Taking a rest from Star Wars and Battlefield, DICE decided to bring back 2008’s Mirrors Edge after fans had been crying out to see Faith free-flowing across roof tops again. But, is Mirrors Edge Catalyst the game the fans wanted?So Mirror’s Edge was a risky game when it ran into gamers hearts, mixing first person gameplay with platforming action. For the most part it was a fine combination, with some great parkour mixed with some brilliant stark and simplistic design styles. I wasn’t without its flaws though, but I think given the risky concept, fans were willing to look over them.
The trouble is with Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is that the game still has the same flaws and 8 years on, with new consoles and more power, I don’t think fans will be so forgiving this time over.
As with the first game, the characters and story are not the best, it’s an empty story full of empty characters that you just find really hard to care about. It tries too hard to be hip and cool and gets lost in a mix of serious and satirical but does neither really well. The characters are just so forgettable I couldn’t tell you anything about them. The setting, Glass City although looking great, and is nice and large with plenty to do , doesn’t have the same design awe as the first game did in 2008, if I can be so bold, it seems a little outdated now, with EA trying too hard to reproduce a super clean, super designed Orweliian Future they could.
However, the free running has been tweaked a lot and it’s actually a real pleasure to navigate the city rooftops. You’re given a wider field of view, the platforming is super forgiving and the minimalist controls and uncluttered HUD makes the parkour gameplay a breeze. As you’re running though the city your focus meter fills up meaning you’ll be running at top speed and are immune to bullets and can take out foes in a satisfying chain combo. The only downside is that you have to unlock all of Faiths’ abilities to really get the most out of it. Good in a way, as it keeps you playing to upgrade Faith to the max. Bad in other ways as some of the moves you have to unlock were available to Faith all the time in the first game so you feel a little short-changed. This also makes time trials a little pointless until you have fully maxed Faith out. Generally the whole essence of Mirror’s Edge (gameplay wise at least) feels more refined, the indoor sections work much better now too. The only downside is, as with the first game, you can’t always see where you’re supposed to go, meaning you have to stop your super flowing run to look around and see where to head next.
The combat, like the first game isn’t so hot. It’s overly simple and not very exciting. It works though, just. It’s just not very complex, or engaging. It is what it is, Faith can’t pick up weapons so when your fighting an army with just your feet and fists you’re going to be limited with options, although a new dodge mechanic makes things a little more exciting. Only a little though.
It’s nice that Mirror’s Edge is open world, Something I didn’t expect given the nature of how gamers would need to navigate the map. But low and behold when you press the touch pad, you’ll be presented with a huge map littered with side quests and collectibles which gives you plenty to do. DICE have done a great job of making a giant playground for you to explore, especially as it’s not as simple as walking or driving. What ever you’re doing in the game, you’re going to have to be able to get there, so the design of the city is actually pretty incredible when you think about it. Plus, given the nature of the gameplay of Mirror’s Edge getting from point A to point B is also a bit of game too, and it never feels like a chore. Not like other open-world games where you want to fast travel, or get in a car or what have you. It’s also a nice opportunity to hone your running skills.
Mirror’s Edge uses the mighty Frostbite engine but there are some serious graphical crap going on, The graphics of the NPCS is PS3 standard, the rag doll physics are perhaps the worst you’ve seen and the game glitches a fair bit too. I’m sure a lot of this can be fixed with patches, but for now it’s surprising given the sterling work Frostbite as done to date.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is better than the first game in practically all aspects. The free-running is pleasure to use and you do get a sense of satisfaction when your running at full steam. The combat kind of ruins the flow of the game, it works when there are just one or two bad guys but anymore and it’s just a frustration. The city looks great, and is huge with plenty to do and see so you won’t get bored anytime soon, but unfortunately the story and characters will bore you far more quickly than the actual gameplay ever will.
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst PS4 (Reviewed) and all other formats
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we purchased the game