After an hour or so of gameplay, I'm getting to the point where it feels instinctive to hit the top bumper/trigger buttons for my movement - to be able to jump, slide, hit doors - but it all goes to shit as soon as enemies appear. This is where I lose my head and I know deep down that this game has already defeated me.
This started in the days of Goldeneye, Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid 2, and I've never tried to fight it, shy of dabbling in map editors in Half Life and Timesplitters: Future Perfect. My inability to be good was countered by stacking the game in my favour by my knowing exactly where the good spots to be in the level were, a trick I can't put into someone else's work. These games give me a weapon, give me the ability to destroy, and I'll do all in my power to make it difficult for myself. Resident Evil? I couldn't let anything chase after me. I wore out bullets and never got to the end of the game. Metal Gear Solid? As soon as an enemy saw me, and the alert would be set off, I'd cumbersomely throw them, daze them, try to work out how to knock them out totally, fail, run around the corner and panic, watching them slowly wake up. I made it down to the elevator once! And as for Goldeneye, my strategy involved picking the shortest character available and flailing both analog stick and C-stick with gay abandon; my character spinning and spiralling around the levels, chopping as fast I could hammer the button. I was one part Tasmanian Devil, one part Karate Kid, eight parts Person Who Should Never Play First Person Shooters.
I forget that Y can disarm. I also feel very free and yet very claustrophobic in these locations and rely entirely too much on B to give me a directional hint. I let the game lie to me. I believe I must run headfirst towards the reticle, ignoring to look around me. I get to these places when I literally run into the brick wall, where I turn and find my enemies lined up. I'm only a blindfold short of a firing squad, but I feel connected enough to the character, Faith, to close my eyes and wince as I accept my fate and let the bullets hit me.
It reminds me right now of how I felt when I first saw the droids in Portal, the morbidity of knowing I know had a form of AI to beat - although it was a rather primitively effective AI in Portal - if it sees you, it targets, it fires. In Mirror's Edge, the AI isn't much smarter - but it can move, at that's what makes the difference. The guards don't give up, they follow you quite well. I prefer Metal Gear Solid or Resident Evil to this game as far as keeping my head straight, because at least in those games I could hide and wait out the alert, or just run into a puzzle room door and get myself together.
Reviews state the game can be blasted through within six hours. I look at the game and its mechanics and don't understand how six hours of intense action can fit into it, and six hours of running around like I do, as a headless chicken, doesn't sound grand either. I will definitely download ghosts and enjoy seeing people gracefully making a level look easy. If I were a little more accomplished as a gamer, if I would be prepared to analyse the topography of the cityscape as I have done in the past when faced with meticulous time trials (I held an online world record for Micro Machines V3) this would be a better game for me... ach, the curse of the casual gamer strikes.