— Would you look at that! No spoilers! —
Platforms: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Developer: EA Dice
What’s Mirror’s Edge Catalyst about?
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is the ‘reboot’ to the 2008 Mirror’s Edge. Catalyst takes place in Glass, an anti-utopian city where, you guessed it, most of the city is made from glass, with the city’s law enforcement (K-Sec or Kruger Security) is under the complete control of Gabriel Kruger. Gabriel leads the Kruger Holding corporation, which is one of 13 other corporations. Everyone but ‘runners’ are connected to the Grid, an expansive network that digitally connects everyone to everything . You can imagine how it would be pretty bad if everyone was connected to one network.
Faith is the main protagonist, just like in the original game and it revolves around her. When Faith was a child, her family was murdered by K-Sec, but Faith managed to escape. If I tell you anymore, I’ll ruin the story for you. Unfortunately, the story lacks and you wouldn’t be missing out even if I did spoil anything. The opening mission wasn’t bad, and neither was one moment during the end mission, which was probably the best thing about the story and it didn’t even directly involve the main villain. It’s everything else that severely lacks.
Most of the story missions consisted of the same thing and they’re not very interesting either. They either involve Faith getting to a certain place, climbing a building or taking out a bunch of K-Sec personnel. Playing through it was difficult in the sense that I had to force myself to finish it, and that’s never a good thing in a game. Other than Faith (the only character I cared for), not one character I could find myself liking as they all felt so, dull and uncharacteristic.
While heading from one story mission point to another also felt like a chore. The open world isn’t bad, but it’s not entirely good either. It all feels like a giant, unnecessary filler. In fact, if the game didn’t have to make you travel by foot between missions, you would most likely shave off roughly an hour or so of play time. Keep in mind it took me about 7 hours to finish the story. Once you’re done with the story however, there isn’t really any incentive other than user created races and getting as fast a time as you can in races/delivery missions.
How does it play?
Now it’s not all bad. The free running aspect is actually quite smooth and enjoyable, especially when you have your roll and double wall run abilities. You can do all sorts of nifty tricks while traversing the rooftops. This is the good part of the open world. You have a huge playground all to yourself and if you’re not doing any story missions, it’s a lot better.
Combat is part of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and although you can choose to run from it, there are some missions (yup, the story) where you’re forced to engage the K-Sec soldiers. I would have loved the combat if it isn’t so clunky and I did like it when I first got into a battle, but eventually it becomes very frustrating. Sometimes trying to run past an enemy will result in you dodging around him for a few seconds instead. Kicks feel static and unintuitive, and after the first couple of times, it feels gimmicky. Sometimes when fighting against a Sentinel K-Sec soldier, you’ll get hit when you shouldn’t be and fighting against them isn’t exciting at all, even though they’re the toughest of the K-Sec. The enemies also look the same, or at least very similar and it becomes boring as a result.
On the other hand, side missions aren’t so bad. They’re more enjoyable than the story because things don’t feel as forced. The problem again is these side quests are similar to what you do in the story and, once you finish the story, you don’t feel very motivated to do anything else. A lot of side quests are also simple ‘get from point A to point B’ missions, which isn’t all that exciting.
Hunting for collectibles are a nice way to take your mind of the story. A huge part of the game involves you taking routes other than the one that guides you because the one that guides you isn’t always the best route. So it’s up to you, the player to find out which routes are the fastest or safest. As you’re exploring and constantly running (which is the point of the game), you’re always stumbling across collectibles and side missions. That’s what makes it feel like a parkour game.
Let’s talk skills. As I mentioned earlier, the parkour is much more engaging once you’ve unlocked Faith’s ability to roll, double wall run, extended slide and other improve jumps. It is a little funny having to unlock the ability to roll, as an experienced free runner and it does feel silly as Faith should be able to do it without the need to unlock it.
There are other tools in Faith’s kit that she can use, such as the Mag Rope and Disruptor. The Mag Rope is used to traverse long distances by latching onto hooks and pulling yourself or swinging across huge gaps. The Disruptor is one of my favourite abilities that can be unlocked to temporarily disorient your enemies. It’s great to use when trying to escape or if you’re in a bit of a pickle. Although I didn’t use it much because of how easy it is to dispatch of K-Sec soldiers. The A.I. is also not very ‘intelligent’. Most of the time, it looks like the soldiers put themselves in a position where you can easily take advantage of them. They’re not difficult to trick and they aim like stormtroopers.
Looks great, but lacks in too many areas
Catalyst scores high in the visual department as it does look slick, polished and beautiful, with the graphics on my computer set to high/ultra. The animations are tight and feel believable, especially gestures. You can’t deny it, the game looks stunning, but unfortunately, the game lacks in many areas. It’s essentially the same Mirror’s Edge back in 2008 with a few added features and better visuals. There’s only a few things that are good about this game, but they’re not enough to save Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and make it a great game. It’s missing that ‘special factor’.
Have you played Mirror’s Edge Catalyst? If so, what do you think of it? If not, why not? I’m interested in what you think!