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File:Mirrors-edge-03.jpg
"On the edge of the city, you find out who you really are."

Mirror's Edge is a first-person action video game, set in a big, shiny city in a conformist police-state. You are cast as Faith, an illegal courier or "runner", whose job it is to hand-deliver messages and data across rooftops and skyways to avoid ubiquitous government monitoring of movement and communications.

The story follows Faith in her struggle to free her unjustly-imprisoned sister. While running her clients' illegal messages, she gets caught up in a series of events which lead to her being ruthlessly pursued by the totalitarian government herself. Mercury, Faith's trainer and mentor, acts as her guide, helping her outwit, outrun, and overcome the sinister agents out to eliminate her.

An iPhone/iPad remake was released in 2010. The gameplay was changed to a 2D Canabalt-style platformer, and the plot involves Mayor Callaghan's attempt to turn the public against the police so she[1] can replace them with her private military, something that was only hinted at in the original game.

At the E3 2011, the president of EA games confirmed that a sequel is at least in the concept development phase.

Tropes used in Mirror's Edge include:
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The storm-drain level, though it's justified as a storm drain designed to deal with tsunami flooding, possibly modelled on the G-Cans Project located just outside of Saitama, Japan.
  • Action Girl: Faith, but most of the main girls are as well.
  • Air Vent Passageway: Features prominently throughout the game.
    • Lampshaded on the penultimate level, when a voice overheard when moving noisily through the vents says, "Jesus, the rats are getting huge!". This comment is possibly lampshaded when one takes the below-mentioned Easter Egg into account.
  • Almost-Dead Guy: Mercury
  • All There in the Manual: The main issue with the story is that it is never properly explained within the game. You get more background from the Trailers than you do from the game.
  • Anticlimax Boss: The Final Boss, Jackknife, who you kick off a helicopter. Minor villain Ropeburn is even less climactic, although he makes up for it in sheer frustration potential.
    • To elaborate, Ropeburn charges at you with a metal pipe, and you are supposed to press the disarm button as it turns red (due to Runner Vision). The problem is that you need to actually press the disarm button quite early (just as the pipe starts to turn red). However, the frustration potential is totally subverted when you realize that the game doesn't punish you for pressing disarm before you're supposed to, so you can get through this scene 100% of the time by simply mashing the disarm button.
  • Anyone Can Die: Among the many casualties, Merc, Miller and Jacknife stand out for some players.
  • Art Shift: The Flash-animated cutscenes contrast highly from the playable levels.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The city.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Yes, if you were a suicidal adrenaline junkie, you too could learn to do almost everything that Faith does. You'd also learn why Jackie Chan hasn't been doing as many movies lately. Running along perpendicular walls works with the proper shoes and circumstances, as shown here. It takes a lot of training, but we can assume that Faith has completed that training. There is also a point in the game where she jumps off an eighty foot building and lands on her feet to escape from the "anti-runners". Ouch. On that note, we can easily conclude that well over half the "runners" ended up killing themselves with these stunts fairly quickly.
  • A Winner Is You: After clearing the final level and saving Kate (again), they just hug without a word, the camera pans out to show most of the city, and the credits roll. The only epilogue we get is during the credits, in the form of a brief news soundclip suggesting that Faith and Kate have eluded the police once again, which is hardly a surprise given the many daring escapes Faith pulled off in the story.
  • Badass: Faith, most definitely.
  • Balls of Steel: A slide kick in the groin is a very effective method of dispatching armed enemies (disabling them for just enough time for a disarm)... except the heavy troopers who explicitly wear groin protection with their armor and therefore only receive normal damage from such kicks. Also, the groin kicks don't work on the Parkour Killer, an early indication that it's a girl.
  • Benevolent Architecture: The city seems very well supplied with convenient cables and pipes running between rooftops. Especially for a city which seems to consider traçeurs its Public Enemy Number One. On the other hand, almost every building has roof-mounted fences, often electrified or topped with razorwire.
  • Big Bad Friend: The Parkour Assassin turns out to be Faith's best friend Celeste, who realizes the Runners are about to be exterminated, and agrees to help the bad guys to save her own sorry ass.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Although he's kind of a slacker, given the overall efficiency (or apparent lack thereof) of his police state.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Faith successfully rescues her sister and kills the man responsible for Pope's murder, but the Big Bad is nowhere to be seen, and they are both fugitives wanted for multiple murders. Her best friend has betrayed her, killing her beloved mentor and training the brutal police forces to kill all Runners. But she was able to shut down the City's Sinister Surveillance, at least temporarily, and that's what Runners do in a sense - enable the Resistance to plan in privacy. This battle has been won, and the war continues..
  • Book Ends: The prologue and the final level both end with Faith jumping onto a helicopter.
  • Bullet Time: "Reaction Time", for when precision maneuvering is a matter of life and death, accept no substitutes.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The disarm from behind move you learn in the tutorial from Celeste is what you use to defeat her in the fight with her later on.
  • Climax Boss: Faith's rooftop chase and kung-fu duel with the Parkour Assassin.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The unseen janitor whose office Faith breaks into in one level.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Faith has been running for so long she instinctively sees useful terrain as bright red, and even if you turn this feature off some elements of the architecture remain easily identifiable thanks to their colour schemes (bright red doors and blue walkways).
  • Conveniently Empty Building: The game takes place in the height of summer, so it's not immediately apparent that many of the levels take place during very early morning or late evening when most people would still be sleeping or have finished work several hours ago. The mall is closed for some reasons (though there are comercials in the game claiming it's open 24/7) and another level is a construction site. However, it's all deliberate, as the complete desolation in the middle of a major city is a large part of the game's dystopian theme.
  • Corrupt Politician: The opening narration tells us that the political elite are corrupt. The ending implies it's not that bad, but there's at least one man out there willing to murder opponents.
  • Courier: Pretty much the whole point of the game, although see The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.
  • Crap Saccharine World: According to The Runners. See Alternate Character Interpretation.
  • Cutscene Boss: Faith's "fight" with the minor villain Ropeburn, which consists of a cutscene and one quick time event before he's shot by one of your Evil Counterparts.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Averted. Everything Faith does in the 3D cutscenes can be executed with precisely timed inputs (except the hugs). In the opening, for example, Faith does a wall run, turns, triggers reaction time, then jumps onto the head of a crane. The only thing keeping players from doing it is a shortage of cranes (initially, anyway).
    • An interview with the developers revealed that the intro sequence didn't just use a series of the available animations - it was actually a recording of that section played by one of the devs! The concept was to show players what they would be able to do later in the game.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Better than seeing the messy results.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: After the November Riots crush the spirit of the people, The City grew like a forest.
  • Dodge the Bullet: "No one catches a Runner. That's kinda the point."
  • Does Not Like Guns: Faith, and if you never use any of the guns are dropped, you earn an Achievement.
  • Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Enemies only drop their guns when they die, and Faith's disarm moves are all one-hit knockouts.
  • Easter Egg: Towards the end of the penultimate chapter ("Kate"), after correctly sniping the convoy's engine, quickly look up and snipe the middle dot on an orange sign showing nine dots. Quickly zoom out, and a giant rat, about the size of a car, will dart down the street. Click here to watch it, if you're curious.
    • A newscrawl in one of the elevator reports on the ongoing war in Sedaristan from Bad Company, another game by DICE.
  • Edge Gravity: While it only appears in a few places, this is one of the many nearly invisible Anti-Frustration Features.
  • Elevator Snare: Just like the conveniently placed construction equipment. It's as if The City wants to help the Runners in their rebellion.
  • Everything Is an iPod In The Future: While all weapons and electronic devices seen on desks in the offices are black, the entire rest of the game world follows the iPod design concept.
  • Evil Counterpart: Two, actually. There's Celeste, the Parkour Assassin pursued by Faith through much of the game, and Jacknife, the retired Runner who takes responsibility for the entire evil plot in the final showdown, despite being just The Dragon to the (never seen) Big Bad.
  • Executive Suite Fight: Averted, Faith makes her way, and avoids the police, through several office buildings throughout the game.
  • Exploding Barrels: Played straight. Faith is usually unarmed, but her opponents can set them off for extra damage if she is near them. In a cutscene, Faith takes a gun from Celeste and kills a bunch of baddies by exploding a barrel.
  • Facial Markings: Faith has a tattoo round her right eye, making it resemble the "runner's mark" that features prominently in the game.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Faith wears one to protect her hand when sliding down cables, but only on her right hand, just because it's cool.
  • Foreshadowing: Notice the computer screens when Faith finds the information about Project Icarus. All the runners have their information filled in or marked as "unknown" - except for Celeste, whose info is marked as being "Classified".
  • Fragile Speedster: Faith simply can't take on more than one or two Blues head on before getting shot to hell. This is not a problem since she can frequently zoom right past them. If you compare speed runs on YouTube, you'll actually find runs where some enemies fail to appear entirely - normally they are set to intercept Faith, but the player is so far ahead that they can only break down the door and yell "Freeze!" at an empty room. Buh-bye!
    • Though, it should be noted, Faith is only a Fragile Speedster relative to first person action protagonists. Given that she can take multiple gunshot wounds and keep running, and beat a heavily armoured cop in riot gear to death with just a few punches, in real life she'd be more of an Action Girl.
  • Follow the Leader: This game inspired First Person Shooters to emphasize movement. Games like Brink and the sequel to Prey quickly referenced this game as inspiration.
  • Follow the Plotted Line: Only a few missions actually show you the destination early on. Just following the paths on the roofs still magically gets you there.
  • Gender Bender: The original mentions Callaghan as a male exactly once in the entire game. The iOS version mentions her as a female several times.
  • Genericist Government
  • Grey and Grey Morality: If you subscribe to the Alternate Character Interpretation.
  • Groin Attack: Faith's slide kick maneuver.
  • God Save Us From the Queen: In the iPhone/iPad version, where Callaghan is female.
  • Goomba Stomp: Just landing on people isn't necessarily deadly, but it can be turned into one of the faster and safer one-hit takedowns in the game... if you can pull it off. Pulling it off also nets the achievement "It's-A Me!".
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Big Bad, Mayor Callaghan, is mentioned but never actually appears in the game.
  • Hero-Killer: The Parkour Killer.
  • Hired Guns: Lots of them!
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Very much averted. Carrying weapons reduces Faith's speed and agility, so while she can disarm enemy mooks and use their guns against them, she must usually discard them immediately; how can you shimmy up a pipe while carrying a 50. caliber sniper rifle?
    • The exception is the pistol and the machine pistol, which are both small enough that Faith can carry them without slowing down a bit. Unfortunately, they also have the smallest ammo clips out of any weapon in the game (except the shotgun, but that's another story entirely).
  • If You Can Read This...: A naive Innocent Bystander is Tempting Fate when he types that he pities the Sinister Surveillance who has to monitor his porn surfing. He offhandedly wondered what they'd do if they learned he was quitting his job; tie him to a chair and beat him bloody? Guess what? That's exactly what they do!
  • Impairment Shot: When Faith takes a bullet, her eyes water and strain from the pain, damaging her peripheral vision. This means the screen's edges flash red and blur.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The entire game is based around the premise that a police state has police who can't reliably hit moving objects, even with fully automatic weapons.
    • Truth in Television: most people (including a number of experienced cops) sincerely believe that More Dakka will instantly reduce targets to hamburger. Inexperienced and/or overconfident law enforcement officers regularly empty their badge-granted leadspitters at unarmored targets at less than five meters, and don't put a scratch on them because they forget to aim. Burning off too much ammo at once blows accuracy to hell. And police forces that rely too heavily on intimidation never really get enough weapons practice. Add all that up, then order the poor, doomed mooks to hunt down a human hamster. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Averted when playing on Hard difficulty. Can you say Oh Crap, Runner? The first shot by any mook almost always misses, but lets them sight in on you. Every shot after that can be expected to hit unless you take cover - real cover. This actually makes various sequences very difficult due to not being able to disarm or defeat mooks.
    • Played straight in a cutscene, where a whole group of police shoot at Faith and Celeste (neither of whom has any sort of cover) for several seconds without hitting.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Averted, since the game is mostly played atop skyscrapers, in that while Faith can jump over fences and most other obstacles, falling off the edge means instant death. That last part is Truth in Television, by the way.
    • There are however spots where an obviously non-fatal drop will still cause death. Example.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Particularly the last level.
  • It's Personal: Faith happily zips past the cops, and the police department don't dispatch a small platoon to deal with one runner. That is, until they take her sister.
  • Kent Brockman News: The poorly disguised propaganda broadcasts that pass for network news throughout the game.
  • Laser Sight: The snipers have these, apparently to give away their position.
    • Really useful when you have a Sniper Rifle too; not only do you sensibly have the laser switched off, but you can use their beams to trace up to them with the scope. It even produces a handy little dot if they're behind cover!
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Faith is in an elevator, the TV screen on the elevator flashes various messages about the state of the city. One message outlines tips for determining if someone you know is secretly a Runner, and one of the tips is "A fondness for the color red", the dominant color of the game's "Runner Vision".
  • Le Parkour: The entire premise of the game. Well, an unbelievably over-the-top and virtually suicidal form of parkour, anyway.
  • Light Is Not Good: Everything in The City is perfectly clean and shining white, and there is never a single wisp of cloud on the perfectly blue sky. Yet it all feels very sterile and there's almost no sign of actual life, except for lots of construction sites and hordes of police chasing after you. It makes the entire place actually a bit creepy, or at least unnerving.
  • Made of Iron: Faith can take a sniper bullet in the back while wearing only a tank top, and it will slow her down a little.
    • Earlier in the game she also drops a respectable distance through a glass ceiling and lands in the glass, yet is able to get up and keep running like nothing happened.
  • Magnet Hands: Averted. Severely averted. Faith cannot perform delicate manouvers, or even run quickly when carrying most weapons. She can stuff a single pistol or SMG in her trousers, but that is it.
  • Man in White: Lieutenant Miller, with white hair and moustache to match.
  • McNinja: The bad guy's master plan turns out to be a scheme to train Blues in Le Parkour as "Pursuit Cops" in order to hunt down Runners at their own game.
  • Meaningful Name: Mercury, whose code-name clearly refers to the Ancient Roman messenger of the gods.
    • Also he's frequently referred to as "Merc" which can also be taken as shorthand for "Mercenary", which the Runners are, to a degree.
    • Faith too, see Stealth Pun.
  • Mission Control: Mercury. "I find the work, chop it up, farm it out. The runners do it. It's a tidy arrangement. Everyone gets paid, and nobody sees a thing."
  • Mix and Match: FPS/Platform Game.
  • More Dakka: The machine gun. Extremely deadly when it's in an enemy's hands and extremely satisfying when it's in Faith's.
  • Never Found the Body: Celeste is not seen after Faith blows up a gas can between them and some incoming Blues after their final showdown. However, it seems implied that it isn't that she thinks that Celeste is dead, but rather does not want to deal with her anymore due to how upset she is.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Averted. You can roll or crouch to avoid damage from sensible jumps, but more than that and you're going splat. And you get a couple of seconds to meditate on your failure.
  • Notice This: Faith's "Runner Vision" highlights certain objects along her route in bright red, showing the player which way to go, though it doesn't always show the best route. You can turn it off from the options menu.
    • It is forced off on Hard difficulty, which would be unbearable if it didn't require you to have cleared the game to play on Hard.
  • Pacifist Run: The only person Faith must kill is her Evil Counterpart, which she does automatically by jumping from the roof of the hundred-and-ten-story Shard onto a helicopter, booting him right out the other side in the process. Of course he fires his SMG all the way down and kills the rotors, meaning Faith and Kate are stuck on a falling helicopter... In fact, you earn a special achievement, "Test of Faith", if you complete the game without shooting anyone with a firearm (except the convoy). Funnily enough, the achievement is strictly for not shooting anyone... You can throw as many Blues off skyscrapers as you like, and still be considered a pacifist.
    • However, if you don't shoot anyone, then you will have to deal with at least a couple of enemies in other ways, if only because even Faith isn't fast enough to dodge a heavy machine gunner camped right by the door she needs to use.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Faith is supposed to be a courier, but only gets to deliver a single package before getting caught up in the storyline.
    • It's explained in the tutorial that Faith was out of commission for a while due to a Noodle Incident injury and the story begins a bit after she recovers.
  • Platform Game: Well, duh. The developer was trying to innovate by making it first-person, though this led to several people, including Yahtzee, complaining that you wouldn't be able to see the character's feet before jumping. Y'know, like in real life. On the other hand, in real life, you have a pretty good kinesthetic sense of where your feet are.
  • Police State: The City.
  • Post Cyber Punk: Both the games visuals and plot place it firmly into the post-cyberpunk genre. But at the same time, futuristic weapons or electronics are completely absent. The few times people do use computers, it's to read documents during cutscenes, and the most complex electronic devices the player uses are elevator buttons.
  • Press X to Not Die: When Ropeburn swings that pipe at you, grab it or he'll smack you one and throw you right off the building!
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: The real reason why Miller takes his sweet time to unlock the last elevator in the last level is to give you time to read the motto on the wall: "Finis Coronat Opus" (Lat. "the end crowns the work").
  • Private Military Contractors: If you look closely, you'll notice the more heavily-armed "Blues" in the game wear black PK uniforms instead of the blue CPF uniforms worn by the city police. Faith herself somehow misses this little detail until a CPF character points it out to her in the very last level. Turns out they're all security forces of Pirandello/Kruger, a PMC that turns out to be one of your main enemies.
  • Racing Ghost: A transparent red one. Some gamers just follow it at a reduced pace just to witness the coolness from a third-person perspective.
  • Rare Guns: The NeoStead 2000 and the G36C.
  • Real Is Brown: Gloriously averted, for once, with brightly colored buildings and clear blue skies.
    • Although green is mostly absent to give a feeling of sterility. Even the plants are white.
  • Roof Hopping: You're kidding, right? Whoosh!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Lieutenant Miller.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The boss of Chapter 7.
    • Hilariously, your first clue is when she doesn't really react to your crotch-kicks .
      • Another giveaway - when you hit her she grunts girlishly, and how many girls have you met so far in the game? Faith, Celeste, and Kate. And two of those are fairly unlikely.
  • Scenery Porn: Just look around.
  • Scene Shift Caption: At the beginning of every level.
  • Shining City
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: If Faith gets up in their faces, her opponents will attempt to club the She Fu master with their weapon rather than shoot her. And then wonder why she's holding it all of a sudden.
  • Sickening Crunch: When you jump/fall off a roof.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The specific reason for the existence of Runners.
  • Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Mayor Callaghan did "clean up this town..." By making it into a police state.
  • Sniper Rifle: The fact that Faith can take more than a single shot from a Barrett M82 seems to make her somewhat more than a Fragile Speedster... Which may be why the Blues eventually decide to Zerg Rush her.
  • Soft Glass
  • Speedy Techno Remake: There are ten remixes of "Still Alive" (no, not that one) available on iTunes, 4 of which come packaged with the original on a separate CD in the PC version.
  • Stealth Pun: The main character's name is Faith. You figure it out.
    • Multiple times! Faith has a tendency to make leaps of faith, the Blues have a tendency to lose faith, Kate survives because she has faith. It's a magnificent name for an agent of La Résistance.
    • They couldn't help including just one, though - the very tricky Pacifist Run achievement is called "Test of Faith".
    • Also, Pirandello Krueger, a.k.a. "PK" (maybe). Because boy, they do.
      • Parkour is sometimes also referred to as PK.
    • The iPhone port has another - A pirate radio transmission ends with "...you gotta have Faith".
  • Superpowered Mooks: The "Pursuit Cops" who show up in a few of the later levels and try to chase you using the same skills you have.
  • Super Window Jump: Runners, like Dashing Swordsmen, learn how to leap through plate glass without being cut.
  • Technical Pacifist: Toss as many Blues off skyscrapers as you like, but as long as you don't shoot them you will still pass the "Test of Faith".
  • The Tetris Effect: You, too, will develop "Runner Vision". After completing this game, all pipes, ladders and cranes you see will be cherry-red. And you will find yourself plotting the best way to navigate them.
  • Theme Tune: "Still Alive". Not to be confused with that other song.
  • Third Person Seductress: Averted in an admirable fashion. Faith is a truly attractive woman, but she is also just as slender and athletic as a marathon-running acrobat should be, and her practical tank-top, cargo-pants and jika-tabi shoes are clothes a traçeuse might actually wear. Stripperific, no. Cool, definitely.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Faith throws away her gun whenever she runs out of ammo, and you cannot reload a gun at all. Justified, since she can't carry extra bullets anyway.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Faith and Merc really seem to like pizza.
  • Training Dummy: Celeste serves as one during the tutorial on hand to hand combat, and gun usage.
  • Time Trial: An entire game mode.
  • Title Drop: In the intro movie: "We call ourselves Runners. We exist on the edge between the gloss and the reality; the Mirror's Edge." In this case, it seems to be not so much shoehorning the phrase in, but explaining it, which is kind of a nice change from the norm.
  • Train Escape: Subway trains.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Averted, since Real Life traçeurs use the exact same roll to keep from going ker-splat.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Many gamers squirm at the thought of throwing trigger-happy Blues off rooftops.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In the tutorial, you can shoot your best friend.
    • As said in Caring Potential, you have a few opportunities to throw enemies off of high places, if you're feeling sadistic.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Mercury.
    • Until he gets killed. Then Miller takes over during the final level until HE gets killed.
  • Walk It Off: it's slightly disconcerting to have survived several bursts of automatic gunfire and recovered, only to corner the guy and get laid out by two consecutive Pistol Whippings.
  • Wall Jump: Faith is practically freaking Spider-Man. Just don't try to Wall Crawl. Show some respect for the laws of physics!
  • Window Pain: You want to hide behind glass in that building? Well, the enemies will shoot at you, and the glass will break.
  • Xtreme Sport Xcuse Plot: The whole "dystopian future" plot is basically just an excuse for lots of awesome Parkour action.

Notes

  1. She was male in the original game, but either the creators accidentally changed her gender or she changed it herself
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