Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is the sequel/reboot to EA Dice’s original free running title released for the last gen consoles way back in 2008.
As a huge fan of the original game I was really excited to finally get my hands on with the “Reboot-quel” (honestly I can’t tell if it’s a sequel or a reboot) but found myself quite disappointed that some of the changes and additions made for the sequel were unneccessary and quite frankly: Unwelcome.
That’s not to say that this is a bad game by any means – just that many of the additions introduced in Catalyst detract quite heavily from the charm of the original game.
As per the original Mirror’s edge, the best of the gameplay is with the free running mechanics that the series revolves around whilst the combat featuted in the game is sub-standard and clunky, this is a much bigger problem in Catalyst though. In the original, you were encouraged to avoid combat as a runner and sprint past all the fighting that you could (there was even an achievement for fighting nobody in the game) which provided an excellent challenge and helped to push the boat on the skill of the player as a runner.
In Catalyst however, there are many sections of the game where you HAVE to fight a group of enemies before a certain door or elevator will allow itself to open – it puzzles me why DICE would force players to rely on the worst mechanic of the game so much and not allow players to just run away instead (Y’know, coz I’m a RUNNER!)
I did find that the main bulk of the gameplay was quite fantastic though, the free running mechanics whilst you dart around the city of Glass are spot on with Faith carrying out (most) of the actions that you command her to do pretty seamlessly and if not for this I feel I would have bailed on the game far earlier but this forced me to keep playing it until finish, that being said – there was the odd time that I would jump Faith towards a pillar or ledge only for her to decide she didn’t fancy grasping at it and falling to her doom. This is all ruined a little bit with the addition of the grappling hook that allows players to pull Faith through the world far easier, instead of using the running mechanics all the way through. Whilst this is a really minor thing to be annoyed about, I found myself avoiding the use of the grappling hook at every opportunity.
Before I finish this section of the review, it must be noted that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has a skill tree (yes you heard right) in which you have to use to unlock even the most basic of Mirror’s Edge commands. Remember the quick turn and the roll landing? Don’t expect to be using these from the outset of the game until you have done enough missions to rack up the exp to gain these. I feel this was such an unneccesary addition to the game that really ruined the entire beginning of the game for me.
The story in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is all about Faith as she… Honestly, I don’t know. Sorry guys! The story of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst did not hold my attention at all, by about the 4th hour of the game I wasn’t reading the mission objectives or anything as I just didn’t care anymore.
Okay okay I exaggerate a little bit, the Story follows Faith as she hunts down Gabriel Kruger after finding the blue prints for research on a tool that would control people actions and emotions…
Then it turns out that Faith’s dead sister who was announced in a flashback 2 hours ago is actually alive and is actually the girl you are keeping prisoner – you know, the ONLY OTHER ASIAN LOOKING GIRL IN THE GAME, you then spend the next portion of the game trying to save your sister from Kruger before the ending boss fight which is all told in a cut scene and you are not allowed to sprint back down the collapsing tower of the games final level.
If you are turned of by unremarkable stories in video games then Mirror’s Edge Catalyst probably isn’t for you, but realistically we came to Mirror’s Edge for the fantastic free running mechanics and awesome art style and setting… Which brings me nicely to my next point:
Appearance, Setting & Music
One of my fondest memories of the original Mirror’s Edge was the tightly woven free running playgrounds that were situated in each level, honing my skills down to be able to tackle the time trial mode and improve my score for each level. This is all but gone with the introduction of the open world aspect of the city of Glass, as you have a hundred different ways to go about the world and tackle the many, MANY side quests and story missions featured throughout, the open world setting of this ruins so much of the charm of the original game.
Graphically and musically though I cannot really complain. The City of Glass is still a beautifully gleaming metropolis that, at times, is breathtaking from atop the roofs of the skyscrapers in the game. Catalyst has done away with the comic style story telling of the first game choosing instead to show the cut scenes using the ingame engine which does a lot for the immersiveness of the cut scenes instead of pulling your eyes away to look at something completely different, this would of looked great… If I wasn’t skipping all the cut scenes out of dis-interest.
A solid free running game that is bogged down by it’s own ambition into changing the formula, come the city but stay for the gameplay… But PLEASE just disregard the story.
A lot of additional things added to the formula that just were not welcome, including a grappling hook and a boring open world.