Combat is also a lot smoother this time around as DICE has completely removed the awkward gunplay from the original game. In its place is a deep melee combat system whose biggest strength comes from the player being able to dictate the direction an enemy tumbles when they sustain a kick or heavy attack. This addition creates tons of opportunities for emergent gameplay as you knock enemies into walls, over ledges and even into each other. Keep an eye on this aspect of the game, it could very well be big time.
One thing that I can confidently say that will divide the player base is the addition of an Ability Progression system. Players now earn experience by completing missions and finding collectibles which level up Faith’s abilities. From a design perspective, you can understand that DICE is simply trying to create a better sense of investment in Faith’s character, but some of the abilities, such as the rolling when landing from large heights, were present in the first game. This makes unlocking them feel more superficial since it is something we’ve seen time and time again, not to mention that it’s kind of odd that a professional Runner would forget how to roll after being in jail.
All in all, Catalyst looks like it will be able to satisfy fans of the original game while attracting new ones to the series. Mechanically, the game is sound outside of a few oddities in ability progression and the story is way more involved this time around. It’s difficult to tell if the story will be worth investing into long term, but it is apparent that DICE has made a more concerted effort to make it relevant. Technically, the game is nice to look at, particularly on PC at full 1080p, but Xbox One owners look like they are going to be sacrificing resolution for frames-per-second. Honestly, if you have to make a sacrifice, frames should always trump resolution, so just know that no matter what platform you play on Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is going to run smoothly.
Daniel R. Miller
I'll play anything at least once. But RPG's, Co-Op/Competitive Multiplayer, Action Adventure games, and Sports Franchise Modes keep me coming back. Follow me on Twitter @TheDanWhoWrites