Hands-On Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst at E3 2015

EA’s passive parkour sequel looks to be a massive improvement over the original.

June 19, 2015 by

It’s been two long years since EA and DICE teased gamers at E3 2013 with the announcement of Mirror’s Edge 2 being in development. And at this year’s show, we finally got our hands on the game and can confirm a few details after playing the two-part fifteen-minute demo.

Movement in Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is almost identical to the original’s with just the right amount of tweaks to help Faith’s free-running animations become more fluid. This ties in with the developers trying to make players focused on moving forward to not lose momentum and keep the flow of the game exciting. It’s good to see DICE first focusing on the most important aspect in the series, because while the original to this day still stands as the best parkour game on the market, it still needed some tweaks.

Catalyst’s art direction is also identical to the first game’s, but this time there are no levels, and instead of linear gameplay DICE has opened up the entire city and filled it with objectives that the player can choose to complete as Faith. The three missions available in the demo consisted of a combat mission where Faith had to defeat armed guards along the way to delivering an item, a time trial mission where Faith had to race to a marker, and lastly a mission involving scaling to the top of a building to mark a territory for the group she joins known as the Runners.

That being said, in our hands-on time with the game, we were limited to missions in an area on rooftops and couldn’t get back to the ground to really get a good look at the environments in action. The demo started with a brief glimpse of Faith and one of the Runners in some back alleys, but it quickly ended before anyone else showed up and we could take control and go check out more of the city.

One of the biggest changes we noticed right away is that Faith can no longer pick up weapons that enemies drop. This is going to be a welcome change for those who want to focus on the passive parkour playstyle and/or weren’t a fan of the gun mechanics in the original… however, this is also going to be something that feels limiting to other players who see a weapon lying on the ground and can’t do anything with it to defend themselves.

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is shaping up to be the open-world parkour experience that fans dreamed of after completing the first game back in 2008, and we can’t wait to get out hands back on it when the game launches on February 23, 2016, for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.