I really liked the premise of the first Mirror’s Edge: being able to free run around levels, avoiding combat and using the terrain to your advantage.
However, some game-breaking glitches I ran into throughout the middle of the game caused me never to finish Faith’s first adventure. Now, with Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, I hopped back into the world to see what’s improved.
While the open world nature of the game is a great advancement compared to the linear nature of the last title, it also can become a bit of a weak point the more you keep running.
Another weak point in the game is the plot, which is forgettable at best. It’s a standard tale of rebels trying to take on massive businesses that are trying to control the world. Honestly, you can guess the twists long before they happen.
Helping to hinder the story is the cast of characters. While hacker Plastic is easily the highlight of the new cast, others, such as Icarus, are shallow at best and mostly underdeveloped. The civilians of the city that give you side missions are also basically cardboard cutouts, with little to no personality of their own as well.
So, let’s get away from them and into the free running aspects. The game brings back the red highlighted items in the environment to run and jump on to get from point A to B. Additionally, Catalyst introduces a “Runner’s Vision” gadget that has a red line that flickers in and out to show which path to go in the world, along with highlighting objects to use.
The only issue I have with it is that the line sometimes doesn’t show the path far enough out to know where to go after a twist or turn. I ran into quite a few times where I’d climb a pipe to find myself looking left and right with no red in sight, only to eventually find out I had to round another corner or turn around.
Additionally, the “Runner’s Vision” will sometimes go offline in some areas to have you find your own way through a location. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen when you’re out in the open world, so you only have so much space to look around to figure out the path. If you get stumped, though, give it a minute or two and the vision will miraculously come online.
Another area of the game that was revised was the combat. The game no longer features that terrible gun control from the first game, written off by bio-encoded weapons. This time, you only have your fists and a quick dash to dart away and behind enemies.
By using the environment and other enemies during fights, you can throw enemies off ledges or disrupt their attacks. Mix this in with some heavy attacks and Faith is fairly versatile against melee enemies. Until you get close to those with guns, you have to rely on your focus shield that builds as you run around. However, that gets chipped away quickly.
The game does drag at some spots due to forcing combat on you. Unlike the first game where you could dodge fights, some areas in here throw waves of enemies at you, all of which feature low intelligence as they stand there waiting their turn to attack.
Now let’s get back to the biggest change, the open world. Often, you’ll find that you don’t explore a lot of the world as you follow the red line from point to point. While that may not always be the quickest path, you’ll use it the most often (except in some time trial runs, where modifying the path a bit can be the difference between success and failure).
Finding these paths are where the problems come in. A lot of times, it becomes trial and error as you slowly wander a path to find shortcuts or corners to cut. The same can be said with finding a lot of hidden collectibles throughout the world. If you want to find all the recordings and documents, you’ll need to comb the world and try jumping everywhere to find everything.
Overall, the things that make Mirror’s Edge Catalyst a bigger experience makes it a bit lackluster. The fighting, while better, is still bland and repetitive. Exploring the world can bring the fast moving gameplay down to a crawl as you try and find new areas. However, the free running that happens when following the path is still worth experiencing.
Final Score: 7.0