It’s been almost a decade since we last saw Faith in the City of Glass. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst brings back both Faith and the City of Glass but rather than it being a continuation, Catalyst acts more like a retelling of the Faith storyline and the world and despite its retelling, the same flaws in narrative and storytelling persist.
The length of time between the two games have allowed some excellent improvements to the visuals. Even though Mirror’s Edge Catalyst adopts an open world structure, the game can look visually spectacular. The clean cyberpunk aesthetic is visually appealing from the moment you begin the game. Everything from the video advertisements to the smooth details on buildings and the reflections create a look that’s both distinctive and impressive.
The gameplay that made Mirror’s Edge such a popular game remains and fits the open world really well. It will take a bit of time to become acquainted with the controls. The developers have also expanded on what you can do in the game due to new tools at your disposal to get around the city. When Faith’s abilities and equipment come together during gameplay, the sensation of movement can be incredibly gratifying.
The story though doesn’t meet its potential, especially given its promising premise of how much you’re willing to give up for a peaceful life. Dialogue can be dull and forgetful immediately and even delivery isn’t incredibly well done. It’s a shame that a better delivered story isn’t present in Catalyst although the missions themselves are fun enough to get through and some set pieces that occur and genuinely thrilling.
There is plenty to do in the city of glass. On top of the main missions are a large number of side-quests, collectibles, time-trials and more. While there’s always plenty to do, they aren’t always fun. Hacking billboards that will then show your custom logo in friends games feels meaningless and the sheer number of collectibles can eventually cause a headache for completionists.
While gunplay has been removed for Catalyst, combat has been expanded upon and just isn’t enjoyable. While you can no longer pick up weapons which is a vast improvement, the expanded melee combat creates the worst moments of the entire game. Thankfully, combat can be avoided for the most part but some mandatory moments makes it a chore to get through.
For fans of the original Mirror’s Edge game, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is everything you’d want in another game but Catalyst proves that there are fundamental flaws in core experience that can never be removed. There’s nowhere really for this game series to go. While it play really well and has moments of enjoyment, it never feels like it will ever be an essential game for fans to play.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst seemingly takes the franchise as far as it can go but it also shows that the genre may have a very low ceiling. It works perfectly fine and the parts that don’t, never really diminish the experience. Unfortunately, apart form completely taking combat out completely, there’s nothing else they can really do with Faith and company which is a shame. It’s as good as it can ever be really.