Whilst we’ve spent quite a significant amount of time with both the EA Access version and our review copy of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, we’d like a little bit more time before publishing our final score and conclusion.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst effectively reboots the franchise as we are again introduced to Faith, a young woman with a troubled past. Raised away from her parents, Faith spends her life as a Runner, a work for hire messenger that specializes in obtaining and delivering packages in not-so-legal ways. Facing a conglomerate of corporations, Faith and her friends face a threat that threatens to control society.Catalyst is pretty much a simple “people vs the corporate overlords” type of story, though it never becomes enough of an intriguing story that you’ll actually pay attention to. With a plot that never outgrows its ‘corporate overlord’ cliches, the question raised is whether the game is able to lean on its characters. However, the sad reality is the fact that whilst its plot is lackluster and extremely forgettable, its characters share all of the same problems. Faith, for example, has much more of a back story, though her character never really develops in a way that makes the player care about her as a protagonist, which is an issue that extends even further into the supporting cast.
The game ultimately tries to tell a story with good intentions, but its narrative and characters lack so many dynamics to make it memorable. I’m still finding myself questioning what was happening in this narrative, but the plot points and characters motivations (or the lack thereof) left so little of an impression that I felt I had been given little to no relevant information for most of my time with the game.The first Mirror’s Edge wowed many players with its simple, yet incredibly appealing visual presentation that in some ways still holds up to this day. Running on the newest iteration of the Frostbite engine, that also powers franchises such as Battlefield, Need For Speed and several of EA’s other franchises, Catalyst carries the burden of having to improve its presentation enough to have the same effect as its predecessor. The result is a mixed bag, as the game carries a presentation that is both an improvement and a stand-still moment in regards to the first game.Starting with the positive aspects, the art design of the world of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is simply a visual feast to look at. Sporting an intentionally sterile, yet colorful futuristic design, the city of Glass is quite the visual feast to look at, making traversal throughout the city quite the visual treat to experience. Environments are pretty varied considering the visual tone the game is going for, though the world did seem radically different throughout my run when it came to lighting, which is one of the greatest strengths of the game in my opinion. The only questionable aspect of the world design wasn’t only connected to the actual art design, but the plot itself as well, which is the fact that the city of Glass is pretty devoid of life. For the more linear formula of the first game, it made sense, but the city of Glass in Catalyst often feels like an abandoned dystopia only occupied by a handful of enemies hell-bent on taking down the player.