Merc says “go down” or something like that, with some metal- netted bridges. There was a little ladder to go down in a blind spot I kept missing as I looked for a way for at least 10-12 minutes.
Soundtrack – 6
The music was nice. The voice acting was fine. The sound design didn’t play much of a part in this kind of game much, yet I don’t remember having any complaints. Alas, there was nothing so particularly good that struck out to me and I’m going to remember long after finishing the game, as well.
Interface – 7
The key that was supposed to show me which direction to go towards ended up not working in the exact places I didn’t know where to go. I was never lost during the parkour itself due to the red highlights but during the mundane bits, and that is when I needed the particular key the most. An example is this picture below. The Ne was written in red so I thought I was supposed to go in this direction, but it was actually a staircase on the right which completely mixes in the background. This was just a minor inconvenience, but there were certain segments that could have you stuck for several minutes.
Pricing – 9
Pretty great for the price it goes if it’s a game that you enjoy.
Performance – 9
Had no performance issues with the game.
Replay Value – 3
Not much replay value, to be honest. Unless you really enjoy the ‘good bits’ that you’re ready to stomach through the dry bits.
Final Rating: 6.3
Overall, I think you should give this game a shot. Play for like 1-2 hours and if you don’t ‘feel’ it – just go ahead and return or ditch the game. The game doesn’t offer something completely fresh or something after the that amount of time, so if you don’t think it’s for you by that point, you’re gonna know very early on. The parkour alone is worth the try because those segments are really fun to play and satisfying to pull off. I’d say it’s a good game, but it’s astounding how it still holds up visually and even mechanically after all these years.