Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Review: A hop, skip, and a jump into disaster
Finally, fans of the 2008 DICE game Mirror’s Edge get a second game; however, it’s not what fans waiting patiently deserve. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a mess of a game. DICE ruined what could have been potentially a great game by completely changing up the formula from the original. Instead of setting the player in a level, we are now made to track down where the next storied mission is at with the use of a waypoint. Imagine a GPS telling you to turn left a foot before needing to do so. That’s the GPS we have in Catalyst. The waypoint system causes a lot of confusing and frustrating moments during traversal, which comes from the unnecessary and repetitively bland open world that DICE shoves us in. Everything looks the same with the exceptions to subtle changes of neon colors from location to location. Speaking of looking the same, a lot of the game’s locations seem to be missing textures making certain segments of the game look completely awkward. For example, a building blows up about an hour into the story and it looks like a Jenga game gone horribly wrong. The city looks awful yet the overflowing cast of personalities look good for a late last gen game.
Now about those characters, I hated them all. Not a single soul within this game is likable. Faith seems to act like a pretentious brat compared to her last game. She has little to no character development besides for subtle flashbacks of her childhood and her “I do what I want” attitude. The other characters either look too similar to stand out or are so annoying to even care about. They really don’t add much so why even bother going further with them.
The gameplay should be the diamond in the dust, but it just never feels as smooth as the original. The way Faith seems to run, vault, roll, climb, etc. looks nice and seems like it could work but it never feels fluid enough to work properly. This in fact is what destroys my satisfaction of the game. Without the fluidity of the original, Catalyst fails to recapture what made the original game so amazing. The combat was completely revamped and it does not work at all. Not once did I feel like I knew exactly what to do. Fighting hand to hand comes down to button mashing and hoping your attack lands. This should not be the case in a game that only has hand-to-hand combat to get out of certain areas of the game.
To add to this muddy mess, DICE added a progression skill system to unlock new abilities as you find collectibles and complete missions. Abilities like the 180 degree wall jump and the roll must be unlocked to use. The roll is a necessity to keep Faith’s momentum up and it’s obscene not having it from the start. What DICE did get right though is the mag rope to an extent. It’s basically Batman’s grappling hook with limited locations to latch onto, making it almost useless.
Mirror’s Edge was easily in my top ten games of last generation and I am disappointed in DICE’s latest adventure. They should have just kept this IP locked up in a vault behind their plethora of Battlefield titles. Skip this and forget it ever existed.