Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst launch was delayed twice since October 29th 2015 – but it will finally be in stores and shipped five days from now.
On June 7th North America can start vaulting and dashing through the open range of the ‘City of Glass’ – whereas the European gaming nations are strongly advised to stay away from any social media engagement after the launch, in defense of story spoilers, until June 9th, which is the official EU launch date.
What we do know, thanks to the existing gameplay footage and the six part comic-series Mirror’s Edge: Exordium that DICE had released in the past months: Faith has just spent two years in prison and now that she is out, she will give the all-ruling, all-governing authorities a hard time.
The ‘runners’ are neutral entities within the game whom you’ll encounter awkwardly often practicing wall-runs, but in the course of the story they will be forced to choose sides due to Faith’s actions alongside the resistance group Black November.
“Rebecca Thane (r.), head of the resistance group Black November and her inferiors have quite a sense of fashion. But can they trace with it?”
Faith’s Upgraded Skillset
In Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, Parkour became even more important and flawless. Where in the prequel, armed combat and playing offensive was a possible way to succeed, in Catalyst Faith will rarely be in touch with any ballistic weapons – and if so, it’s for the 3rd person action sequences in which we can watch Faith demonstrating her refined combat skills.
Next to a lot of hand-to-hand combat moves that make use of the surroundings, Faith can now swing around corners, confidently stride handrails and perform even sweeter aerial takedowns as we’ve seen in the trailers and the closed beta gameplays. And thanks to an added RPG element, we will be able to upgrade her skills according to our missions needs and our preferred maneuvers in between the open world missions.
For some reason, as we start the game, Faith forgot how to roll. Maybe due to her two years in a small prison cell? Well, at least we know a skill once mastered can easily be relearned.
Before upgrading, movements can feel a bit restrained, but a couple of hours into the game this shouldn’t be an issue.
Open World and Gymnastic Rolls
What could be worrisome with the open world, is that the first Mirror’s Edge lived from the linear paths with multiple routes, which created ever so dramatic last second changes in mind and direction to find shortcuts that were necessary for survival.
Having experienced parkour in the open world of Assassin’s Creed on the other hand felt too generic after a while, offering not enough variety in landscape and no opportunity for increasingly complex routes. Simply put, to just jump from house to house got boring quickly.
We hope that upgrading Faith’s skills will allow the player to take more challenging routes over time developing a personal runner’s vision allowing for more opportunities and diversity throughout the game.
“In the past we used to call it ‘parkour vision'”
One small bummer that we can’t spare you from – ‘Just why does Faith perform perfect gymnastic-front-rolls to break her falls? Doesn’t she know that she risks hurting her spine?’
Even though this may not flaw the overall parkour flow, it would’ve been nice if some more research went into the game in that regard. And we could stop worry about unhealthy landings.
Since DICE was taken over by Electronic Arts prior to releasing the first Mirror’s Edge Game in 2008, the demand and excitement for a sequel didn’t wear off.
The focus on flawless and flow-ful ‘free running’ as it is called in the game, made the game stand out for the past eight years, despite technological advancements to the advantage of countless competitors.
To share the remarkable feeling of flow with the rest of the ‘non-educated world’ [read: non parkour practitioners] is what it felt like playing Mirror’s Edge for the first time. Taking a leap across buildings, using the momentum of the roll to quickly get on your feet, striding straight into a step-vault, just to prepare for the next take-off…
That is an experience only accessible for very few. Of course it’s entirely different, holding a joystick after waiting 24 hours for an Amazon order, steering a virtual character through a computer animated world, compared to training for a third of your life to launch yourself in the air off your own two feet.
And one could argue about how effectively the virtual reality helped anyone to actually start training parkour, but the game definitely inspired many traceurs and freerunners to blur the gap between actual and fictional and create countless Mirror’s Edge fan videos.
The most outstanding of which is probably Claudiu Voicu’s interpretation? Not sure what to call this piece of art exactly:
Whereas Ambry NurHayati felt inspired to help defend Faith’s stand as a female runner amongst the many males.
Just to name two videos.
Mirror’s Edge sure left an impact on our scene and many individuals.
Whether or not Mirror’s Edge intends to make a point for gender equality, whether or not it’s meant to be a warning of closely monitoring government authorities, whether or not it will inspire people to become more capable movers in face of an upheaval…
It certainly is a piece of art that accompanied many for the past eight years, and we hope its revival will allow more people in the future to relate to the art of movement.
In case you’re planning to build a new parkour facility – *cough-TEMPEST-cough* – why not have a Mirror’s Edge themed section in it and set up some time trial challenges?
Surely a lot of kids could relate. Just don’t tell them they have to wear gloves to be a ‘runner’. ;)