Release date: 2016
Version played: PlayStation 4 in 2020
Published by Electronic Arts, and developed by EA DICE on the gorgeous Frostbite 3 engine, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a 2016 first-person action game. A prequel of sorts to the 2008 original, players once again (or for the first time?) control Faith, a runner in the futuristic techno-city of Glass. Faith can use a wide variety of parkour movements such as vaults, wall-runs, zip-lines and slides to traverse the sprawling city rooftops in order to take down the corrupt executive Gabriel Kruger, owner of the Kruger Security, or K-Sec, corporatocracy.
+ I’m not ashamed to say I was filtered HARD by the controls of the first game so the ‘easy-to-learn, hard-to-master’ scheme here makes you feel like a parkour legend. The movement itself is incredibly fluid, with jumps, slides, rolls and various swinging-type motions all blending together into one ‘combo’, if you will. It is very satisfying, even if it is quite repetitive
+ I love the graphics style, with solid white buildings acting as the background before various blues, yellows and reds streak the environment to direct you where to go. Even for someone with severe colour blindness, the reds stand out clearly enough to make heat of the moment decisions which I only very rarely regretted
+ interestingly, the route that the game suggests you take is often not the fastest, smoothest or easiest to perform, leading to a certain degree of exploration being required. Following the markers on a time trial for the first time, and then slowly chipping away at your personal best to get three stars is very fulfilling
– the story is garbage. Somewhere between a prequel and ret-con of the first game (I think it’s officially a ‘re-imagining’, whatever that is meant to mean). None of the characters have any real weight in the game, despite us constantly being told they are big players in the city and even worldwide. I found it very difficult to care about anything, especially as each mission was basically just a linear run
– frustrating mission design, where Faith will accept a mission only for the first objective to be to run to the other side of the city to talk to someone else. It’s a lazy way to pad the game time, especially when that first half of that mission could even just be a simple police escape
– combat is clunky and worst of all, boring. There is zero benefit to fighting an enemy compared to just running away, but running away is just the same gameplay you’ll be doing for everything else. Unlike the previous game, Faith cannot use guns which (while I understand and agree with the change) is yet another removed option
Should you play this game: The first game was one I very strongly suggest (it’s one of my ‘most unique games’ Hall of Fame), but I can’t say the same for this one. The running itself is smooth and responsive, but the story and repetitive nature missions stretches this one trick pony far too thin.