From the 8 minute introduction video I was shown before the gameplay demo, it's clear the DICE is trying to make a fresh start with Mirror's Edge Catalyst. They talked about building a new foundation for the series and hinting at Faith being a catalyst for some world events in the game world.
In the 13 minute hands-on gameplay demo I got to play, we were shown a little bit of story stuff and some of the game's environments. Starting in a dark dingy ally with a moody atmosphere, it shows something absent from the first game's very clean world. Then it was back to the familiar pristine white rooftops. The City of Glass is filled with fake adverts to drive home the corporate hold on the city.
The movement and free running feel very similar to the first game but combat has been sped up quite a bit. It now seems to be very offensive but quick. You hit an enemy a few times then are on your way again straight away, less of the countering from the first game. They have also added some cinematic finishing moves when fighting enemies. A hook-swing has also been added, allowing for more options to move through the world. Since the areas of the game seem to be much more open than the first game, this allows you to swing over big gaps in the rooftops.
There were three challenges to accomplish in the area of Mirror's Edge Catalyst. One was a time trail where you followed the arrows trying to beat the best time. The other was an environmental puzzle to climb up and change what was being displayed on the billboard. Lastly was the delivery mission. This had you pick up an item from a certain location and try to get it to a drop point whilst KSEC members try to kill you.
Moving through the world still feels like the meat of the game, timing your jumps and rolls still seems very fun. The changes to combat seems to make it less reliant on the timed counter attacks and instead focuses on a faster offensive attack with some finishing moves.
Mirrors Edge Catalyst is set for a February 25th 2016 launch.