Mirror's Edge Catalyst Review

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst could’ve been a much better game

By Grayshadow, Posted 10 Jun 2016

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a beautiful parkour platformer. The adrenaline of running through Glass, defying tyrants, and performing impossible leaps of faith are all present in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. However the experience quickly loses appeal down due to poor narrative and a heavy focus on collecting items. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst takes too many missteps as it attempts to revitalize series known for high-speed momentum.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst,EA DICE,DICE,EA,NoobFeed,

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has players in control of a Runner named Faith Connors. Runners are couriers who delivery sensitive items for those willing to pay and refuse to connect to the Grid, a massive digitally system that connects everyone in Glass. 13 corporations headed by Conglomerate families control every aspect of life and Faith and the rest of the Runners are a small group of many others who seek to rebel against the tyrannical powers that control everything in Glass.

After being released from prison Faith rejoins the cause led by her mentor and father-figure Noah. Turns out Faith is in debt with a local crime boss and must repay him or face the consequences. As you might expect things become complicated with Faith finding herself in the center of a giant conspiracy between the controlling Corporations and the people. Fate actions will determine the fate of not only Glass but the world.

The story attempts to deliver a solid narrative but due to inconsistent voice-acting, stale characters, and predictable situations it states to wear and tear. At times performances do shine, such as when Faith has a mental breakdown or attempts desperately to negotiate for information, however most of the time you’ll listen to dull writing. In one scene Faith finds out a massive detail about her family, but instead the entire scene felt dry and unmoving; almost like Faith didn’t care but wanted too.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst,EA DICE,DICE,EA,NoobFeed,

Gameplay is the highpoint of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. You’ll sprint, jump, climb, and wallrun across multiple areas throughout Glass. When everything syncs together traveling through the open world is brilliant, seeing Faith easily traverse through the landscape. This feeling of locomotion is further amplified with atmospheric touches such as the squeak of glass under Faith’s feet, listening to her breath heavily, and the quick gasp of air when leaping onto a ledge.

The grappling hook you pick up halfway through the campaign helps sell the idea of Faith’s insane traversal ability. With this Faith can easily clear massive gaps, zipline up ledges, or pull barricades down provided that a stationary point is available. 

If you find yourself lost a helpful guide is available to show the correct path called Runner’s Vision. This Echo shows the ideal direction to take, however you can take whatever path you desire. What’s problematic is that this mechanic is often removed without warning. 

Mirror's Edge Catalyst,EA DICE,DICE,EA,NoobFeed,

Glass is an open world, unlike the original game where levels were separated. A built-in feature that allows you to create your own time trials takes advantage of this open world, which show up as optional events. Side Questions and other missions are also available to build up your experience and explore didn’t areas within the city. 

Expect to die a lot in Catalyst. While the game’s Runner Vision points you in the right direction you’re encourage to experiment with different routes and gameplay tactics. Loading screens are short and checkpoints are merciful. 

Experience points are used to invest into abilities such as movement, combat, and gear. Each one offers different advantages but most of these skills seem more necessary than optional. For example unless you upgrade Faith’s combat you can find yourself at a severe disadvantage during force combat situations.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst,EA DICE,DICE,EA,NoobFeed,

Combat has been drastically improved from the original game but still remains the low point. Faith no longer uses guns, instead all combat is entirely made of punches and kicks. Enemies are separated into four categories, each with their own tier of difficulty. The lowest tier can easily be defeated by spamming the attack button but stronger opponents require more tactical movements. Unless you invest into upgrading Faith’s combat fighting can become painful, forcing you to spam the same weak move over and over until they fall. You can actually cheat the AI and kick enemies onto higher ledges, forcing the game to deplete the enemy’s healthbar. Sometimes enemies will also get caught in the geometry and result in an instant kill, this happened very frequently throughout my playthrough.

Certain situations force Faith to defeat everyone within the area. These combat arenas are rare and far-between but serve as the most upsetting parts of Catalyst. If you happen to successfully pull off a combo Faith will perform a cinematic finishing move.

Outside from the campaign and side-missions Catalyst is full of things to do, but they’re all delivery missions and collecting items. Deliveries involve Faith take the same tube-like item from Point A to Point B in a finite amount of time. Dialogue sometimes plays broadening the sensitive nature of the package but eventually it becomes white-noise. Electronic parts, Gridleaks, Secret Bags, Billboards to hack, and other items are littered throughout Glass but none of them are as interesting as the recordings. These provide insight to how the people in Faith’s journey has interacted with the everyman within Glass.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst,EA DICE,DICE,EA,NoobFeed,

Catalyst is beautiful, especially Glass. The city is full of color, with each area covered in a blanket of bright hues specific to that area. The residential area is dotted with tress with purple flowers and the construction site has bright yellow signs everywhere. This doesn’t translate to the in-game character models who look dull and lifeless, especially when compared to other next-generation games. 

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a refreshing ad unique take in the first-person genre. During its shining moments you’ll find yourself cruising across Glass, effortlessly performing incredible parkour moves. The crushing weight of Catalyst’s poor story and uninspiring horde of collectables and delivery distractions cause Faith’s return to fall short. I’m not disappointed with Mirror’s Edge Catalyst but it could’ve been a much better game.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher(s): EA
Developer(s): EA DICE
Genres: Action-Adventure
Themes: Parkour
Release Date: 2016-06-07

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