When the first Mirror’s Edge released in 2008, wasn’t what we’d call “Ground-Breaking”, but the acclaim it garnered and the innovations it brought to the table was anything but. With polished gameplay and innovative mechanics, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call it the predecessor of modern first-person parkour reliant games like Dying Light. It is now left to see whether Catalyst follows suit and breaks the mould, or treads the same grounds which we are now much more familiar with.

The game begins with Faith getting released from juvie and the reason for incarnation was rather serious with how the NPC’s mention it. Where it gets frustrating is when the game asks you to read the companion comic book, which supposedly explains what had led her here. I understand that it is an interesting idea to adapt games into different mediums, but outright stating that players are required to purchase and read something outside of the main medium is relatively frustrating.

juvie

 …outright stating that players are required to purchase and read something outside of the main medium is relatively frustrating.

The mechanics still feel solid and the game looks drop dead gorgeous like the previous one, which still easily counts as one of the best looking games available in the market. However, unlike the first game, it allows you a more open-traversal where you don’t have to follow a linear path anymore. To properly make that work, the game doesn’t grant you with every available skill from the get go, instead forcing you to unlock them by points that you accumulate by levelling-up.

There are various ways to level-up, ranging from acquiring collectables to completing side-missions littered throughout the map. Certain areas and collectables are locked due to traversal restrictions initially, but once you gear up with the grappling hook, these areas become accessible. It is a classic, albeit interesting way of promoting exploration.

The only problem with the world however, is that it feels uninspired, and lacks a substantial amount of character. A great game, like The Witcher III: Wild Hunt uses its NPC’s to their fullest, making sure they feel like living breathing characters, each granted their own quirky personality. Catalyst unfortunately lacks any interesting NPC’s.

world

The main story is for the most part functional, but definitely not a page-turner by any means

The main story is for the most part functional, but definitely not a page-turner by any means, due to the lacking character development and meaningful twists. The gameplay fortunately makes up for it, especially with the overhauled first-person combat. A lot of people count Zeno Clash as the pinnacle of first person combat, but to me it was nothing but an uninspired mess with unresponsive gameplay. The combat in Catalyst is the stark opposite of that.

When it comes to third-person hand to hand combat, games like the Arkham series and Sleeping Dogs have done more than just innovate. When it comes to first-person games, that hadn’t happened until now. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst changes that with the addition of a responsive and enjoyable combat system that truly makes it feel like your punches are connecting, which is usually the main hurdle for first-person hand to hand combat games to overcome.

combat

a responsive and enjoyable combat system that truly makes it feel like your punches are connecting

What saddens me however is that the mechanic hasn’t received the acclaim from critics that it deserves so far. In my opinion more developers need to draw inspiration from it for their games. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst does eventually start to get repetitive, which mixed with the linear story hinders the overall long-term experience, but odds are that by the time that comes to pass, you would have long finished the campaign.

Lastly, Solar Fields has once again provided the game with an excellent soundtrack, utilising cutting edge samples and an adrenaline pumping bpm to reflect the game’s fast paced action and its futuristic setting. Overall, I quite enjoyed my time with Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, but the thin plot and uninspired world prevents it from becoming a cherished memory in my mind like its predecessor, which honestly did kind of let me down.



Author

Haris Iqbal
Haris Iqbal

I am a guy who loves anything with a powerful storyline, whether it be a game, book or movie, it doesn't matter. Just so long as it hooks me in and keeps my imagination captive till the last word/scene! Also, I am huge Silent Hill fan, so I love all things Silent Hill... and anything horror. Huge horror fanatic!