Developer: EA DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a parkour and free-running action adventure that is the origin story to Mirror’s Edge.
In the game, you play as Faith right after her release from a juvenile detention centre. You are a runner, and you take to the rooftops, and stay off the grid to avoid the corporation. The story in the first half of the game was kind of boring, but after about halfway, it started to get much more interesting. You get to learn more about Faith, as you get some glimpses into her childhood, but I feel like I still want to know more back story, and more details about some of the characters. Since this is an origin story, if you’ve played Mirror’s Edge, you will know what to expect as the story progresses.
Throughout the game, you spend most of your time running around the glass city, climbing, jumping, sliding, and grappling as you do some crazy parkour and free-running to get from one place to another. The map is a decent size, and it can sometimes take a while to travel long distances, but at least there is fast travel available, once you unlock it.
- fantastic mechanics, just like in Mirror’s Edge; very fun free-running and parkour gameplay
- the cinematics and dialog over voice comms did a good job at telling the story, and you get to learn more about Faith, as you get glimpses into her childhood
- the game as a whole looks great, and it’s an open world, with very little to no loading – I never experienced any lag or stuttering during gameplay
- the audio was good throughout the game, and the voice acting was done very well (there was only one character that I found annoying, and it wasn’t because it was poorly acted, it’s just the voice itself was irritating)
- as you maintain momentum, you charge up a focus bar, that acts as a shield when you encounter combat; the shield is super helpful, and prevents taking health damage as long as you stay moving
- there are quite a few other things besides the main story campaign that you can easily spend a lot more time on trying to complete everything and set race records on the leader boards
- you can also use runner vision to help guide you if you aren’t clear on where to go, it’s very helpful, but you can turn it on or off as you please (it does occasionally make you back track, like when a GPS recalculates)
- the story wasn’t bad, but it hasn’t fully satisfied my desire for a really good story either; I find I’m left still wanting more
- in order to unlock each fast travel location, you have to collect a bunch of items, and then complete a quest in each area of the city – I don’t mind having to unlock each area, but I feel like this process in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is way more time consuming and tedious than it needs to be
- combat is not very enjoyable, and feels very repetitive; close quarter combat doesn’t flow very well nor does it give much satisfaction once you defeat the enemies
- dodging in combat has annoying motion blur
- you can set waypoints for the most direct route to your destination, but in doing so you will find yourself quickly growing tired of travelling through some of same locations again and again
- very minor issue where some textures change up close where they shouldn’t; it can be distracting if you notice it
- despite the great performance during gamplay, there were a couple of cut scenes that lagged when they first started playing, causing the audio to be out of sync until the video caught up
As you run around the city, you build and keep momentum without too much difficulty, and the parkour felt pretty responsive for the most part. The only time I really had any issues with was when I would have to jump off of a rail, into a wall run, and then jump again off the wall to a higher location. Fortunately, after many deaths in some areas, I realized that there were alternate routes to many parts of the city.
Most of the combat you can avoid, but in some cases, you are forced to fight. The combat is mediocre at best, and it certainly isn’t anything you would go out of your way to find if you don’t have to. As you level up, and unlock different abilities, you do get a few combos, but most of the time fighting is simply dodge, kick, dodge, kick, and repeat until enemies die. There were a couple big open rooms, where you can jump, and wall run into an attack combo, and those encounters were a bit more enjoyable, but overall I didn’t really like the combat a whole lot.
The main campaign took me about 8.5 hours to complete. There is no reason to replay the game, but once you finish the campaign, you can continue playing in the city to find collectibles, and complete side missions, and races to complete on the leader boards.
If you’ve played Mirror’s Edge, and enjoyed the gameplay, you will probably enjoy Catalyst as well, but the game is on the expensive side. I was super hyped to play this game, possibly a bit too hyped, but for me, with the combat being too repetitive, and the story not quite living up to my expectations, even though I bought the game at 20% off, I wish it had been more of a sale. So, unless you are in a huge rush to play, and plan to do all the side objectives and compete on the public leader boards, just wait for a sale.