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Jackknife is the second and longest level of Mirror's Edge, and is a chapter that Lorna Reid spoke fondly of last year. The following video isn't the best way to revisit its twists and turns—but it is a world record-breaking speedrun that was two years in the making, covering the entire game in just 22 minutes and 40 seconds.
Beating the previous record by almost six minutes, the following is 'segmented' wherein 11 players contributed specific sections of the run. A description below the video states it has "been a project of the Mirror's Edge community for the last two years", and that "while the possibilities in Mirror's Edge are almost endless, this is as close as we have ever (and potentially, will ever) come to presenting a run which truly bleeds the game dry."
Onto the run itself:
The video description continues, suggesting the above is the result of nine years worth of practice without mods, hacks or external aids. "Everything that you see in this run is done by exploiting in-game mechanics," it continues, "and can be performed by anyone with a copy of Mirror's Edge [on] PC."
Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off for a lie down.
There s something about trying to wrestle a monitor from your desk with the express intention of hurling it out of a window, only to find said window has long been painted shut, that really makes you stop and think: what am I doing? Mirror s Edge inspires many such moments. Moments of pure rage. But in among them, there s something else. Something special that keeps you from drowning this game in acid.
In a game of (often literal) highs and lows, Jacknife, Mirror s Edge s second chapter and its longest, remains a flawed gem for me. It has made me angrier than any level bar the last, but when I sit back and regard the game in its entirety, it s always Jacknife that I come back to as the standout.
While a good slice of the action of this game takes place on rooftops, Jacknife offers a blistering run through some truly memorable alternate locations. From the streets and the depths of the storm drains back up to the heights again, diversity is shovelled at you like coal into a fire.
I think that s what appeals to me the most. As beautiful as the rooftops are, some breathing room is always a good thing. And what better way to contrast the sharp, primary look of the roofs and pristine offices than going down to the streets and underworld. Alleyways and cement trenches lead to grimy maintenance rooms, there s a brief taste of the clean outside world, then you plunge into the maw of the storm drains.
The chore of getting down there while a helicopter vomits bullets at you is infuriating when you re exploring and pathfinding for the first time. If you re masochistic enough to be speed-running the level it s ten times worse. And that helicopter seriously? Can those guys spell waste of public resources ?
At first I was appalled at where I found myself. What the hell am I supposed to do here? Where are the rooftops? Where are the brilliant dashes of colour against the sea of white? What have they done? I despised it. I hated struggling to navigate the perilous gantries of the imposing underground chamber, with its glistening columns stretching to infinity, let alone avoiding the searching beams of the snipers on the upper levels.
Struggling and feeling lost here feeds your resentment. But then, slowly, as muscle memory developed and my pathfinding improved (often thanks to some useful YouTube speed-run videos) I started to appreciate the location. Despite it being such a dank, lonely place, in which you re made to feel so small, I began to enjoy the little touches. The lighting, the water, the scuffling and squeaking of my shoes as I wall-ran and short-cutted, and occasionally managed to double jump beams.
Gliding down a slope in a sheet of water cast in a Halloweeny green was one moment that became a favourite. Right up until I realised I d have to scramble back out of another drain, amid platforms and pipes. And then, bliss, I was back up to the rooftops with their jumble of air-con units and architectural bric-a-brac.
It isn t just the paying out of such contrasting places that stands out. It s the pace. Had I the chance to indulge my usual gaming habits and lollygag, meander, and generally faff about, the level may well have lost some of its charm. But taken as it is, at near breakneck pace, it transcends the string of locations to become a fluid, urgent tour, doused in panic.
The level practically drags you along before suddenly thrusting you into the role of pursuer as you set off across the rooftops after the titular Jacknife. This switch from hunted to hunter is masterful and exhilarating, used again later in the boat chapter, but to lesser effect.
The more I examined this chapter, and the more I allowed myself to become immersed (largely through self-imposed repetition) the more the negativity fell away, leaving only a deep appreciation and respect for the level design. A design that undulates beautifully through changing locales, playing with pace and testing your abilities at every turn.
Like the game itself, Jacknife isn t for everyone, and it will stretch your patience to breaking point, especially with the numerous glitches. But love it or loathe it, it remains the most memorable chapter in a flawed but brilliant and original game.
Mirror's Edge Catalyst was good, but not quite as good as we all hoped it would be: As close to a definitive version of a Mirror's Edge game as we're likely to get, Samuel wrote in his review, despite retaining some of the first game's issues. If you don't happen to be familiar with those issues, you might want to point yourself at GOG, which now has Mirror's Edge and two other not-exactly-recent EA releases, all of them currently on sale.
That means the original Mirror's Edge for $10, the Spore Collection for $12, and The Saboteur for $10. Mirror's Edge is probably the marquee game in the list, but Spore is the real deal: The regular price of Mirror's Edge and The Saboteur is the same on GOG as it is on Origin, but GOG's Spore Collection normally lists for $30, while the combined cost of the Spore titles on Origin (which doesn't offer them in a bundle) is a whopping $70. GOG's listing may be a sign that EA's prices are about to change, but unless and until that happens, if you want to buy Spore, you'll probably want to do it on GOG.
The only downside, at least when compared to classic GOG releases, is that the bundled extras are very spare. Mirror's Edge includes two wallpapers and two avatars, while Spore and Saboteur have nothing. (The manuals are listed as included goodies but I tend to view them as something that's included because they're part of the game. Call me old-fashioned, I guess.) Still, sale prices and DRM-free are nothing to sneeze at. All three games are available now, and will remain on sale until September 29.
Mirror's Edge Catalyst will be bouncing onto PCs and consoles early next month, after which Faith's next stop seems to be her own TV show. A Deadline report says Endemol Shine Studios, the scripted division of Endemol Shine North America, home of such fine fare as Big Brother, The Biggest Loser, and MasterChef Junior, has acquired the rights to adapt the property into a female-centered action series.
We clearly see Mirror s Edge as a franchise for the global TV audience, Endemol Shine Studios President Sharon Hall said. It has a strong female protagonist, a wildly rabid fan base and a worldwide brand that Electronic Arts and EA DICE have done an amazing job establishing.
Statements from involved parties in the early stages of creative projects generally veer towards the hyperbolic, but even bearing that in mind I'm not sure that describing Mirror's Edge fans as wildly rabid is really the sweetspot in terms of PR mots justes. The game was more of a cult classic than a smash hit, and while there are plenty of people dearly hoping that Mirror's Edge Catalyst will be a satisfying sequel, it's not like we're talking about the Call of Duty crowd here.
Nonetheless, at least the reception isn't like to be worse than the one the Warcraft movie is receiving, right? Right?
There must be a special modder gene that compels them to rebuild famous gaming locations using tools that were never designed for the task. Modder SuX Lolz is clearly too hard on himself, because he's done a spectacular job of shoehorning an interpretation of Mirror's Edge's prologue into a Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Deathrun map. Here's the original for comparison.
Some of the grime and fine detail is absent, sure, but the palette and stark lines of the city is dead on. The preview went live in late February, and I'm struggling to grasp how such a massive project has only just surfaced, but here in is now—soak it in. Maybe file a bookmark too, because it's not quite done: Lolz plans to add a number of secrets to the map and is contemplating bringing it to Black Ops 3 should modding tools ever surface.
I completed Mirror s Edge four times, so I know the first person parkour- em-up stupidly well. To me, Catalyst feels almost exactly like the Mirror s Edge of 2008 in all the right ways. The platforming feels identical minus a couple of button press changes that only super hardcore players will notice, and my same muscle memory and sense of timing served me well during my hands-on at E3. For those worried that Catalyst might lose the very specific essence of the original, this doesn t feel like a reboot—it feels like a true sequel.
My demo took place in a tiny snippet of what is apparently a seamless open world in Catalyst, a series of rooftops with three tasks to perform: a time attack run (Race), a chain of combat encounters (Delivery) and a challenge to climb to a high point in the world and hack a propaganda billboard (er, Billboard Hack). My main reaction to the demo was delight at how it felt to finally have more Mirror s Edge in my hands, after seven years of championing the game to any poor bastard that will listen. There s been six Call of Duty games since the first one came out—that Catalyst exists in a landscape of absurdly expensive triple-A games is a bit uplifting to me. Even better, what made the original Mirror s Edge so special is seemingly still intact here.
What this 13-minute demo didn t do was outline how open world play will work, since this area of shiny rooftops was boxed off and honestly felt like it could be a level from the first Mirror s Edge. This setting will start small then open up, but how big does it really go? The map screen in the menu suggests a huge open city, but the demo doesn t answer the question of how that ll feel to the player to travel from one place to another.
Greater changes come in the form of the combat, which was divisive the first time around, but has been overhauled so it s noticeably easier. While it seemed a little too simple to me on first inspection, it might suit players who found the original s fighting too challenging or fiddly. Attacks are now mapped to the x button on an Xbox controller, rather than the trigger (this is now just the barge button for opening doors), and as long as you hit the button in close proximity to an enemy, Faith will quickly take them out, sometimes with a pleasing third-person finishing animation.
The demo didn t really have enough combat to make a call on it either way. Combat presented no immediate threat, and with no guns for faith to pick up, DICE clearly gave this a little more thought than the platforming. What s obviously different is that you can pretty much fight while still running, whereas Mirror s Edge sometimes required more of a duelling mentality, where you had to circle around cover and ambush enemies, distracting from the pace of level. Maybe a complex fighting system just isn t that important to Mirror s Edge—I ll need more time with Catalyst to be convinced by this change.
Mirror s Edge was well worth reviving, and this demo tells me that Catalyst will look and feel familiar to the game s existing audience. DICE should now focus on showing players how the open world really adds to that.
Catalyst, noun: A person or thing that precipitates an event; "She acted as a catalyst for change." Or, a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change. Also, the subtitle (or something) of the next Mirror's Edge.
The truth is that we don't know how Catalyst relates to Mirror's Edge, but one way or another, it quite clearly does. IGN pointed out earlier today that EA has filed a trademark, viewable here, for "Mirror's Edge Catalyst," which covers "computer game software; downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices; video game software," as well as "entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game."
That in itself doesn't mean much; companies file and fight over trademarks all the time, and sometimes the filings are actually fakes intended to stir up excitement (and then anger) amongst the fan base. But shortly after the report of the trademark filing came to light, the image above hit the official Mirror's Edge Twitter feed, making it clear that Catalyst is both real and relevant.
There were suggestions, prior to the "Catalyst" tweet, that the trademark filing could be unrelated to Mirror's Edge 2, and may perhaps be for something like a mobile game tie-in instead. But for EA to use it for the first tweet out of the Mirror's Edge account since January, and only the second of 2015, makes me think that it has to be the real deal.
As always, we've reached out EA for more information and will update if and when we receive a reply. But with E3 just around the corner, I think there's a good chance we'll just have to wait.