Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: PS4
Developer: EA Digital Illusions
Publisher: EA Games
Distributor: Prime Interactive
Release Date: 9 June 2016
7 years after the release of the original Mirror’s Edge, EA and DICE teamed up to create a new and bigger version of the game. Instead of a linear mission-based game, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is now open world. Faith has a ton of new gadgets at her disposal, and the parkour is the best it has ever been.
Unfortunately, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst might improve on quite a number of issues found in the original game, but it still feels like it is stuck in the past somehow. Instead of taking place after the original Mirror’s Edge, Catalyst is a reboot of Faith’s storyline, which takes place along a different timeline of the original game. The game still follows the same freedom themes which we experience in the original title, where the faction known as the Runners fight every day for freedom and civil liberties. EA relies on a comic book series to lead up to Catalyst, which felt like a cheap tactic to buy into the game. If you manage to grasp the story without the comic books, then Mirror’s Edge Catalyst will make more sense. If you not, then the characters and much of Faith’s past will be rather confusing. Returning characters from the first title make an appearance in the game, but their intentions are based on the new story.
As you make your way around the City of Glass, you will come to terms with Faith and all her parkour abilities. Faith can sprint and run up walls, then kick off a wall to another ledge across from you, and then slide down a rope. As you play the game more combos become available through the upgrade tree and gadgets which let Faith grapple up and swing across large gaps between buildings. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’s open world setting is ideal for the gameplay, and is a welcome addition to the series. The open world means new places to test out jumps and all the other tricks and skills Faith possesses.
The setting is huge, and half way into the game, your map becomes one overcrowded collection of icons, as more and more side objectives are available to take on. GridNodes are available which unlock fast travel between safe houses. There are time trials which sees you running from one end to the other. Delivery missions let you test your speed in a short amount of time.
The GridNode challenge rooms are a welcomed and enjoyable experience. Faith would enter a room, where she has to explore the best route to the end by avoiding lasers and security traps. This added a sense of puzzle meets parkour to the game, which left us wishing for more.
Everything you do in the game awards you XP.
When it comes to combat, Faith is not the best in her class. Combat is best left alone as combos and move sets are clumsy and feel awkward. Faith cannot take on a group of enemies alone, so when you are outnumbered, you spend your time running around corners and approaching the group of enemies like a scared raccoon. Some enemies are only able to be taken down a certain way, which limits the combat greatly. The worst is when you need to take down armed guards with guns, and they are firing at you relentlessly. The combat is not enjoyable at all, even after you have unlocked the later upgrades in Faith’s skills tree.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is one of a kind and has much going for it. Unfortunately, the game’s weak story and frustrating level restrictions, combined with the terrible combat system, make it feel more like a chore than an adventure. If you loved the original, or parkour, then this is for you.