The Top 25 Soundtracks 2012: Number 24

Number 24: Mirror's Edge

Every so often in the gaming world, a title comes along that has every reason to be a success...yet almost completely fails for those same reasons. Mirror's Edge, released in 2008, is one of those titles. If you've never played it, fire up the demo, flip off the runner vision and give it a try, because once you get lost in that vibrantly beautiful world, coming back to the real world is a shock.

A large part of the experience that helped the world of Mirror's Edge become so gripping was the reason it appears on this list today: Its phenomenal soundtrack.

The music of Mirror's Edge is almost dreamlike in its motif, making use of smooth pads and electronics in a sound that almost sounds like New Age music, but then again isn't quite exactly that. If anything, the musical sound of Mirror's Edge is completely unique to itself. Last year I described is as being the sound that one would hear at the edge of a mirror. Now, one year later I think that description still holds.

Part of what makes Mirror's Edge such a compelling soundtrack to listen to is it's minimalistic approach to sound. Most music tends to rely on large amounts of notes and music, using dozens of different instruments to tell the story at a single time. Mirror's Edge on the other hand, uses as few instruments and notes as it can get away with, then works that very idea into the core of the music. Single notes slide around at the edge of your consciousness, building melodies that are complex in their entirety, but simple in execution. It then uses that simplicity in creative ways, such as creating tense, gripping moments simply through adding additional notes over the original song.

Much like the Halo 2 soundtrack, the music of Mirror's Edge tells a story with each piece, but one that is less complex, but more beautiful in its simplicity. If Halo 2 with it's grand orchestra is a play with hundreds of actors, then Mirror's Edge is a shadow puppet theater. Equally complex in it's own way, but drawing strength from the simpleness of the shapes.

Mirror's Edge is thereby an oddity in the world of game soundtracks. Rather then the usual conventions of music, it finds beauty in simplicity, in a smooth, organic sound that flows from melody to melody. Mirror's Edge scores impressively well in all but one category. While it maintains a higher than average score for its Stand-Alone capacity and Game Representation, it scores below the average for this list on Emotional Reaction, although for other reasons then one might expect. While the soundtrack is quite emotional, it has a 'blink and you'll miss it' feel to it. Its quite possible to listen to the entirety of the soundtrack in a single sitting, only looking up when the music stops. Of course, for such to be said of a soundtrack is high praise, and even with a slightly lower then average score in Emotional Reaction, Mirror's Edge more than makes up for it with its high scores in other areas and it's bonus point for Non-Gamer Appeal.

Mirror’s Edge
Enjoyment: 4
Stand Alone Quality: 4.5
Composition: 4
Emotional Reaction: 3.75
Game Representation: 4.5
Non-Gamer Enjoyment: 1
Nostalgia: 0
TOTAL: 4.35

Mirror's Edge overall, scores quite well, tying with yesterday's number 25, but edging it out for the Number 24 spot through its unique use of minimalism and organic sound to create a soundscape completely unlike anything else found in games. A place well earned. Mirror's Edge, the 24th greatest gaming soundtrack of all time in 2012.

Number 24--Mirror's Edge by Solar Fields


Lee said...
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Lunesar said...

Loved Mirror's Edge. I don't understand how it didn't do well, heck I bought it the day it came out and never buy first person perspective games on release day. Though the fact that it came with the messenger bag helped me decide to get that release day.