The original Mirror’s Edge was one of those games you might have missed. It wasn’t based on anything, nor was it part of a movie franchise. Mirror’s Edge was a new idea from a big company, and that can often times leave consumers more skeptical than something from a little known publisher. Admittedly, I never played the original game till it was offered free maybe really cheap on Steam or PS Plus. After playing it, I regret not jumping on sooner. Mirror’s Edge is a great metaphor for technology trapping humanity in hell. We got some hand’s on time with DICE’s follow up Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst at E3, not only does it have us more excited for the game, but the upcoming Dark Horse published comic as well.
The Mirror’s Edge mini theater inside the EA booth hypes you up for playing this small piece of the game with an introduction video outlining your objectives and how to use the game’s emphasis on “free run” to have the best experience.
This video also gives us an insight into the story of Catalyst. After the events of the original game, the whereabouts of our hero Faith and Kate are unknown, so DICE is going back to the beginning to tell an origin story. We’ll dive deep into the rebellious beginnings of Faith as a simple runner over the rooftops of the City of Glass.
As the doors in the back of the theater opened we were staged inside the EA booth to take on the first part of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. A portion that consisted of Faith walking through processing on her way to jail when she receives a message that tells her to make a run for it. This part is here strictly to get you accustomed to the game’s controls and tease a bit of the intense story.
The second part of the demo sees players complete three objectives in the free roaming City of Glass. We first took on a courier mission that sees Faith use her fighting skills to take down enemy patrols. To say “flow” is important in this game is an understatement. Much like the Flash, Faith’s greatest weapon is speed. The smoother players can make her movements the more dangerous her attacks. As we ran from roof top to rooftop, when we could fluidly parkour our way across; enemies could be taken down with one hit. On the off times where movement was clunky from not timing obstacles right, hand to hand combat was our only recourse.
While some have been vocal about the problems with combat in the first game, here it’s easier to get the hang of. They’ve taken a few pages from the Arkham series, strikes are easy to chain among multiple enemies and the execution of finishing moves is spectacular.
Our second objective was a time trial of getting from one point on the map to the other under a specific time. Sprinting, leaping from ledge to ledge, seamlessly sliding through vents, and busting through locked doors; You’ll need to time these all just right to make the objective points in record times. In other games these objectives feel like after thoughts. In Mirror’s Edge it feels like a reward. There’s something gorgeous about the feeling of running from building to building in first person. As intense as it is on screen, publishers need to bring the Mirrors edge to their VR experiences. I can’t imagine how much my heart would pound in my chest from seeing something like that.
We didn’t get a chance to complete the third objective before our time was up. The only thing more disappointing is knowing we have to wait until February 23, 2016 to play the game. Fortunately, Dark Horse Comics is bring Faith’s story to comics in the six issue mini series, Mirror’s Edge: Exordium. We’ll only have to wait till September for comics to explore a part of Faith’s story.
Fans have waiting seven years for the return of Mirror’s Edge and this feels like a game that used the time away to build an experience worthy of the new generation of gaming hardware. The City of Glass will be somewhere we want to visit come February.