The original Mirror’s Edge launched nearly eight years ago, and with the abundance of parkour-oriented action/adventure games we see today, it debatably hasn’t aged that well. For its time, it nonetheless broke new ground with its first-person platformer style and entertaining gameplay, but often Faith was tripping over her own feet. With Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted, and even horror game Dying Light providing stellar climbing mechanics, the upcoming Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (releasing May 24) has some tough competition if it aims to impress. Here are some improvements we hope to see in the upcoming game.
More Fluidity Between Combat and Parkour
Mirror’s Edge was at its best when it was fast. If you kept up momentum, the gameplay felt smoother, but it wasn’t without interruptions. Sometimes this was more related to the trial-and-error gameplay, but other times, the problem went deeper. Clunky combat maneuvers often would bring your run to a stop, and difficult jumping puzzles would slow down the speed of the game. It would be nice to see more fluidity between running and enemy encounters in a way that doesn’t slow down the quickness of the game.
Clearer Objectives and Runner Vision
When changing the camera to view your objective location in the original, it wasn’t always clear if it was near or far. The ambiguity sometimes meant a bit of backtracking or confusion in terms of which path to take. While I don’t necessarily want to be dragged by a leash to my objective point, having a clearer idea of its proximity would be helpful in Catalyst, especially in an open-world setting. With runner vision, which adds a red tint to objects you can grab and interact with, these markers would fade at times without reason. More stability would be a great improvement in Catalyst, and hopefully the ability to set runner vision on or off, depending on one’s play style, will still be possible.
Pressing the left bumper button on PlayStation and Xbox controllers was awkward for jumping to avoid obstacles. However, one of the larger issues with control input in Mirror’s Edge was with collision detection. For example, sometimes Faith wouldn’t make the leap to another building’s ledge even though it was timed correctly. Other moves required practice to master, such as the wall jump, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’d still like to see that same difficulty curve in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst that involves repetition of moves to progress towards mastery, but the collision detection problem needs to be addressed. A better configuration of button mapping would greatly help (luckily, an earlier PlayStation 4 update allows you to configure your own mapping of buttons for the DualShock 4 controller).
An Engaging Story
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst promises for a more character-driven story with a focus on Faith’s past. This premise has potential and is a welcome shift, especially since a more engaging storyline would have brought depth to its predecessor, which was muddled with uninteresting characters. With the City of Glass’ oppressive government system of mega-corporation, rebel groups, and illegal courier initiative of runners, the basic concepts have a lot meat; if fleshed out, it could create a fantastic and immersive story. Mirror’s Edge only touches upon the surface of these ideas, so it would be great to see Catalyst further pad them out.
Breathing Life into the World
The aesthetic of the City of Glass is a mix of red, blue, and white hues, which creates a crisp, clean look. But without civilian NPCs, atmospheric sounds, and a general liveliness to the world, it can seem incredibly barren. Mirror’s Edge looked good, but it didn’t feel as real as it could have. In Catalyst, with its new open-world approach, I’d like to see a more exciting world to explore with several quests to keep me busy.
Variation to Gameplay
Time trials were a great addition to Mirror’s Edge, and I hope to see their return in Catalyst through side quests. However, what the original game lacked was variety. Mirror’s Edge did what it did well, but if we’re enlarging the setting to an open world, an expansion of side quests and additional content outside of the main campaign is needed. I’d love to see a mix of story-driven quests, races, and climbing puzzles that feel different enough from each other to stand on their own.
Mirror’s Edge remains one of my top games, but it wasn’t perfect, and I hope to see some of these issues ironed out in the sequel. Do you have any suggestions for improvements you hope to see in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst? What were your thoughts on the original game? Let us know in the comments below.