EGX 2015: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Hands-On Preview


GameSided Staff Writer Fraser G. recently attended EGX 2015 in the UK, gaining access to hands-on previews of some of the hottest upcoming AAA titles and indie games. Our EGX roundup series has now concluded, but you can find links to all of our features below.

#1 Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Hands-On Preview
#2 Soul Axiom Interview
#3 Star Wars Battlefront Hands-On Preview
#4 Aaero Interview
#5 Rise Of The Tomb Raider Hands-On Preview
#6 Indie Showcase – Fire Fu
#7 Just Cause 3 Hands-On Preview
#8 Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Hands-On Preview
#9 Indie Showcase – Just Shapes and Beats
#10 HTC Vive Hands-On Preview

EGX 2015 provided the UK public with their first chance to get hands-on with the highly anticipated Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, which is set for release early next year. When I finally made my way to the front of a lengthy queue to try out the game, a group of us were ushered into a separate area in which we were presented with a video showcasing the game’s new features, controls and gameplay.

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By the time I sat down to experience the game for the first time, I felt informed and able to concentrate on the game rather than getting distracted by control difficulties or progression issues. The whole thing felt professional and it was obvious that the Mirror’s Edge Catalyst development team had taken great care in putting the whole experience together.

The game itself was in a pre-alpha stage, and this was evident from a few technical difficulties which I witnessed other players experiencing from time to time. Nevertheless, the Mirror’s Edge Catalyst demo was anything but restricted. It started with a quick introduction to the game’s story, with protagonist Faith Connors being released back into the wilderness after presumably being imprisoned by the oppressive regime. After a few cutscenes and a brief encounter with an an additional character, the game’s story faded out.

It’s immediately obvious that the game’s graphics are a huge overhaul from the original Mirror’s Edge, and cutscenes in particular look stunning. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has decided to focus on realism in the visuals department and they’ve done a fantastic job, with authentic facial expressions and detailed environments.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’s gameplay felt instantly recognizable, while adding a layer of smoothness and refinement.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’s gameplay felt instantly recognizable, while adding a layer of smoothness and refinement. My freerunning skills were briefly put to the test in the preview’s story portion, with button prompts on the screen to remind me of how to traverse across the city. Anyone who has played Mirror’s Edge before should pick up the basics easily. The next segment of the demo provided me with an opportunity to explore the city of Glass at my leisure, with three optional tasks to fulfill.

The first of these tasks gave me an opportunity to test out the game’s new combat features. In an attempt to deliver an item from one area of the city to another, I encountered multiple enemies, and it was my task to utilize Faith’s hand-to-hand combat skills in order to progress. Combat is much improved from the original Mirror’s Edge, with an added emphasis on keeping in line with the game’s focus on smooth transitions and constant momentum.

Combat is based around timing, and it feels smooth and elegant. Pulling off impressive combat moves wasn’t a difficult thing to accomplish (a few taps of the X button was all that I needed to dispose of my enemies in the demo), but keep in mind that this preview was clearly tailored towards newcomers to the franchise. Faith can also pull off new finishing moves which are impressive on the eye.

The second segment of the preview was a challenge in ascending multiple structures, and this included climbing across poles, narrow ledges and attempting to pull off tough jump sequences. It was definitely the hardest task of the three, but it was never particularly frustrating, as traversal felt natural and responsive. The final segment was a timed sprint challenge which required the utilization of multiple control mechanics to make it to the finish in a quick time period.

it was never particularly frustrating, as traversal felt natural and responsive.

It’s very hard to judge Mirror’s Edge Catalyst at such an early stage in development, but what I’ve seen so far excites me for next year’s release. As much as I enjoyed the first game, it didn’t grab my attention in the same way that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has already managed to accomplish. Combat stands out as a huge improvement in particular, and the game’s freerunning mechanics are smoother than ever.

There are still plenty of questions to be answered, but for now, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is shaping up to be a must-own title for fans of the original game.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, and is currently scheduled for release on February 23, 2016.

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