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Mirror’s Edge Catalyst beta has a bad stuttering issue

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst returns us to a brightly-lit world filled with primary colors, parkour, and messenger bags. It’s been almost eight years since the first Mirror’s Edge was released, and this follow-up is trying to expand on the original concept by giving players an open world to run around in. Unfortunately, the performance issues seen in early builds is cause for concern.

After suffering numerous delays, Catalyst is set to release on June 7th here in North America. A closed beta for the game ran last month, and it seems to have received something of a mixed reaction. Much of what made the original game unique is still there, but the move to the open world seems to be divisive among fans. Worse yet, it doesn’t run particularly well on the PS4 and Xbox One.

Over at the Digital Foundry, the beta has been examined from soup to nuts. The PS4 version is being rendered at 900p, but the Xbox One is stuck at just 720p. 60fps is the target frame rate, but it definitely falls short on both consoles. Seeing the frame rate fluctuate between 40fps and 60fps is common, but it dips down even lower from time to time.

It’s worth mentioning the original game was capped at 30fps, and the responsiveness suffered because of that. For game that’s all about quick action and flow, that’s definitely suboptimal. It’s nice to see the developers at DICE strive for 60fps, but this beta just doesn’t deliver the goods. The wonky frame rate and frame pacing cause visual hitches, and that results in a rather choppy appearance at times.

Strangely, the cutscenes seem to be pre-rendered videos capped at 30fps, but they suffer from dropped frames as well. Digital Foundry thinks this might be caused by an asset streaming issue, but regardless of the cause, this is enough to make us raise an eyebrow.

Of course, these kinds of compromises aren’t entirely surprising. Other Frostbite 3 games like Star Wars Battlefront and Battlefield 4 had the same resolution constraints, and didn’t deliver perfectly locked frame rates either. On the upside, performance does tend to improve by the time the final release rolls around, so it’s possible that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst will be in better shape at retail.

It probably goes without saying that the PC version is in better shape. Provided that you have the hardware to meet the game’s demands, you can reach 1080p with relative ease. You’ll also benefit from better visuals like high-res textures, reflections on wet floors, and improved alpha effects. If you have access to a gaming PC, that’s almost certainly going to be the best way to play.

As always, we need to be mindful of the nature of pre-release builds. The final version could work perfectly, or it might suffer from a host of problems we haven’t even seen yet. It’s too soon to tell, so just pass on the pre-order. Let’s see how the game holds up on launch day before making a purchasing decision.

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