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Back in 2008, EA released Mirror’s Edge, a slick first-person parkour platformer starring a bracingly singular Asian female protagonist. Mirror’s Edge was ahead of its time in 2008, and honestly, it still is today. In the eight years since the release of the original Mirror’s Edge, nothing else quite like it has come along, and gamers have, understandably, been hungry for more.
Well, after nearly a decade of pleading, EA has finally granted fans’ wishes. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, a new open-world reboot, is here, but is this series still in proper shape after its long layover?
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (PC, Xbox One & PS4)
As mentioned, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a reboot, although it’s not entirely clear why very little has been changed. You once again play as Faith Connors, work as a runner in a futuristic dystopian city, have issues with your sister and get mixed up in the machinations of various shadowy corporations and underground organizations. This could have just as easily been a prequel or even sequel (with a few tweaks), but I guess DICE wanted new players to feel like they’re getting in on the ground floor.
Faith remains a unique, likable hero, but most of her co-stars have come straight off the triple-A character assembly line. The brooding, hooded rival/love interest, the father figure mentor, the Morgan Freeman eccentric — you’ve seen these walking stereotypes in countless EA, Ubisoft and Activision games. The story is purely a MacGuffin chase — go find this computer chip, now go hack this mainframe — peppered with a few flashbacks from Faith’s childhood. It’s nothing great, but the story isn’t actively offensive or anything, and to its credit I continued to care about Faith throughout.
Faith and some characters I never bothered to learn the names of.
Visually, Catalyst is a mixed bag, which is a surprise coming from the technical wizards at DICE. Your city sandbox is certainly stylish, but all the glass and polished metal starts to look a bit monotonous after a while. Faith looks fantastic and is one of the best 3-D models I’ve ever seen, but secondary characters are more generic and NPCs look like refugees from the original Mirror’s Edge. Music is the typical electronic fare you’d expect from a sci-fi game like this, and the voice acting is solid. In particular, Chinese-Irish actress Faye Kingslee does a good, distinctive job as Faith. Overall, Catalyst‘s presentation is polished, but not quite as slick as it could be.