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Original entry posted: Mon Mar 2 16:40:56 2009

That Fuzzy Bastard @ Mon Mar 2 12:03:04 2009 EST

There are times when I think Mirror's Edge's biggest mistake was having a narrative at all---the Time Trials mode makes me wonder how good it could've been if they'd simply made it a racing game, and focused on getting the controls absolutely right. It probably wouldn't have been really feasible commercially---it's just too unusual a concept to sell to straight-up racing fans---and the game does seem to want a story anyway. But considering how badly the story actually went (despite some sweet-ass art direction), I think Time Trial mode is the only part that's really a success anyway.

Thomas @ Mon Mar 2 15:08:26 2009 EST

I'm not convinced that the time trials are good enough to be a game on their own. I like oddball racing/platforming titles as much as the next guy--used to own DK Jungle Beat, after all--but the system doesn't seem robust enough to make that worthwile. In order for the game to be fun, it needed to be a little sloppy control-wise, which doesn't blend well with racing, I think.

On the other hand, focusing on the race might have helped the level design. There are a lot of places where I had no idea where to go next. It was missing that Valve/Bungie "mindreading" that comes from days and weeks of intensive playtesting.

That Fuzzy Bastard @ Tue Mar 3 18:56:35 2009 EST

"Sloppy" is a good word---when I go back to my beloved Jet Grind Radio (Dreamcast 4 Life!), it's striking how much leeway there is in the controls. And yeah, that's what I mean---that had they focused on the purely instrumental goals of a racing game, they might have noticed sooner that the level design was too unintuitive, and the handling too fiddly, for a game that's all about flow.

Thomas @ Tue Mar 3 22:04:53 2009 EST

I've actually been playing JSRF on the XBox, since the Dreamcast controller leaves my hands in a state of crumpled ruin, and it's an interesting comparison. There's really only two movement interactions in the game--grind and wallride--and they could maybe stand a little adjustment. And the level design could use some work, it's not nearly as good as JGR. But it does strike a happy medium--possible to chain long grinds around the level, while still sometimes acting more akin to a traditional 3rd person action game.

Chris @ Wed Mar 4 02:58:41 2009 EST

I agree - you can't build a franchise around a single character unless you are Marvel. And in fact, even then, you don't build a franchise around a single character - they used to, back in the day, but these days they know you have to cross breed to succeed.

I really wanted to find time to read through your game version of The God Delusion, but I'm swamped. It's probably for the best, as I'm bound to find something offensive in it, although doubtless nothing as offensive as fucking Left Behind. *shudder*

I apologise for annoying you previously re: the Young Earth Creationists. I just think that anyone who has "fnord" as their comment justification should see the humour in a creationist museum! :)

Hail eris!

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