It was back at E3 2015, that I first experienced Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. Everyone lined up in the EA booth in rows and was shown off a story trailer to explain the backdrop of the game and where the reboot stands in the universe. Catalyst, is more then just a revision of the original game, but a masterful new addition to Faith’s journey across the corporation held city of Glass.
Not surprising, the closed beta is quite similar to what we saw back at E3, however the narrative has been expanded, and the characters more fleshed out, giving anyone who opts to play the “beta” a very good sample of what to expect. The game drops players in the shoes of Faith, who has just been released from a two year prison sentence only to be thrust back into the world of runners. It doesn’t take long for the game to get you adjusted, and with the new runner’s vision, which maps the buttons to walls and pipes, free-running is a lot more seamless.
Once the brief tutorial is over and Faith has rejoined her friends and partner Noah, the city of Glass begins to open up, allowing players freedom to tackle any of the numerous trials or side missions the beta allows. One example of a time trial is the Dash, with Birdman, a mentor-like character to Faith who is tasked with whipping Faith back into shape since her extended absence. Like most basic time trials, the objective is to reach the destination in as little time as possible, however the set route isn’t always the fastest.
The second mission I decided to take was with Nomad, a buddy of Faith’s who collected her gear when she was arrested. Instead of being time-based, Nomad, needs Faith to collect three control chips that are being guarded by K-SEC, a security branch of Kruger’s. The area can be approached in a number of ways, but at each chip two padded guards with batons are waiting, and it takes more then simple light attacks to take them down.
Much of the combat in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst relies on strategy and precision, along with dodging continuously. Faith cannot take much damage before going down, so dashing back with the right trigger or stunning them with a kick is the quickest way to take the enemies down. Additional attacks that can knock them out can be accomplished by free-running on walls or jumping from above, which allows you to combo moves together. More skills and different set moves can be unlocked in the upgrade tree, though the options are minimal in the beta.
Along with the few story quests, are some side missions, which range from hacking billboards to making deliveries on time. These are the quickest ways to earn experience, along with collecting grid leaks that are scattered across the city. More collectibles will be available in the full game, including the option to create your own Dash missions for players to attempt. The changes since the demo I played have improved the experience, and made traversing through the city a lot more engaging.
Fans of the original will be blown away by how far the series has come forward, from its much smoother combat system to seamless free-running controls. The greater variety in missions helps the game from becoming too repetitive, and I see myself exploring the city of Glass for hours.
The Frontrunner’s Program will give fans access to the Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Beta on April 22nd, while an open beta will begin on April 23rd. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was recently delayed to June 7th, 2016 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.