Faith Restored: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Beta Impressions

I loved the original Mirror’s Edge. It had some glaring flaws, but such things were forgiveable at the time given how new an experience in gaming was being attempted. I’ve spent the past 8 years hoping for a sequel which keeps the bits that worked and jettisons what didn’t.

But DICE haven’t done that. They’ve done something far more impressive.

You see the combat in the original was almost game-ruiningly awful. They could have easily made a decent sequel by getting rid of it fighting entirely, but instead have taken a gamble at creating an entirely new combat system, and it’s astonishingly good so far, with a fantastic strafing feature reminiscent of Metroid Prime, and a focus on crowd control over damage, giving you lots of options to direct enemies into one another or make use of the environment. And no guns, thank goodness.

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Also worrying me was a move towards an open world, but it barely feels like such, as open world gaming generally implies lots of boring walking or driving to the  next location, while in Catalyst it feels more like an endless series of challenging, and fun to negotiate, levels being pulled together on the fly depending on where you are heading to.

And Mirror’s Edge still feels like nothing else. Even after 8 years there are still very few games that can bring so much enjoyment and challenge to just moving around. Hopefully it does well enough to justify EA’s gamble, and prove to their shareholders that DICE can be more than just a Battlefield factory.


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