Hits & Misses: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
If ever a game deserved the VR treatment, it is “Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.” Sadly, EA Dice’s prequel (reboot?) to 2008’s “Mirror’s Edge” does not support the technology offered by Oculus VR, htc Vive (and ultimately PlayStation VR), but that is about the only thing missing from this fantastic experience.
I will admit to being a full-on fanboy of the original game, so my opinion might be colored a bit as I was going to be more than happy with more of the same – city, parkour, melee combat. But, the open world game that EA Dice has delivered goes way past those basic expectations and gives us a playground that is as beautiful as it is fun to explore, melee combat that is deep and extremely satisfying (no gun play this time around), an RPG-lite upgrade system and a tremendous amount to see and do. And, the parkour action and immersive nature of the first-person control scheme are both better, deeper and more involved than they were in the original game.
For me, the real beauty of the game lies in how well the city of Glass has been designed and how much fun it is to turn off the “Runner’s Vision” (highlighting the recommended path to your currently selected objective/mission) and have at it without any help – free to make your own mistakes, choose an alternate path or simply stumble upon one of the many collectibles found in the game. While I normally enjoy exploration and the discovery of hidden goodies in any action/adventure/RPG game that I play, the level of satisfaction that exploration gives in Catalyst is an entirely different animal. In most games (I’ll use “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” as my most recent example), exploration is a slow, meticulous undertaking. In Catalyst, it is just the opposite – while you are running and jumping at full speed, you are able to find items within the flow of your parkour navigation. Sure, there are searches and discoveries that will be accomplished at a slower pace in the game and that are more deliberate, but it is amazing how much can be found when you are going full throttle.
Of course, there is also a fully-fleshed out narrative and a number of friends and foes with which to interact, but the plot and Faith’s prequel origin story take a backseat to the outstanding parkour experience and hand-to-hand combat found in the sandbox that is Glass. With so much to do and see – including community-created races and a great variety of side-missions and activities, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst will be one of those games that you can play over and over again for many years to come.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
- Publisher: EA
- Developer: EA Dice
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
- Release Date: 6/7/16
- Price: $59.99
ICG Verdict: Hit
As much as I loved the original Mirror’s Edge, Catalyst makes it look like a tech demo. With a huge open world, outstanding first-person parkour movement and combat, and a wide variety of missions, quests, side-missions and collectibles, there is A LOT to do and see in the game. I have put in a good 10 hours (each) on the PC and PlayStation 4 versions of the game and I couldn’t even tell you how close I am to beating either one – I am having too much fun just going wherever I feel like and doing whatever I feel like doing. At the end of the day, isn’t that what open-world gaming is all about?
Why Do We Run? Because it’s a Freakin’ Blast – That’s Why!