Review: ‘Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’ is a pale reflection of its predecessor

D.I.C.E. in taking a step back to reboot the series makes all the wrong decisions with the right intentions.

I was a big fan of 2008’s Mirror’s Edge a short, fleetingly good feeling game that was an original project from the renowned Battlefield developer. Arriving smackdab in the middle of the most competitive holiday season in the golden age of gaming that saw Dead Space, LittleBigPlanet, Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty: World at War, Resistance 2, Far Cry 2, Rock Band and Gears of War 2 all arrive within a month of each other the full priced yet 5 hour game was a delight that was seen as an underrated gem.  All of those games continued their respective franchises yet it took a small team of developers almost 8 years to return to Faith Connors and the city of glass. Was it worth it?

D.I.C.E. certainly ups their ambition. While the first game apparently grew out of the team trying to get a camera to sit atop an animation rig, this game triple the length attempts to play catch-up with a trendy open world to play around in. Expanding on collectibles the game has you do side missions, steal security chips, collect a few documents which really only scratch the surface of the world without adding much depth. You can also upgrade Faith as you go getting powers and gear like the gimmicky rope launcher, and some you had off the bat in the first game.

The story unfortunately goes nowhere and rearranges the mythology of the first game, it seems odd as if the makers weren’t sure whether to make a prequel or tear the whole thing out. Either way it’s a shame because the tepid response critically and in sales indicates this franchise is done with at least for now. In trying to redefine what Mirror’s Edge is EA seemingly forgot its identity as well. The music by Solar Fields isn’t nearly as catchy memorable as the first. The open world is a neat concept that executes into monotony of the central concept of movement. To put simply running isn’t very fun anymore by the end of the game because you’ve done so much of the same again and again. The flashy length of the first game is overidden. It’s not that Glass isn’t that memorable, it’s just that with no restrictions the iterative improvements on your straight forward run paths don’t matter anymore. In expanding the scope the game loses focus.

I’d like to revisit this world again someday. Faith Connors is an interesting enough character and there’s more than enough territory that a sequel could explore. Maybe scaling back the open world, making the narrative the element that is more open ended and less linear and focusing on an actual sequel and not a reboot would help the franchise finally find its footing.


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