Quick Review: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (BETA)

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So, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. I played through the beta last night, completing all of the main missions and some side missions.

This is… very different. It’s not a bad different. It’s not a good different. This game is going to appeal to an entirely different audience than the first game, which is… good- no, rather, not bad- but also slightly disappointing to those who really loved what made the first game unique.

Mirror’s Edge was a sort of puzzle game in the vein of Portal. You had to traverse from Point A to Point B, utilizing mechanics the game taught you from the beginning. It was a relaxing and solitary experience. Just you, the city, the soothing electronic music, and running. The entire game felt like breathing cold, winter air into your lungs.

Catalyst is… Assassin’s Creed. Far Cry. “Insert-open-world-heavily-cinematic-game-with-grocery-list-of-mundane-side-tasks-here”. The gameplay from the first one is still there and intact (though with some of the skills locked behind a progression tree, it feels a little clunky in the beginning), but everything is soaked in draaaammmmaaaaa now.

Faith is the edgy protagonist trying to pay off her debt to some dude she used to work for, there’s a subplot involving her family getting killed or something in the riots, a bunch of flat, uninteresting characters she works with now… God, I just could not bring myself to care about anyone or anything I saw in the cutscenes. The overly cinematic story feels forced into a game that doesn’t need it, and everything is so hardcore serious and dramatic 100% of the time. There was a point when I was running, and some guy was blabbing at me over the headset about something he clearly thought was important involving the main bad guy and paying off the debt if you want to keep running and I just thought, “Why are you talking? Why is there so much plot? Why are there markers all over the map? Why do I need XP to level up? Why am I retreading the same paths over and over to complete similar objectives???”

I realized how much I missed the first game’s ambiance. The sounds of running footsteps with soft music in the background, my only concern keeping up the flow. There was a story in the first game, sure. But it was so minimal and hardly intrusive, and felt like as much a breath of fresh, chill air as the rest of the game.

Catalyst is not a bad game. But it is a very different experience from its predecessor.

People will like Catalyst, but not necessarily people who liked the first game. It reminds me a little of the RE series, in a way: Losing sight of what made the formula special in order to capture a new audience.

Bottom line for me: Most of the time I was playing Catalyst, I wished I was playing the first game.

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~ by The Retro Gamer on April 24, 2016.

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