Mirrors Edge Catalyst: Is it a Parkour Hit?

When the Gamers Pantheon team was looking for someone to review this game, I immediately jumped at the chance. I was excited to review a true unicorn game – a game with a lead undeniably a person of color, and a female at that. Gaming, as a whole, has too few women protagonists, not to mention people of color as leads. Faith Connors is a badass and a true force in gaming, but does her origin story do her justice? Or is she set to fall the way of Shantae, from the Shantae games, and Jade, from Beyond Good and Evil; other excellent female leads who are largely forgotten as a whole by gaming? I can tell you the answer to that is rather complicated, unlike the changes that DICE made to Mirror’s Edge.

Mirror's_Edge_Catalyst

Graphics:

When I downloaded the game, I was puzzled as to why the game was only 16 Gigs – now I know. During the free-flowing scenes, graphics were downgraded. At times, the graphics look like a game from mid-cycle 360 or PS3 era games. The vibrant world of Mirror’s Edge just looks… downgraded (See BeMirror's Edge setting As for cut scenes, some look like they took a long time to do, especially the scene where I met Noah after leaving jail. However, there aren’t too many of these scenes, so it didn’t break the immersion too badly. The game also has a very muted and almost monochromatic color scheme, making scenes feel dull and not very vibrant at times.

Gameplay:

The first Mirror’s Edge survived on gameplay alone. Faith didn’t really feel part of her own story. She felt almost separated from it. As if apart of a reality you could forget she existed in. DICE reminds you that this is Faith’s story from the get go. I watched my wife play the first one and i knew Mirror’s Edge had Faith as its lead, she always felt… disconnected from everything. Now, every mission you talk to your allies. During the main missions, you often get cut scenes where you see Faith talking to quest givers in third person at times – it really helps to remind you that this is her story.

Faith

 

To the right, is an example. Though I would have preferred more customization options. The ability to change her hair, clothes and shoes. The red “runner’s vision” guideline can be though. Which, by far, is the most disconcerting part of the game.

There are very few aesthetic customization options – the game focuses more on skill upgrades, some of which really change the game. Runner’s Vision literally tells you exactly where to go and how to do things, completely removing the challenge from the game. You can turn it off, but regardless its always there. It’s like have the game give you a walkthrough as you play. The movements have a learning curve, but combat very easy to master. I felt extremely overpowered against boss level opponents and rarely felt threatened even when they announced a Sub-Boss was there. I simply kept in motion, ducked and dodged away as a runner would. Only the Taser holding opponents were an issue, but they only lengthened the fight, as opposed to making it harder. Duck, dodge, flying attack. Rinse and repeat. The new grappling wire feature, works really well and ties in well.

Story/Characters:

Where the game lacked the most was in the story. The plot didn’t really provide much motivation to why Faith does what she does. How did Faith become a runner? I felt I would know more if I spent hours upon hours sifting through the world for those recordings found everywhere instead of everyone’s vague comments on how Faith is “just like her parents”. One such recording had Momma Connors and Poppa Connors discussing her science work and how she needed to keep working. Poppa Connors mentioned how she feels they aren’t paying much attention to Faith and Cat, Faith’s sister for example. I unlocked the perk to find more hidden troves around Glass, yet still couldn’t find more recordings that gave me insight. I know some enjoy revealing and discovering the story in this way, but I find it frustrating to have to work so hard to put the basic story together, and makes for a lackluster experience for me.

Gamers Pantheon Score: 50

Pros:

  • Glass is an interesting sandbox that really works for Faith.
  • Combat is much more fluid than in the original.
  • More emphasis on action, less on puzzles.

Cons:

  • Graphics aren’t up to snuff with the rest of this gen.
  • They seem to want to make Faith Connors into revamped Lara Croft light.
  • They have lowered the difficulty far too much – it lacks challenge now.

Final Thoughts: Wait until the price drops. Full price is too much for this.


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