Mirror's Edge Catalyst: To Buy or Not To Buy?

Written by Jake Tucker

June 13, 2016 | 10:20

Tags: #mirrors-edge-catalyst

Companies: #dice #ea

Mirror's Edge Catalyst: To Buy or Not To Buy? Mirror's Edge Catalyst - The Good
Click to enlarge

Mirror's Edge Catalyst: To Buy or Not To Buy?

So, Mirror's Edge Catalyst is out. If you didn't take the plunge and pick it up last week or if you're a bit leery about the Metacritic scores - 76 percent, by the way, is completely respectable - then you might be looking for something to tip you either way.

Generally, it's an excellent adventure game that suffers when you stop moving. Everything to do with running is positive; the parts where you don't do any running aren't so hot. Read on to find out what's ace and what should have been cut away.

The Good

Mirror's Edge Catalyst: To Buy or Not To Buy? Mirror's Edge Catalyst - The Good
Click to enlarge

1: The Running

If there's one thing that the long awaited Mirror's Edge sequel managed to get right, it's how fun dashing around a deserted utopian city's rooftops can be. Catalyst has managed to capture the breakneck momentum and within half an hour even new players will be charging about like they own the place.

DICE knows that this sense of traversal is what makes the game work and so most of their work has been here. Whatever flaws you might find with the game, you won't be finding them as you navigate the City of Glass that makes up Catalyst's world.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst: To Buy or Not To Buy? Mirror's Edge Catalyst - The Good
Click to enlarge

2: The Exploring

Open worlds aren't a uniform positive but in a game like Mirror's Edge you'll be looking to master different 'runs' through the judicious application of parkour. Here, the idea of an open world shines: the promise that there are a bunch of different routes and, whisper it, the chance for you to curate your own routes based on your personal preferences and skills, is the sort of premise that can sell a game.

As you swing from pole to pole and create your own ludicrous shortcuts, this is when Mirror's Edge Catalyst is really at its best.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst: To Buy or Not To Buy? Mirror's Edge Catalyst - The Good
Click to enlarge

3: The Combat

The combat in the original Mirror's Edge was a little jarring. You had to stop moving for one thing, robbing you of all momentum as you tried to pull off the free-running based combos. The combos that required you to dash around a stationary target at high speed. It was either that or disarm them, gunning them down grimly before being left with an unsightly gun to get rid of.

Catalyst has fixed that problem, and made combat more balletic. A quick tap of one button triggers a 'momentum' attack that doesn't stop you moving and merely knocks the enemy aside as you run past him. Need to get a little more physical? There's an attack system of wallrun/above/sliding kicks in addition to some other kick attacks that react to what way you're moving when you throw them. It's still not perfect but it's a lot better now and, when you get it right, you feel like the hero from a cinematic action scene.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst: To Buy or Not To Buy? Mirror's Edge Catalyst - The Good
Click to enlarge

4: The Visuals

I can't overstate this point enough. DICE has always known how to make something look pretty, and the white and red that picks out the City of Glass from up high is glorious.

You'll often be moving too fast to even notice some of the sights around you, but some of the vistas on show are breathtaking. When you move inside, it's clear that DICE has really nailed this 'futuristic utopia' look. It can all look a little too clean at times, but that's kind of the point of utopia, isn't it?
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