It’s been touted for years and nearly forgotten, but Mirror’s Edge has returned. Rather than continuing on from the original, EA has decided to reboot the series, and has approached this sequel with a lot more to offer. After experiencing what it’s like to get fully hands-on with the action, I have faith that this new addition is going to be incredible.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is set in the fictional city of Glass, and its inhabitants are tightly wrapped around the Conglomerate and KrugerSec – the security firm which controls it. The city is pristine and untouched, glossing over it’s rotting core through mindless entertainment, whilst everyone becomes voiceless and paralysed by technology, unable to wake up from their day dreams.
Following the progression of the lead protagonist, Faith, you’ll slowly build up her skills as a Runner and progress to become a catalyst for change. The journey hints of a world not too distant from our own, as we’re constantly fed pointless entertainment and junk food in order to desensitise ourselves from the real world.
The segment I played focused on learning the basics of free-running, and the new user interface that seamlessly joins everything together. This time around you have the entire city at your disposal, which allows you to choose where to go and what to do through your map. There are no loading screens, nor any levels, as the story is told through your natural progression across the city’s high-rise structures.
The first thing that struck me was how easy it was to navigate Faith around her environment in a precise, quick and stylish manner. I don’t remember the original being this easy, and now it only takes two buttons to get you going. Holding down the left bumper will allow you to scale objects, whereas holding down the left trigger make you descend into rolls or slides. I found it very intuitive and it gave me a lot of confidence to move fast and could do so in style, all from a first person perspective.
During the demo I could test my agility in a time trial, hack a billboard and participate in combat training. It was quite addictive, especially trying to beat the time trial by picking up speed and avoiding ledges or steps, which have the aim of slowing you down.
Scaling a wall and vaulting a ledge is nice n’ all, but the addition of hi-tech equipments allows you to be one step ahead. Through the use of Mag Rope, you can attach to certain parts of buildings and cross large distances and wide gaps in a flash. I almost felt like I was playing a first person Batman game, it was great! If you want to find the best path to an objective, Faith can use her Runner Vision to map out the quickest route. Objects will be painted red in this mode, acting as visual indicators to track your steps.
As opposed to the original’s clunky combat, engaging with an enemy has never felt smoother. Pick up enough momentum and all it takes is a button press for you to elegantly take out a threat. Again, it’s incredibly easy to perform, and Catalyst’s control system will be what makes this game a true joy to play.
It’s clear that EA has learnt a lot from its first experience of Mirror’s Edge. Catalyst is much more refined, and this game is gleaming with the potential to become the renewed beginning Faith deserves. Accomplishing breathtaking manoeuvres has never been easier, and I can’t wait to unleash my parkour abilities on the entire city.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is due to launch on February 23rd 2016 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.