Friday, 1 July 2016

Mirror's Edge Catalyst Review - Good start, awful finish.

By Sam Coles: 

The original Mirror’s Edge that was released all the way back in 2008 was a unique platformer with free running movement which a lot of people seemed to like. Due to poor sales the game fell into obscurity and no one was expecting a sequel, 8 years later and a new console generation we finally get a sequel. It’s an average experience which started to test my patience in the later stages of the game, but it’s not all bad.

You once again step into the shoes of Faith Connors who is a part of a free running courier group called “Runners” these are basically illegal couriers that will deliver packages on foot as they jump from rooftop to rooftop. This game is a prequel so we see Faith as a young woman who has been released from prison where she then re-joins her fellow runners and continues her usual shenanigans where she is fighting against a dictatorship in the form of a company called K-SEC. The story is boring in my opinion, it’s performed well by the actors excluding Faith where she just comes across as a whiney teenager with her sulky tantrums as she rolls her eyes where makes me want to tell her to shut up.

The gameplay is a first person platformer which you would think it wouldn’t work and yes in the first game it was extremely clunky and you couldn’t judge some distances. Thankfully it is much better in this game with a smooth frame rate of 60 frames per second and the ability to adjust the field of view and this is not common in console games because you would only see this feature on PC. First impressions were good when they let me roam around in these big wide open spaces as you get into a rhythm when you time your jumps and landings perfectly as you wall run and proceed to slide into a vent. The problem I have with this game is in the second half of the game where it decides to throw you into claustrophobic spaces where you end up getting stuck and bounce off every wall in the near vicinity.

There are combat sequences, but these are terrible they had them in the first game but you could run away and it encouraged you to run, but in this game it locks you in a room with a few heavily armed riot police officers and expects you to take them down and it’s frustrating. How the combat works is that you can perform light attacks or heavy attacks which in theory should be fine, but you end up strafing around the enemies like an idiot looking for an opening, there is no strategy with it I wish they focused on the platforming more because that’s the game’s strength not the combat.

Graphically the game looks alright nothing mind blowing but I feel they sacrificed graphics for performance which is good considering this console generation has been pushing better graphics rather than higher frame rates. The high frame rate helps you time precise jumps and it just feels better when you leap from rooftop to rooftop. Graphics overall are bland nothing with some blurry textures that I would generally associate with an early Xbox 360 and PS3 game coupled with a excessive use of bloom.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a great first person platformer, but due the awful combat and the second half the game where they put you in tight spaces I found it more frustrating than good. It’s not an awful game but it’s not a good game it’s just average. 

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