Immersed in Mirrors Edge:
EA Dice’s reboot, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst has finally graced us with its presence. With such a long sabbatical it is a tall task to please gamers, especially the devoted fans of Mirror’s Edge. With such a following, it is difficult for any franchise to not change the dynamics of a game too much and make a reboot feel nothing like the original that gamers fell in love with. On the other hand they also don’t want to create an exact replica and make gamers feel like they’ve already played this game before. Well, it’s safe to say that EA Dice found that balance and created a beautiful reboot.Faith Connors is back and the story of her origins is where this reboot has taken us. In the beautiful city of Glass, Faith will be running against the conglomerate’s Grid once again to avoid conformity. The story will give more insight into Faith and her family, as well as what happen to them and how, but I’ll stop there, to avoid any spoilers. The story itself didn’t seem as captivating as the original but it still keeps your attention. Characters do their job by making an impression on you and giving you a sense of their role in Faith’s life. The city of Glass is one of the most impressive aspects because it is so illuminating, even at night. A city so eye-catchingly beautiful that it makes it difficult for you to complete a task and not be constantly taking in the sights.
Some changes that EA Dice made to separate this title from the original is the additions they have incorporated. Zip lines which are appropriate for this reboot, giving Faith an even faster way to traverse throughout the city. A mag rope which is much like a grappling hook, gives Faith a chance to get to those out of reach places in the city of Glass. Then there is the disruptor, a tool that is attached to Faith’s arm and it is designed to disrupt a number of things like large fans that block your path, drones, and the any devices that the security personnel use.
EA Dice has also turned the city of Glass into an open world, free-roaming experience; this allows the player to travel through the city on their own terms. Players can now go off the beaten path and truly run free, making their own path as oppose to the predetermined routes drawn out like previously before. Faith’s runner vision, which highlights your path is merely a suggestion now and doesn’t always outline the quickest route. An open world free roam experience allows for what is probably one of the most satisfying experiences in Mirror’s Edge and maybe most games. That is the ability to run and create a beautiful flow of traversing made by your quick decisions to run, wall climb, slide, vault, roll, and any other moves you decide. Traveling through the vibrant, immersible city of Glass and complimenting that beauty with such smooth and fluid movements makes these elements so satisfying and motivates you to want to master the functions.A common request that arose from the original Mirror’s Edge was the improvement of melee and firearms usage. Well, in Catalyst, Faith’s use of firearms is completely removed in an attempt to focus more on the smoothness of Faith’s movements throughout the game. In an interview with Polygon in June of last year, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst Senior Producer Sara Jansson said it best,
“Now the fighting is more of an extension of the movement. It builds on the flow. It fits a lot better with the game mechanics. When Faith is in flow, when she stitches together move after move without failing and keeps her momentum going, she’s actually invulnerable to bullets. That can keep her out of harm’s way. It’s only when she stops that she can get hurt.”
I completely agree with Jansson, I don’t think it was necessary to have Faith using firearms. To make up for this EA Dice added some new fighting moves to Faith’s combative arsenal. With aerial and on-the-go attacks, Faith has enough strength in her fighting abilities to alleviate any need for firearms.For longevity in the game, EA Dice has tossed in more things to do aside from the main and side missions, there are time trials, races and puzzles. The social aspect of this title doesn’t allow for gamers to play co-op or side by side but instead drops player-made challenges in the game, left at the player’s disposal. This design differs from the original in the sense that players compete on their own courses and not one’s that Dice has conjured up. While competing against other player’s times and participating in finding objects within the game as well as the challenges and other activities, Catalyst can have a long lasting appeal.
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst has so many great qualities but there still are a few discrepancies that can be haunting. The story itself it isn’t horrible, it just isn’t as captivating and beautiful as the rest of the game, if the story isn’t up to par then it stands out. Unfortunately, in those regards, it stands out. When playing through the story I got lost at times from all the other elements charming me, while the story didn’t have the strength to keep my attention. In this process, I felt the story end so quickly I didn’t even realize that I had finished the main missions already.
The other dissatisfying aspect of this game stems from a satisfying aspect that did not stack up as well as I had hoped. Now I will admit that the melee has improved from the original and I do agree with the removal of Faith’s ability to fire a weapon, but the disappointment falls with the hardly improved melee. The melee of this reboot is an improvement from the original, BUT it is not much of an improvement. The traversing movements of Faith can leave you completely immersed and mesmerized, but the melee can sometimes bring that beautiful traveling to an abrupt halt. Now for the most part, Faith can breeze by her enemies but there are times where she must stay fight. This is where the trouble starts, not only are the moves repetitive and somewhat off-putting but the dodging aspect makes her enemies seem so incapable of putting up a fight. It might not be Faith so much as it is the AI and the fact that they make for such an awkward pairing while in the midst of a fight.Overall, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst did not disappoint and actually found a balanced way to reboot a classic without taking too much out and adding so much that the franchise would be so unrecognizable. What EA Dice did with this title is amazing, from the stunning graphics and gameplay which we have come to expect, along with the new gadgets and features. The game for me was so immersible that even when I pointed out the flaws, I felt like I was nit picking and forced myself to see them. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst may have its flaws but they were easily forgiven because the rest of the game was so beautifully crafted. This reboot certainly gave the original-fan favorite a run for its money.