Playing With My Weiner

Gaming at the mercy of miniature daschunds.

Review: Mirror’s Edge November 17, 2008

Filed under: 3 weiners,Games,Reviews — Gwyddia @ 10:31 pm
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This one is a little late, partly because of Amazon and partly because of Blizzard.  I take no responsibility for my own actions here…

 

Art:

A friend of mine suggested that Mirror’s Edge was inspired by Hong Kong, but I think its Singapore  The smooth, clean lines, spotless buildings, and dirt-free streets all call to mind the land in the Far East where chewing gum is a crime.  I think my friend was thinking of Hong Kong action movies, where high-flying martial artists take to the roofs to avoid the mob or a totalitarian police regime.  Hmm, maybe we’re both on to something there.

 

Gameplay:

That movement, or parkour, is what Mirror’s Edge is really all about.  The story, about couriers sticking it to the Man, is flat an generic.  The combat, when you can’t avoid it, it tricky and annoying.  It is as if you’re being stopped from doing the thing you really want to do – run.  A a result, the star of Mirror’s Edge is movement itself.  When you can perfectly execute a stage through running, jumping, diving, and sliding, you have it made, and you understand why this game feels so good.  

 

You’d think a game that is all about real motion would cause motion sickness while watching it.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  It is as if the absence of a bouncing gun focus allows you to see through your character’s eyes, not her weapon, and rally creates the illusion of speed and force.  That being said, it gets awfully annoying to watch your hands flail around like a bad Looney Tunes knockoff after the sixth of seventh time you miss a jump.  Don’t miss time trial mode, though.  There is something infinitely satisfying about shaving seconds off your best run-through a tough level, or finding a new route through you missed the first few times around. 

 

Overall:

It is a rare game in which the time trials are the best part and you still enjoy and recommend it to others.  And yet that’s just the case here.  Mirror’s Edge’s story is short, maybe 7-8 hours, and it has limited replayability.  It is a thing best rented, rather than bought.  That all being said, Mirror’s Edge really is something new and something fun, and isn’t that what games are about?

 

For being an fun and original game worth playing, while also being too short and sometimes deeply frustrating, Mirror’s Edge gets 3 Weiners out of 5.

Line ween

Line ween

Line ween

 

Preview: Hands On With Mirror’s Edge November 7, 2008

Filed under: Games,Previews,PS3,XBox 360 — Gwyddia @ 7:58 pm
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mirror-s-edge-first-gameplay-footage-1With only a week remaining until its North American release on the XBox 360 and PS3, it is time to delve into Mirror’s Edge.  We’ve been playing the demo here at the Weiner and we’ve got some pretty interesting stuff to report.

 

Mirror’s Edge is a new twist on an old genre – it is a first person parkour game.  As per Wikipedia:

Parkour (sometimes abbreviated to PK) or l’art du déplacement (Englishthe art of movement) is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body.  It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment—from branches and rocks to rails and concrete walls—and can be practiced in both rural and urban areas. Parkour practitioners are referred to as traceurs, or traceuses for females.

Founded by David Belle in France, parkour focuses on practicing efficient movements to develop one’s body and mind to be able to overcome obstacles in an emergency.

 

I may not kick your ass, but I'll run like Hell.

I may not kick your ass, but I can run like hell.

The protagonist is a courier named Faith who takes to to the rooftops to deliver important packages in a world where information on the ground is locked up tight. Faith’s world is detailed in shining white with spare primary colors, notably red, indicating your path.  That isn’t to say that the game is linear, but instead the bright accents give you a sense of direction when your body is hurling through space.

 

There is some fighting in Mirror’s Edge, but the action centers on Faith’s movement through the levels.  Weapons are generally used to get out of a jam and then tossed, because combat will slow you down too much.

 

The demo feels solid.  The jump buttons are on the shoulders, which gives your motion a more organic feel as you maneuver through the sky. They offer a couple different configurations, but the default has (Jump/Duck-Slide) mapped to the LB/LT and (Punch/Kick) to RB/RT. (Although RB will also do quick turns.)  It takes a moment or two of getting used to, and then it really feels smooth.

 

There is a definite sense of urgency to the missions, which makes it feel even better when you hit your jumps and turns and swings just right.  In that way it feels like a well-designed platformer, and the pleasure you derive from play is oddly similar to what you might feel when flawlessly completing a level in a Mario game.

 

 

Falling to your death never looked this good.

Falling to your death never looked this good.

The checkpoint system is reasonable, which is good.  You’re going to plummet to your death 20 or 30 times while getting the hang of this thing.  The time trials are not nearly as forgiving – the demo’s “qualifying time” of 2:00 will take more than a few tries.

 

All in all, Mirror’s Edge looks like it has come together well, and shaped up quite a bit from when we saw it at PAX.  Check out the launch trailer here and enjoy the game when it comes out next week.

 

The Future September 6, 2008

First, I just placed my Amazon pre-orders for Fable II, Little Big Planet, Mirror’s Edge, Rock Band 2, And Sid Meier’s Colonization, so look for previews and reviews of all of these games and more in the weeks to come.

 

Second, after about a day of downloading and patching, I am finally ready to play the Wrath of the Lich King Beta. Look for weekly in-depth updates as I take a toon from level 70 to as far as it will go before release.

 

Finally, it has come to my attention that this site needs more weiner. Look for pics of the titular weens this weekend.