A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this action game can be played without firing a weapon at all. But if you want to, Faith, the heroine, can aim and fire a gun, killing enemies who are after her, including the oppressive police force of this futuristic city. Blood can be seen when shooting targets and they fall to the ground in a lifelike fashion, but there is no gore or excessive violence. Faith can also punch, kick, and slide into enemies to cause them to trip, or disarm them to get their weapon. What makes this game interesting is the camera perspective -- you play as the strong female character and view the world by looking over her shoulder as she wall-jumps, slides under barriers, leaps across chasms to land on ledges, and performs other heart-stopping feats. Players who suffer from acrophobia (fear of heights) or vertigo may have trouble playing this action adventure.
What's it about?
An action game played from a first-person perspective is usually considered a "shooter," those popular run-and-gun video games, such as the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare or Halo titles, where the protagonist roams through the world toting all types of weapons. Now, Sweden's EA DICE studio is offering this first-person perspective in an action game with MIRROR'S EDGE. In Mirror's Edge you play as Faith, a "runner," or information courier, in a world where all communication is tightly monitored by the state. Your job is to act as a messenger between those who oppose the state's control over people's lives. By traversing rooftops and alleyways and navigating through underground waterways, you'll perform your tasks while remaining undetected by the "Blues," or police, as well as cameras and other monitoring equipment. After the tutorial and prologue, you also learn about Faith's twin sister, Kate, who was framed for a murder she didn't commit.
Played entirely from a dizzying first-person perspective, players control the agile Faith as she navigates through the city by running across ledges, climbing ladders, jumping from roof to roof, shimmying across ledges, and sliding down ziplines. Gamers might liken it to a Prince of Persia experience, but from a different view of the action.
Is it any good?
Mirror's Edge is an exciting, immersive -– and for the most part, non-violent –- video game. What's fun is that while you'll have many missions to complete, how you go about it might vary from player to player. For example, in one memorable scene early on in the game, you're being chased by police in a building, with bullets whizzing past your ears. You can choose to frantically climb the staircase and find a hiding spot behind some boxes, climb up onto a shelf and find an opening to an air vent to crawl through, or kick open a door to the roof, hop over an electric fence and run like mad. While you're encouraged not to use weapons in the game (in fact, you can unlock a special Xbox 360 Achievement or PlayStation 3 Trophy for not firing them) it is possible to pick up and fire a gun, if you like. Otherwise, our heroine will punch or kick to confront baddies and disarm them.
Another fascinating aspect of this game is that along with the main campaign, there is a special Race mode. While playing in Race mode, you're dropped back into the city and can compete against other Mirror's Edge players to see who has the best time; every move throughout the obstacle courses is recorded and your time trials appear as red silhouettes of your character for others to beat. There are a few minor issues, such as some moves are hard to pull off (such as hopping between two walls) and the first-person view can make it tough to know when to jump from one building to another, but overall, Mirror's Edge is a fantastic first-person adventure worth every dime. But be forewarned: those who feel nausea from watching first-person films like Cloverfield or anyone who suffers from acrophobia (fear of heights) or vertigo might want to forego this dizzying adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the concept behind this interesting game, about a society that slowly became increasingly controlled by the government. Why is it that we periodically see Orwellian-like worlds similar to this one appear in literature, movies, and games? Do you think new technology developments such as survellience cameras, GPS phones, passports with computer chips, and satellite imagery make people wonder about the possibility of government abuse?
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