Mirror's Edge – The Next Half-Life 2?
What Half-Life 2 did for videogames cannot be overstated. It was an important moment in the evolution of the medium in terms of how stories are told, how narrative is paced and ultimately how action is supplemented by emotion. Valve’s achievement was obviously well recognised and it is even greater testament to that achievement that when the Orange Box came to the Xbox 360 the game had hardly dated at all. Physics, action, story, characters, weapons; you name it and Half-Life 2 seemed to hit it out of the park.
But this combination of factors alone cannot recreate the overwhelming sense of discovery the game enjoyed. It was new and fresh. It owed a great deal to the games that came before it, but it set a new standard for all that would follow. Having seen this most recent Mirror’s Edge trailer I can’t help but think that DICE’s first-person freerunning game could do something similar.
The idea of a Parkour game of running and jumping that relies mainly on melee combat was almost impossible to imagine and even now remains a struggle, but here it is nonetheless. It could well end up offering the kind of eye-opening gameplay experience that set Half-Life 2 apart from the crowd four years ago. A game that redefines the possibilities of a genre and the medium generally. A game that makes what was once impossible a reality and opens our minds to a totally new way of looking at game worlds. That seems to me to be the potential of Mirror’s Edge.