Back in 2008, Faith’s parkouring adventures in the first Mirror’s Edge proved to be a revelation. Now, EA risks taking all the fun out of that in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst with fancier gimmicks.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst restarts the adventure of original protagonist, Faith as she is released from prison and has to pay off some debts and get accustomed to the new colour scheme in some metropolis from the far distant future. There are probably hover cars and stuff. Funnily enough, the first Mirror’s Edge was set in 2015 in a city filled with white buildings and glass towers.
The charm in its predecessor was the combat. As you could choose to engage with everyone you meet with a dropkick to the face and gunfire, or you could leg it past them. Either way, you got a choice. In the reboot, however, you’re forced to fight. It would be alright if the combat was fun, but it’s really not. The AI are predictable with a hint of beige about them.
They have dropped the closed level schematics that they had in the first game, in favour of an open world setting. In the beta, the buildings were a force to behold, but some of the features in the landscape were a poor resolution. And the lil’hover cars down on the ground kept crashing into each other and glitching through roundabouts. For such a big city, there’s very little personality about it.
Parkouring is still fun as hell. There are handy red markers along the routes you take that help with plotting your escape. Of course, if you want a decent challenge (A.K.A. Constantly falling off scaffolding), you can turn this off. You have to unlock most of your skills as you progress through the game, with Faith rolling when she jumps a bit far so she doesn’t splatter on the floor being one of them. Fan-favourite skill, quick turning is also a locked skill when you first play.
Catalyst takes away that sense of constantly running away from things. That air of fear in the last game made you figure out Faith’s steps carefully as one slip-up could result in a barrage of soldiers putting some nice bullet holes in you. If she’s too powerful through the levelling up system, this will ruin that.
One major issue that stems from the beta is the failure trigger. If you tell Faith to do something that’s a tiny bit different to the instruction on the screen, you fail. In particular, when you bump into two guys on a roof and you’re told to beat them up. The temptation is obviously too much and one guy “accidentally” flies off the roof. But “Mission Failed” rears its ugly head as you didn’t use one guy to beat up the other guy. The only mission failures in the last game happened when you fell off a building or was killed by enemies.
The formula crafted in Mirror’s Edge was solid gameplay mechanics with little substance. Now that they’ve added the substance, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has defeated the simplicity of what it once was.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is available to preorder on Amazon before June 9 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Meanwhile, if you want to parkour with an undead twist, try…
Dying Light (Xbox One/PS4/PC)