So much of Sentinel of Liberty is directly lifted from the highly successful iOS version of Mirror’s Edge that comparisons between the two are inevitable. However, the most important difference to note is that Mirror’s Edge was thrilling and fun to play.
The non-stop running and acrobatics in Sentinel of Liberty are far less exhilarating than the rooftop parkour of Mirror’s Edge, as Cap is rarely more than a few yards off of the floor. Even when you’re in Red Skull’s bomber at the end of the game, you wouldn’t assume you were in anything more thrilling than a warehouse.
It’s also important to compare the protagonists of each game. When playing through Mirror’s Edge as Faith– unarmed and on the run, there is a sense of urgency to your actions. Conversely, Captain America– with his trademark indestructible shield– has no reason to fear the henchmen trying to keep him from rescuing his friends. Nor does the player, as the enemies are generally no more threatening than the obstacles you need to jump over.
Smell my feet!
Cap has a variety of ways he can deal with enemies, but none of them are very satisfying and they tend to bring any momentum you had to a grinding halt. As you slide or jump into an opponent, the game runs in slow-motion to allow you to easily pound them into unconsciousness. You learn different attack combos as you progress, and the game gives you on-screen prompts and oceans of time to successfully complete the string of punches, kicks, and shield bashes. The combo isn’t even cancelled if you do the opposite gesture of what is required. All of this nonsense takes the quick-time event concept to an absurd extreme.
All of the combos and the super powers you learn along the way are so slow, unattractive, and unnecessary that we found ourselves mostly just pushing enemies aside with our shield, the only offensive maneuver that maintains the flow of the game. Combine that with the fact that the first third of the game is little more than a tutorial, and most players will be left with the urge to scream, ‘Just leave me alone and let me play the game!’ Mirror’s Edge had bullet time effects as you approached enemies as well, but it felt dramatic, stylish, and almost necessary given the tempo of the game. In Sentinel of Liberty, it’s just annoying.
The superpower of reflection.
There’s nearly no challenge or excitement to playing the game. One of Cap’s voice samples– triggered as you attempt to swing from bar to bar– is, ‘I’ve got to get the timing on this just right.’ He’s a liar. The game is very forgiving, and it makes the motion comic cutscenes more engaging than the game itself.
There’s also a decent chance that you’ll need to play these levels more than once to complete the game, judging by the number of times the game crashed on our fourth generation iPod Touch. This isn’t the only technical problem the game has. It has other significant bugs, including the pitch of Cap’s voice being inconsistent. His voice would inexplicably change from Darth Vader low to preteen boy high, and not just when the game was moving between real and slow time.
Sentinel of Liberty isn’t a cheap game by iOS standards, listing for $4.99 on the App Store. Given the relatively high price and the low quality of the experience, you’d be better off buying Mirror’s Edge and a couple of Captain America comics to get your fix of what this game tries to offer.