You are the Edge: an outcast citizen of the Mirror, pushed to the fringes of society. Look around you. The sun is shining brightly, the cityscape is simply breathtaking... Life for a fugitive may be lonely, but with views like this who's going to complain?
Not us, that's for sure. Since the game's announcement last July we've grown accustomed to impressive screenshots like the ones strewn across these pages, but those looks hide more than just beauty. "The clean look of the game actually grew out of gameplay," explains Tom Farrer, the game's producer as he explains the logic behind the adventure title.
Clean is certainly the right word. The distinctive art style is so striking that it may as well be a trademark of the game, and those vibrant reds may just end up saving your life. "We have this concept of Runner Vision in the game.
It allows the player to read their environment in the way a runner would; to immediately see opportunities and escape routes." So while our heroine Faith is trying frantically to escape pursuing SWAT teams all she need do is glance up and spot red objects - parts of the environment that can be utilized to navigate each level.
Any suggestion that this could be construed as elaborate hand-holding can be safely laid to rest. The colour coding usage is heavy to begin with, but as your skills develop the colours start to change.
Reds may not always betray the best route to a target, sometime offering an alternative path to the main route instead or a particular object that you'd do well to use, but as the game progresses they'll often only show you Faith's ultimate goal. And for eagle-eyed smug gits who think they know it all there's even the option to turn the aid off entirely, although you'll forgive us if we laugh each and every time you end up face-down on the pavement with your pelvic bone far closer to your brain than nature had ever intended.
"Think of her as a female Jason Bourne," Tom suggests. Sure enough, Faith doesn't stand around to fight hoards of enemies. If you want to take the fight to the enemy then it's not too tricky to disarm an opponent and turn their weapon (of which there are around 15) against them, but the gunfights aren't
the focus of Mirror's Edge, and when the magazine runs dry you'll discard the weapon and move on.
Although combat is an option it's not usually the best one. If you do happen to defeat a cop or two you can bet that a helicopter full of armed guards is on the way. Worse still, is the harm that fighting does to your rhythm. Momentum plays a huge role in Mirror's Edge, so the last thing you want to do is stop for a bout of fisticuffs. Maintaining momentum is the key to exploring new areas, and it's achieved by chaining moves one after another without interruption.
Sure you could stand and fight for a few minutes before working your way down a building to reach a neighbouring skyscraper via a lower balcony, but why would you want to when the alternative is a sprint past your attackers and one monu-mental leap onto a moving crane? This isn't just thinking outside the box: this is throwing it off a cliff and then jumping after it.
Nothing can convey the breathless action of the game quite like the producer's favourite moment: "Leaping from the end of a crane sixty storeys up and watching my legs bicycling through the air in slow motion as I fine tune my aim... hoping I don't miss..." Welcome back first-person originality, it's been a while.