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Mirror's Edge: Catalyst Review

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Mirror's Edge has always been in my top 10 games of all time, due to its fluid mobility and combat and just downright amazing vistas. But does Mirror's Edge: Catalyst live up to the memories I have of its predecessor? Let's take a look into the City of Glass once again as we run, jump, slide and kick our way through the features, changes and views.


Important Fact:
Mirror's Edge: Catalyst is a reboot, all story and canon story telling in Mirror's Edge 1 does not impact this game at all. Characters are taken from the original and remade in Catalyst but do not have the same story impacts as they did in the first game. With that being said, here is the Mirror's Edge: Catalyst story setup.

Years before the events of Catalyst, Faith Connors' family was killed during the November riots against the ruling corporations, with her parents, scientists Martin and Erika shot dead and her sister Cat apparently suffocating from a gas grenade tossed into a vent, through which the girls were trying to escape. In the prologue to the game, as told by the tie-in comics Mirror's Edge: Exordium, Faith, now a Runner, began to work on the side for black market boss Dogen, after he promised her a painting by her late mother. She was to retrieve a vaccine prototype for Dogen by stealing it from fellow Runner Celeste (who stole it herself). After finding that Celeste intended to use the vaccine to cure her sister, Faith surrendered to K-Sec personnel in remorse. Dogen uses his influence within the city to reduce her sentence to two years in juvie.

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst follows Faith as the protagonist once again, as she escapes the clutches of K-sec with the help of a new character and some old friends, and returns to her life of running to try and pay off a debt which got her incarcerated in the first place noted in the aforementioned story setup. I have not progressed very far into the story for reasons which I will explain soon, but so far it has been full of reuniting old friends and re-affirming old enemies.



Mirror's Edge: Catalyst has undergone one of the biggest changes compared to its predecessor and that change is an open world and I couldn't be more excited about this. Being able to fully explore the rooftops of the City of Glass really opens up the player to finding their own paths to complete objectives in new and scenic ways. This is also the reason I haven't made it very far in the story.

Side missions are also known as delivery missions. You are charged with the postage and handling of data packets and in certain fragile delivery missions, vials of unknown substances. This requires the player to not only navigate the rooftops in an efficient manner in order to beat the timer, but also do so carefully in order to not break the vials and release whatever it may be. Other Side missions include rescue missions in which you confront several K-sec operatives in order to protect the oppressed civilians in the City of Glass. The repetition of these side quests leaves players with no new mechanic or anything, it is really just there for XP grinding.

There are time trials planted throughout the city where the player is required to make it to a point on the map in the shortest time possible and post their times to their friends and even the world. The game gives you a suggested route, but as you acquire new abilities you tend to ignore the suggested route and use your own intuition to achieve a much faster time.

There are several types of collectibles ranging from your usual hidden item you need to go out of your way for, right up to hackable billboards to display your very own personal runner symbol for other players to come across and see that you have conquered that area. Other collectibles include computer chips you steal from comm relays and deliver to a dead drop location in order to hinder the K-sec's ability to communicate.

Another major addition to this game is character progression. Both the side missions and collectibles yield the player with XP which the player can use to purchase movement abilities to help them travel the rooftops more free and fluid. They can purchase gear to help them navigate the City of Glass and the player can also use these points to learn new ways of taking down anyone who gets in your way of an important delivery. But with character progression comes early game limitations and a grind for those players who just want to B-line the story, but now they have to level up in order to get abilities they need for certain missions.

Combat in this game is very intuitive and improved over the original combat platform, you can attack head on with directional attacks to force opponents to stagger and even bump into each other to stagger them and leave them open to attack. You can also incorporate fast flowing jabs and kicks in the middle of free-running to move enemies out of your way without losing your momentum and just keep on running until you reach your destination. It is really your choice in most cases. But with every enemy variant from light and fast to the gun totting goons, one combat style is universal. By that I mean the way to take down a light armored target is the same for a heavily armored target just it takes longer.



Positives:
  • Huge amount of freedom in an entire city
  • A genuine fast moving game of beautiful vistas and intuitive combat
  • Does not require the player to play the original game.
Negatives:
  • The character progression system removes the ability to do some side missions due to not having the correct abilities in order to perform certain jumps.
  • Repetitive combat.
  • Repetitive side quests that must be done in order to acquire basic abilities.
SCORE:  8.5 out of 10
  • Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One
  • Genre: FPS Action-Adventure, Platformer 
  • Initial Release: 7th June 2016
  • Developer: EA DICE
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
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