Mirror's Edge PS3 / Xbox 360

Mirror's Edge PS3 / Xbox 360
Obama’s election should hopefully forestall the future that Mirror’s Edge imagines, a future where liberty takes a backseat to security and freedom bows down before authority. It’s also a very clean future. So, Singapore basically. But there’s rebellion at the fringes, on the rooftops and in the sewers, which is where you’ll spend most of your time. You’re Faith, a cucumber-cool Asian lass who couriers sensitive information to and fro, as all electronic communication is monitored. You’re not a fighter, you’re a runner — a free runner — and the totalitarian regime is on your tail. Best known for their Battlefield series, Swedish developer DICE has tried to reinvent the FPS by removing the shooter element and bringing in Parkour, the French art of free-running. It’s a highly dangerous form of urban gymnastics, where you use skill and momentum to leap between rooftops, climb walls, slide under vents and launch yourself down staircases. The first-person perspective can be a disorienting design choice compared to the third-person athleticism of Assassin’s Creed, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes exhilarating. The game also sports a beautifully stylized look, like a higher-res version of the city in No More Heroes, ditching gaming’s usual obsession with darkness and shadows in favour of stark, sterile white, with splotches of colour to help guide you. There are some bumps along the way — when you do get into some fighting stages, the combat can be aggravating, albeit not as much as the constant die-and-repeat that will mark your attempts to figure out some of the environmental puzzles. I got quite sick of hearing the sickening crunch of my body hitting the pavement way down below. But in a year glutted with generic first-person shooters, the progressive-minded Mirror’s Edge is one looking glass worth jumping into. (EA/DICE)