Mirrors Edge: Catalyst Review. Big Brother is still Watching
Our favorite runner is back, faster and grander than ever. Catalyst aims to bring back the original gameplay mechanics that we originally fell in love with. However, the game suffers from a probable ambition that made it forget a key part of what endeared it to gamers the first time.
The graphics in Mirrors Edge have always been excellent, but the textures are a little off in this installment. The characters are superbly modeled, and the expanse of the open world Glass City is an architectural marvel. The setting is glaringly white for my visual tastes though, and you might feel a little strain on your eyes if you play for too long. The runs are perfect, and you’ll feel that adrenaline rush whenever you are scaling walls or rolling down a zip-line.
This game is a prime example of how sequels can always turn out to disappointments. The plot follows the ending of the first Mirrors Edge, where Faith was imprisoned. This episode starts with her release from prison and explores her joining up with a militant movement bent on taking down the totalitarian Glass regime. The game introduces several angles such as her lost sister, Black November (the militants), Gabriel Kruger as a major character, and other numerous arcs. The storyline is quite convoluted in my view, and it deviates from the original simplicity of the first game. The vague cutscenes also don’t do much to aid this effort.
The gameplay mechanics are still as fresh, maybe even better than the first installment. You’ll literally feel like you’re Faith actually doing her runs. The game encourages you to speed up and keep up momentum, and this gives your health bar and shields a direct benefit. The hint system is still in place, moving ahead of you and well contrasted against the mostly white background.
The running controls are still as fluid, primarily based on your LB/RB buttons. The combat is great when you are running. When you slow down or stop, however, everything turns clunky, and you’ll have a tough time beating up the soldiers and guards from Glass. Faith can no longer pick up and shoot weapons, which does away with what was possibly the clumsiest and most challenging part of the controls. A new HUD indicator also alerts you on the direction of incoming enemies.
Replay Value: 4.0
The open-world environment of Glass makes Faith’s runs even better and fluid, and you can fully enjoy the mechanics that the game was designed for. In fact, you can create time trials and share them with friends. However, the convoluted storyline does little to enhance the experience, and I definitely found this a step down from the first installment. You can also engage in side quests which you can use to unlock more abilities and earn XP points.
Catalyst offers a return to the gameplay mechanics that we all loved in the first game. However, it also deviates from the structured simplicity that made the first installment such a huge success. The cut scenes are terrible, and the storyline doesn’t mesh at all with the gameplay. Glass is just as pleasant to run through as it was the first time, but this version still fails to deliver on the storyline.
- Movement mechanics and physics are superb.
- Offers user-made trials.
- Combat is lackluster.
- Framerate dips and grainy texture.