Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mirrors Edge And New Monitor

Two things happened this week. Firstly I got a new monitor and secondly I played through Mirrors Edge on it.

Firstly this is my old setup:

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This is a 16" 4:3 CRT monitor I got more than ten years ago and has served me very well over the years. The reason why I haven't replaced it in so long was because I didn't have any desire to. But the fact that Bluray films didn't look any better or worse on it than DVD or for that matter on my 24" Samsung LCD TV made me want a screen where I could see that extra resolution. Plus the idea of widescreen FPS gameplay was an appealing one. So I bought this:

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It is a blue Acer G24, the G24 standing for 24" gaming monitor. 16:10 ratio and very importantly a 2ms gray to gray response time so there is no ghosting on the screen. It has a native resolution of 1920x1800, that's higher than 1080p, well it would be 1800p. This means Bluray films look amazing at their full resolution, but unfortunately DVDs because they don't have as much resolution to them, don't. Games of course look fantastic on and that brings me to Mirrors Edge.

Maybe it was because of my new screen, but I loved this game from start to end. I have read a few opinions and I disagree with almost all of them. And mainly in the area of what kind of game Mirrors Edge is. To me it is clearly an FPS Platformer with shooting elements. Shooting elements that should have been left out, but I can imagine someone seeing seance at EA during development and saying that if there are guns in the game the player should be able to shoot them. Personally I would have left them out all together and replaced them with tasers. Pacing on the game is great, but I would have liked to have played few more basic courier missions to start with to get the player into the flow of the action before the main story kicks off, but then that is me saying that after playing the finished game. It is very difficult as a designer to make such decisions at the start of a project.

The story of Mirrors Edge should have been fleshed out more, although with my interest in writers I was surprised to find that it was written by Rhianna Pratchet, the daughter of Terry Pratchet. I am not familiar with her work, but the story in Mirrors Edge leaves a lot to be desired. The game in general feels very short so my thoughts on this are that if the game was longer, the story would have been better.

Having said all that, Mirrors Edge is by far my most favourite game from last year simply because it offered me a new and original play experience, and maybe my new monitor had something to do with that too.