I loved Mirror’s Edge. A lot. But, seeing how the game failed in sales – how it was half price within a month. and a pittance within six, I’d written it off as one of those one-off experiences alongside Bully, Brutal Legend, Psychonauts, Sunset Overdrive and many of my other all time favourite games. So when a reboot/sequel was announced, I was over the moon.
Faith Connors is being released from jail after a two year sentence, and must take down evil benevolent leader Kruger and his daughter. Or something. But we’ll get to that. Faith can parkour her way through a freeform world (rather than the original’s more linear levels).
Boy oh boy, it’s good to have.a new Mirror’s Edge. It’s not like I’ve touched the original in a while, but Catalyst just felt natural immediately. The formula still works, parkour remains immensely satisfying to perform, and nailing a line squeaky clean is nothing short of ecstasy.
The world presented in Catalyst looks and feels great. The city of Glass is a futuristic, shiny, clean level. You can look off of the edge of a building and see city dwellers bustling at ground level – for as lonely as you are on the rooftops with a smattering of delivery people and Kruger security as all your company, it feels truly alive. All of the beauty of Glass is complemented by an absolutely exceptional ambient soundtrack that brings everything together.
And for all the simplicity of the game’s presentation, its expansive map, that expands as you progress through the story, is visually varied from location to location is quickly easy to learn and navigate without referencing the map more than needed.
Collection elements and side quests keep you busy parallel to, or beyond, the story, unlocking extras for the online segments of the game (which I cannot comment on as I didn’t touch them) and new skills for Faith.
Story missions were memorable and enjoyable. The final mission particularly was, although a little bit set, breathtaking, seeing Faith escalate an epically tall skyscraper as it gets systematically destroyed. And the story? Well…
The story is bad. There’s no two ways about it. Faith makes silly decisions which are unavoidable. Icarus is insufferable. Noah is tolerable if generic, and Kruger is as vanilla a villain as you could get. Rebecca is perhaps the best written character as she has a couple of actual two dimensional motives, but… don’t get Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst for the story.
My other issue, which stopped me gunning for a 100% completion, was that I found the running side quests to be very difficult. I managed to complete the main story without too many resets, but the running side quests are clearly designed and balanced for those people who like to continuously repeat and perfect their runs tens or hundreds of times. It is satisfying to do this I’m sure, but it’s not for me, especially because the fragile deliveries had someone repeat the exact same snippets of dialogue in every attempt.
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst was absolutely great. Skip the story cutscenes and the strict timed runs and you’re left with a joyous world to explore, trick around and experience at your own pace – something that I’ve been missing from my gaming life since Skate 3. The slight lack of focus compared to the tight original Mirror’s Edge is made up for by the successful open world elements and the higher quantity of content.