Sunday, September 27, 2009


I think it's safe to say that I'm one of the least competitive people you'll ever meet. If I'm playing a game with someone, and that's any type of game, and I'm significantly better than my opponent, I'm far more likely to deliberately play worse than I can to match my opponent's skill level than to thrash them and rub it in.

This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I only ever play games for fun. Winning is a nice bonus, but I'd rather have fun and lose than not have fun and win. Secondly, in most cases, I'm playing against someone I like I would like to play with them again.

There are only two real cases where I get close to competitive…and that's when I'm playing a game 'against myself' or against some kind of course.

Which is why 'Mirror's Edge' for the 360 might just kill me.

You see, Mirror's Edge is a 'parkour' or 'free running' game. I'd already played through the story, which has you wall-running, making death-defying leaps, swinging on pipes and all other kinds of cool maneuvers in order to escape bad guys…and I'd loved every minute of it, so I thought I'd give the time-trial side a try.

The time-trial game mode is completely different. You have a fairly open area and different waypoints you have to get to in order. Now, just to pass the level is fairly easy, but there are three 'skill times' for each course, and to get the third, you have to do a perfectly flawless run taking the most direct route possible…and the most efficient route is always the trickiest.

Basically, to get the best time we're talking about absolute perfection on a course that requires split second timing, pixel-perfect jumps and laser accuracy with direction of travel. If you just want to qualify and get to the next course, it's pretty forgiving. You can make mistakes on the way, take a longer route and still come in under the qualifying time. One star is tricky. Two stars is hard. Three stars means absolute perfection. Without a hint of exaggeration, to get a three-star run, your timing has to be accurate to within just a couple of milliseconds.

…and you know what? This game may just about kill me.

There's nothing quite like getting to within a hair's breadth of the finish line after completing and absolutely perfect run, then messing up on the very last obstacle and that one second delay costing you a three star run. It's even worse when the one obstacle that's causing you problems is near the end of a long course, which means you get to screw up two and a half minutes into a two minute, forty-five second course.

I don't know about you, but this gets frustrating, and frustration leads to more mistakes.

Let's just say that earlier today I decided to play for a half hour. Three hours later I was still saying that I'd have 'just one more try'.

…and that's the worst thing about Mirror's Edge. It's ridiculously difficult to score a three-star time, but it's just fun and addictive enough to keep you playing when any sane person would just give up and play something else.


Sunny said...

You are SUCH a gamer freak. LOL- It was fun for me watching you wig about that game. It made me feel so much better seeing you aren't perfection in absolutely everything games. Maybe there's a chance for lil' ole me in the gaming world after all!

anthonyhalley1000 said...

WOW. I love Mirrors Edge! Me and Maisy completed it a while ago now!

I'm currently waiting for me EVE online to be delivered and then spend £130 a year on an online subscription....

by the way, hello my old fogie!