The staples of Mirror’s Edge remain refreshing, but Catalyst’s attempts to keep up with the open-world Joneses don’t always jive with its design strengths.
I consider myself one of the original Mirror’s Edge’s biggest fans. The 2008 first-person parkour platformer struck me as bold as it was beautiful, and it remains a game I revisit every year or so. In fact, I was so excited for its revival I actually cheered when Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was confirmed by EA. It’s one of the biggest letdowns of my gaming life, then, that playing through this half-prequel, half-reboot was an exercise in enthusiasm-draining disappointment. Catalyst is hardly a bad game, thanks to the strength of its movement systems, but everything else about it is so uninspiring that I get sad when I recall my initial reaction to its announcement.
Running is supposed to release endorphins that make people happy, but Faith Connors and her friends don’t seem to take any joy in being off-the-grid mailmen in the city of Glass’ Big Brother-ruled future. Literally everyone in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is sullen at best or angry at worst, and without a shred of humor or levity it becomes a huge downer. Fun fact: you won’t see a single smile in this entire eight to 10-hour story campaign (more if you fill it out with sidequests) until Faith finally cracks a grin in the post-credits scene. Character development is nonexistent, and worse, everyone – including Faith herself – is completely unlikable.
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