p = mv
I’ll preface this with an admission: I never played the original Mirror’s Edge. It’s a sad thing to think about, but I wasn’t really the type to play that kind of game when the game came out. I was more or less only into first-person shooters, western RPGs, and racing games. A combat-lite game like Mirror’s Edge was anathema to me and the parkour gameplay just seemed so odd.
And weirdly enough, Dying Light was the game that broke the trend for me. I already started branching out into other game genres by the time that Dying Light released, but I grew to love the traversal mechanics.
Enter Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.
Catalyst showcases some truly entertaining gameplay. There’s something intensely satisfying about charging across the rooftops of an open world city, and Mirror’s Edge nails it. There’s a sense of speed that’s missing in most games, and what adds to it is the feeling that you are a runner. The game lacks a stamina meter of any kind, meaning that you can sprint indefinitely. This adds to the idea that Faith is well suited for courier work. Movement is fun, and volatile.
Additionally, you can turn on what’s called Runner’s Vision, which gives hints about what way to head to get to an objective, but I can’t help but feel that it ruins a bit of the fun. Regardless, at least Runner’s Vision doesn’t always give player’s the most effective or quickest route to their destination, so there’s that at least. I turned it off and had a blast with trying to find my way around. Paths often have visual cues like footmarks for wallrunning sections and things like that, so if you pay attention you can get a general idea at least about where to go.
COMBAT? NOT THE FOCUS
Catalyst seems to eschew combat as a main gameplay focus. Faith has access to some pretty fun abilities, and you’ll be forced to use them on occasion, but you aren’t required to fight outside of rare circumstances. You won’t be jumping around on the rooftops and blasting people with a shotgun or rifle. Instead, you have access to a limited set of melee abilities that are enhanced when used in conjunction with Faith’s momentum. I mean, obviously a drop-kick to the chest is going to hurt more than a punch…
What’s more is that I don’t feel like weapons would add anything to the experience. It just feels… right the way it is.
There were a few flaws that showed up in my playthrough of the beta so far, which is not an indictment of the game by any means. The framerate is of a notable concern, though it isn’t obvious at all times. It just takes dips every now and then, often with little to no discernible reason though. The controls seem a little stiff and too precise for a game that focuses so heavily on the physics of movement. There’s also something really odd about Faith’s spindly limbs…
She also doesn’t leave smudges anywhere. I mean, she must have some super clean hands.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst looks pretty promising. It’s also very pretty. Sky City appears pristine and sterile, as a dystopian-utopia would likely look. So far, things looks fairly solid and there’s a surprising variety of things to do in the beta. As long as the scale holds once the actual game is released and they hopefully address some of the issues, we should be in good shape.
Even though the game was delayed until June 7th/9th (depending on where you live).
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