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If you had Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst [official site] in the Big Game Delay Sweepstakes, step up to the podium and claim your prize. Previously set for release on February 23rd, the same day as Far Cry Primal and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the continuing adventures of Faith have been pushed back to May. DICE are still sticking to a specific release date – May 24th – and say that the delay is down to their desire to make the game “as entertaining, impressive, and memorable as it can be”.
I wouldn’t count myself as a fan of many things, but the derision and disinterest inspired by the first Mirror’s Edge makes me want to champion it. It was a game with terrible boss fights, flawed combat and a tedious story, but also one worth celebrating for the things it got right, such as its first-person movement and its beautiful, brilliant world.
Those same things also make me nervous about the sequel. When I went to see EA’s Mirror’s Edge Catalyst [official site] presentation at Gamescom, I wasn’t sure whether it would amplify the parts I liked or disliked.
I completed Mirror s Edge four times, so I know the first person parkour- em-up stupidly well. To me, Catalyst feels almost exactly like the Mirror s Edge of 2008 in all the right ways. The platforming feels identical minus a couple of button press changes that only super hardcore players will notice, and my same muscle memory and sense of timing served me well during my hands-on at E3. For those worried that Catalyst might lose the very specific essence of the original, this doesn t feel like a reboot—it feels like a true sequel.
My demo took place in a tiny snippet of what is apparently a seamless open world in Catalyst, a series of rooftops with three tasks to perform: a time attack run (Race), a chain of combat encounters (Delivery) and a challenge to climb to a high point in the world and hack a propaganda billboard (er, Billboard Hack). My main reaction to the demo was delight at how it felt to finally have more Mirror s Edge in my hands, after seven years of championing the game to any poor bastard that will listen. There s been six Call of Duty games since the first one came out—that Catalyst exists in a landscape of absurdly expensive triple-A games is a bit uplifting to me. Even better, what made the original Mirror s Edge so special is seemingly still intact here.
What this 13-minute demo didn t do was outline how open world play will work, since this area of shiny rooftops was boxed off and honestly felt like it could be a level from the first Mirror s Edge. This setting will start small then open up, but how big does it really go? The map screen in the menu suggests a huge open city, but the demo doesn t answer the question of how that ll feel to the player to travel from one place to another.
Greater changes come in the form of the combat, which was divisive the first time around, but has been overhauled so it s noticeably easier. While it seemed a little too simple to me on first inspection, it might suit players who found the original s fighting too challenging or fiddly. Attacks are now mapped to the x button on an Xbox controller, rather than the trigger (this is now just the barge button for opening doors), and as long as you hit the button in close proximity to an enemy, Faith will quickly take them out, sometimes with a pleasing third-person finishing animation.
The demo didn t really have enough combat to make a call on it either way. Combat presented no immediate threat, and with no guns for faith to pick up, DICE clearly gave this a little more thought than the platforming. What s obviously different is that you can pretty much fight while still running, whereas Mirror s Edge sometimes required more of a duelling mentality, where you had to circle around cover and ambush enemies, distracting from the pace of level. Maybe a complex fighting system just isn t that important to Mirror s Edge—I ll need more time with Catalyst to be convinced by this change.
Mirror s Edge was well worth reviving, and this demo tells me that Catalyst will look and feel familiar to the game s existing audience. DICE should now focus on showing players how the open world really adds to that.
Catalyst, noun: A person or thing that precipitates an event; "She acted as a catalyst for change." Or, a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change. Also, the subtitle (or something) of the next Mirror's Edge.
The truth is that we don't know how Catalyst relates to Mirror's Edge, but one way or another, it quite clearly does. IGN pointed out earlier today that EA has filed a trademark, viewable here, for "Mirror's Edge Catalyst," which covers "computer game software; downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices; video game software," as well as "entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game."
That in itself doesn't mean much; companies file and fight over trademarks all the time, and sometimes the filings are actually fakes intended to stir up excitement (and then anger) amongst the fan base. But shortly after the report of the trademark filing came to light, the image above hit the official Mirror's Edge Twitter feed, making it clear that Catalyst is both real and relevant.
There were suggestions, prior to the "Catalyst" tweet, that the trademark filing could be unrelated to Mirror's Edge 2, and may perhaps be for something like a mobile game tie-in instead. But for EA to use it for the first tweet out of the Mirror's Edge account since January, and only the second of 2015, makes me think that it has to be the real deal.
As always, we've reached out EA for more information and will update if and when we receive a reply. But with E3 just around the corner, I think there's a good chance we'll just have to wait.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Some people install the latest Crysis game whenever they buy a new PC, to push their upgraded hardware to its limit. I install Mirror’s Edge. If I want to feel good about my purchase, then Mirror’s Edge succeeds by being as unfailingly gorgeous now as it was six years ago. Better still, its mechanics – about movement and speed and grace – leave me just as breathless and uplifted as its pristine cityscapes and colourful interior design.
Mirror’s Edge 2 was revealed at last year’s E3 with little more than a brief animation and a few bars of the game’s lovely soundtrack. As part of EA’s conference at E3 2014, they showed off more of the game. It was set amidst some buzzword-y waffle from the game’s developers, and is still only concept footage for the game they hope to make, but there are hints of good things in the three minute video embedded below.
As a semi-longtime games journo (and hobbyist coal miner), I’ve seen my fair share of diamonds in the rough. Some eventually go the distance and gleam like a million smiling suns, while others… well, they don’t fare so well. And yet, even after losing countless hopefuls (and also canaries), I’m not ready to give up hope on promising upstarts like Lemma. The rune-encrusted run-leaper has evolved significantly since Adam first highlighted it, combining the path-producing footfall’s of something like Bastion with Mirror’s Edge‘s feather-like grace and, er, color scheme. It still looks a little janky, but I’m ready to place two of my crossed fingers before its altar. New trailer below.
But in a good way! Titanfall’s wall-running and super-fun leaping is the second best thing about Repawn’s multiplayer game. Being able to watch others do it is my favourite thing about it: seeing them curve across gaps, leaping like leapy things, and dancing across levels. I love it. I love that moment at the very beginning of a level, when your small group peels off in different directions to a chorus of jet blasts and then vanish into the twisty death warrens. So the new trailer for Hover: Revolt of Gamer looks very compelling to my eyes, even if it is a little bit neon and flashy: that thrill of leaping around with friends will always draw me in. … [visit site to read more]