Game of the Month: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst     June 7th     PS4, Xbox One, PC

When the original Mirror’s Edge was released in November 2008 it was considered to be a pretty big risk for publisher EA. Developer DICE was well-known for the successful Battlefield series, but this new game was unlike anything they had attempted before.  Mirror’s Edge was the story of Faith, a courier who travels the rooftops delivering packages for those who don’t trust their messages to be delivered via the traditional channels. While the story may not have been revolutionary, the gameplay certainly was. A first person action/platformer, the game had players sprinting from one destination to the other and using parkour to wall run and leap from rooftop to rooftop. The game received generally positive reviews, but most agreed that the formula needed some fine tuning and sales were not what EA had been hoping for.

edge1Fast forward to almost five years later and E3 2013, where after plenty of rumors and speculation EA announced that they were going to be bringing Mirror’s Edge back for another shot. The new game was titled Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and would be a reboot of sorts, telling the origin story of Faith Conners and her adventures in the futuristic city called Glass.

Not content to just churn out a sequel, DICE took the criticism and feedback they received from the first game and addressed many of the issues players had. Gone are the firearms which felt clunky and slowed the action down in the original game, players will now focus exclusively on hand to hand combat to keep the momentum flowing, learning different techniques to deal with varying enemy types. They’ve also addressed the concern that the first game was too linear by creating a large open world city, giving players more freedom to explore and find the fastest routes to their destinations.

They’ve also expanded on the Time Trials of the original game by introducing Social Play. This allows you to create your own trials by placing markers throughout the city and challenging your friends to complete them. You can also place what are called Location Emitters throughout Glass for your friends to try to find. These news methods of play ensure that after the story mode is completed that there will be plenty to keep you busy for weeks to come.

One of my favorite things about the original game were the look and sounds of the game. It had a very distinct style that made it stand out from the pack. Luckily the sequel seems to have retained that flair as the game looks stunning with the new Frostbite 3 engine. All of the bright clean colors are there but with even greater detail and fidelity. Also, composer Solar Fields is back to create the music for the game and popular synthpop group Chvrches has created an original song to serve as the theme for the game.

The original Mirror’s Edge was one of the most promising games to come out of the last generation and it’s exciting to see what DICE is capable with a second chance at the franchise. We’ll all be able to find out if the 2nd time is the charm when the game is released early this month.

 

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