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Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Beta Impressions: I Can’t Stop Playing

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I’ve been playing the Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Beta for about 3 days and I can’t stop playing. Seeing as how I didn’t want to spoil any of the game until it actually comes out, I tried not to get too far in the beta. I failed. I completed the narrative that’s present in the beta and I’ve nearly collected all of the collectables. I’m ashamed.

The original Mirror’s Edge is one of my favorite games of all time. Catalyst is exactly what the original should have been. All of the changes I’ve seen in the beta were changes that were made for the better. There are actual cutscenes, an upgrade system, notably awesome sound design, an aesthetic that is even more beautiful, user-generated content, fun combat, and an open-world that is fun to traverse through.

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I have no idea how I played the original Mirror’s Edge without an open world. The open world provides a number of benefits for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. The game has a mission system that is similar to many other open world games. You run around and receive missions and side missions from a number of different characters. There are also many time trial missions, which include user-generated time trials which provide endless opportunities in an open world free running game. The city looks beautiful. A simplified aesthetic and beautiful visuals provide a convincing dystopian look for a city that you would want to live in yet, not want to live in at the same time. The better you learn the city, the better you’re able to navigate and traverse through it. It feels like there’s a meta-progression system at place.

Being that there are no vehicles, you are forced to learn the city. At least, you are forced to learn the city’s rooftops. The entirety of the map in the beta took place on the rooftops of the city of glass. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case for the map of the main game. However, there are small areas of buildings that you can go inside of. Also, story missions often take place inside buildings and I wouldn’t be surprised if some story missions took place on the ground.

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Catalyst’s story seems more interesting than the original game’s. That being said, it still doesn’t seem very good. The beta didn’t get too deep into it and so I couldn’t tell you for sure how good the story is. There are actual cutscenes which are nice.

The sound design is noticeably good. I’m not the kind of person to notice sound design of all things but Mirrors Edge sounds amazing. When you slide down a slanted window you can hear squeak of your body against glass. You can hear the “tink” of a pole when you vault over it. The soundtrack is often very subtle in the way it supports the simple visual aesthetic. I most appreciated the sound design after feeling the satisfaction of hearing the mask of a security officer break after you drop kick him in the face.

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Speaking of drop kicks, the combat is greatly improved in this game. Attack buttons have been remapped to square and triangle. You can also use R2 to dodge left and right. This provides much variation and more options on how to approach combat. The animations are also very nice. The way that Faith moves makes combat feel fun, satisfying and quick. No weapons this time around which I’m fine with seeing as how they were not that good in the first game.

Overall, I’m very excited for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. All of the improvements feel like improvements. The game does what games are supposed to do and stays fun to play. As a fan of the original game, it is very easy for me to say that people should pick this game up when it comes out. Though, I have a feeling that people will be convinced after the game is out that it is amazing.

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