Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst Review

Have you checked out “Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst” yet? It’s a great game; in fact, some are already calling it a cult classic. However, this new PS4 title fell short of fan expectations in one key area. Find out what to expect before you dive in to “Catalyst.”

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

The Parkour Experience

“Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst” taps into a current fascination with parkour, a type of movement that uses surfaces, objects, and even obstacles as a means of moving forward. When you’re doing parkour, you might run a few steps up the wall, leap over a handrail, jump onto a barrier, swing your feet over, run across a parking lot, and so on, until you reach your destination. It’s a kind of perpetual motion combined with running and gymnastics. Parkour is great exercise when you do it in person— not so much when you’re controlling a PS4 game character who is performing it.

It takes a while to get the hang of the movements within the game. You act as the main character Faith, which means that you’re looking through her eyes and can’t always see all parts of your virtual body, such as your feet. That makes it a little tricky to judge your motion and landings correctly. However, once you acclimate to the controls and movements, you’ll find the experience uniquely freeing. It’s wonderful to be able to explore the Faith’s city of Glass from the rooftops and ledges, rather than taking the mundane route to your objectives.

Keep in mind that the first-person style of motion may be difficult to handle for long periods of time, even for players who normally don’t have an issue with motion sickness.

The Stunning Scenery

If you want to have your breath snatched away by a video game, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is the game to do it. We’re talking graphics that are minimalistic yet beautifully developed, from the crumbling edge of a building to the reflections in the glass of skyscraper windows. In this respect, “Catalyst” far surpasses its 2008 predecessor. Some may fault the game for its bare-bones approach to the design of the city, but the minimalistic style fits with the clean, futuristic look that the game’s creators intended. The effect of climbing, leaping, running, and swinging through this stunningly gorgeous sci-fi city is nothing less than exhilarating.

The Hollow Plot

So where does the fan disappointment come in? The game’s storyline lacks some heart and emotion that might make this title worthy of a five-star rating. The characterization feels hollow. Faith herself isn’t very likeable, in spite of the game’s efforts to help players understand why she acts the way she does. Essentially, her past troubles aren’t enough to justify her current behavior. There is some excellent voice acting throughout the game, but unfortunately the script does not allow for much depth or development for Faith’s companions. They seem to exist as mere quest-giving shells. The game could have gone deeper into the themes and conflicts, developing better plot tension and more in-game intensity.

As it is, the appeal of the game rests largely with its parkour style of movement and its unique setting. Do you have any tips for acclimating to the unique controls and motion style? Let your fellow gamers know in the comments!

Rebecca Kenney

My favourite gaming console is the PS4, of course, and in my spare time I love to write.

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