Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (PS4) review
Set as a prequel to 2008’s Mirror’s Edge, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst sees players once again control Faith, a runner who exists outside the law in the City of Glass, a city owned by an evil business conglomerate. At the start of the game, Faith is recently released from prison, but as she goes to return to her normal runner duties as a courier, she stumbles upon a dark secret and those who rule the city will do anything to make sure Faith doesn’t reveal their secret.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is similar to its previous iteration with the game putting an emphasis on movement and parkour like techniques. Also, like the previous game, Faith doesn’t use weapons as she utilises her parkour skills to get the drop on her enemies.
Now, while the emphasis on movement is greatly improved thanks to the open world nature of the game, there are problems. The most noticeable are the fact that if you don’t hit the up movement (L1) button or down movement (L2) button at the right time you will fall and die. This issue is also compounded by the fact that some upward movements require you to tap the L1 button or to press and hold it, and well this fact can lead to many accidental deaths. With that said the running feels amazing because when you master it, traversing the city feels like a breeze.
Moving away from the movement, let’s talk about the combat. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the combat in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is bad, but it has to be one of the most annoying combat systems I’ve had to endure. The main issue with the combat is the fact that Faith doesn’t use weapons and as such when she fights enemies that use ranged weapons you almost have to pray that you can dodge well and get close enough to beat them senseless. Combat is also hurt by the narrow FOV, which makes it impossible to see enemies in your peripheral vision. Finally, before I finish talking about combat I would like to voice my displeasure at the fact that game requires you to fight waves of enemies, it isn’t fun and for me, it was an exercise in frustration.
Now, let’s go back to the story. As I mentioned at the top of this review it involves Faith learning a dark secret. While the story has some high points, the story has numerous plot holes. For example, you never find out who was originally trying to steal the secret near the start of the game. The story is also highly predictable as I could predict deaths and reveals hours before they ever occurred.
Before leaving the story, I want to talk about some of the missions you need to complete. The missions range from somewhat interesting to ones that I never want to do ever again. The interesting missions are ones that focus on using your parkour-like moves and traversing the world, the missions I never want to do again involve fighting waves of enemies until an event happens and timed missions. Now, I’ll focus on timed missions because one mission, in particular, annoyed me a lot. The mission had me run to three arrays to gain control of the transport hub, to complete the mission I had to go to all three arrays in a certain amount of time. One of my failures was the timer running out just as I was pressing the button on the final array.
What did make the story bearable was its world and characters. The city of glass is an interesting location as it shows an interesting divide between the rich and poor. In terms of characters, I felt each main character was well fleshed out. I knew each character’s motives and none of their actions went against what I saw were their goals and personalities. One character that I took an interest in was Icarus. Icarus only joined the Runner Cabal a year ago, and my overriding feeling that the character would be a traitor as he was constantly at odds with Faith, but my feeling turned out to be wrong and Icarus was mainly wary of Faith, and as the story goes on, they do become friendlier to one another.
What else is there to say about the game? The game contains numerous side missions that include making a delivery and dash. Dash involves racing against the clock in an effort to be the fastest player in the game. The game also allows you to replay all missions, so if you want to find every single collectable you can do so. Replaying missions and finding collectables all help you gain experience points. Experience points allow you to upgrade your movement, combat and gear abilities. Personally, I recommend improving your combat ability as it makes fighting a bit less annoying.
Before I talk about graphics and audio, I want to mention runner’s vision and the Magrope. Runner’s vision is an incredibly handy tool that helps guide you around the world, with the click of a button the game shows you the best route to reach a destination. As for the Magrope, it is an extremely handy tool that helps improve your freedom of movement.
Now, let’s talk graphics and audio. Graphically the game uses the Frostbite 3 engine. For the most part, the engine works well, but there are noticeable pop-in and slow loading textures. In terms of audio, there was no major issue as the majority of the dialogue heavy scenes were done in cutscenes, which consists of far more detailed environments and character models.
Now with everything said and done, here is my conclusion.
While Mirror’s Edge Catalyst puts its open world setup to good use in terms of movement and exploration, it unfortunately suffers from a predictable story and a poor combat system.
|+ The movement when mastered feels incredible||– Combat simply isn’t fun|
|+ Interesting characters||– Story is predictable|
|+ Open world adventure||– Timed puzzles/missions|
|EA DICE||EA||Action Adventure||16+||PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One||June 7 (NA), June 9 (EU)|
For more information on Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, visit http://www.mirrorsedge.com/.