Eight years after the release of Mirror’s Edge, players will once again have the chance to step into the shoes of parkour runner extraordinaire, Faith Conners. Parkour is fairly ubiquitous in games, but what makes the Mirror’s Edge games stand out from the pack is the fact that they are played from a first person perspective, so every jump, slide, swing, wall-run and roll becomes an immersive, vertiginous thrill.
A prequel to the original game, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst delves into Faith’s backstory and expands the city, eschewing the linear levels of the first game for a semi-open world rife with the potential for exploration. Runner vision is still present in the game (the mechanic that highlights the objects that can be climbed, mantled, jumped on and what have you), but the nature of the open world has changed the implementation. Rather than highlighting everything in the area, the runner vision will instead only highlight what’s important in any given mission or the best possible route to any waypoint the player sets on the map. As a prequel, Catalyst will also explain what this runner vision is. We don’t have all the details as yet, but it has to do with some kind of eye implant or overlay given to Faith by her mentor. As an open world, players should also expect the city to be full of collectibles to discover and collect. Collectibles aren’t that interesting a feature, but the fact that players will have to discover ways to navigate the city to find them should make for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The combat mechanics, far and away the worst thing about the original game, have been completely overhauled – Faith will no longer be capable of picking up and using guns so must rely on two different types of melee attacks to defeat enemies – momentum attacks that allow her to disable an enemy whilst maintaining her momentum, and transference attacks that transfer her momentum to an enemy, knocking them through windows, off roofs or into other enemies. The combat mission we played on the show floor was fairly simple and easy to beat in the 13 minutes we were given for hands on time, but we’re sure that combat will become progressively more difficult as the game goes on. From our experience with both the combat and the game in general, keeping up speed and momentum seem to be the order of the day.
While running, Faith is essentially immune to gunfire, so quickly taking out enemies and moving on
to the next, staying constantly in motion looks to be key to winning any engagement. Similarly, speed and momentum are key to most parkour movements – without sufficient momentum wall running, mantling, swinging and the like aren’t possible. Key to keeping up this momentum is timing jumps and rolls so there is no break in the flow of movement. We can’t wait to tear across rooftops when the game comes out early next year.