Spider Faith, Spider Faith Does Whatever A Spider… Caith?
Eight years, wait, what? Eight years?! EIGHT YEARS AGO??! Wowzers. Eight years ago, Mirror’s Edge landed to much acclaim. Well, for me, anyway. I adored the revolutionary gameplay of the original, but, even more, I feel head-over-heels in love with the aesthetic of it. These two things came together to make Mirror’s Edge one of my favourite games of all time.
So eight (EIGHT.) years later, we have the long-awaited prequel to the game, subtitled Catalyst, telling of how main character Faith… got her tattoo? And other stuff? I dunno.
As I said, this game takes place before the events of Mirror’s Edge, with Faith being a lot more bitchy than I remember, actually. After being released from juvie, Faith sets her sights on continuing her running careers, Runners being vigilante-style messenger folk who refuse to go by the rules established by a Conglomerate of powerful families who have taken control of Glass, the city in which the takes place. The most powerful of these families is the Kruger family, who have overrun the city’s law enforcement, now known as KrugerSec (K-Sec). However, on her first run, she comes across a secret meeting and steals a USB with some serious shizzle on it. Hijinx ensue.
As I previously mentioned, Faith’s a bit of a bitch in this installment, something that obviously didn’t attract me to her as a character. Joining her in the running squad, is rival Icarus, who’s also a bit of a knobend, and Noah, her mentor, who was the only likable guy here. We’ve also got Birdman, who should’ve been in the game more, Dogen, a supersexy black market dealer, Plastic (dumbass name alert!), the autistic hacker friend who should’ve been really annoying but kinda wasn’t and Rebecca, the leader of a violent revolution faction called Black November, which was named after the other Russian submarine.
In truth, the story was actually quite disappointingly thin. While the motives of all the characters are clear because the talk about them all the time, everything was very generic and there were pieces of dialogue that made me want to smear bacon grease on my ears and take a stroll down wolf mountain.
However, where it failed in story and structure, it made up for in it’s gameplay.
As a Runner, you are given an extensive knowledge of free running and parkour skillage, which makes traversal funner than in almost any other game I’ve played in a while. You can wall run, wall jump, vault, hop, slide and slather over any surface in the beautiful game world. On top of this, you’ve also got your MagRope, which is grappling hook type thang. As a video game grappling hook afficianado, I can solemnly say that, while not usable on any surface, like Just Cause, it is probably one the most fun to use grappling hooks, as you can also use it to swing from rooftop to rooftop, like Spider Man (ahh, the tagline’s making sense now). This may also be because of the first person perspective. While fast travel is a choice in the game, I never used it at all in my playthrough because moving was just so much fun.
A big dealio was made about the new combat system that had been conjured up, supposedly incorperating the stellar jumping and stuff. However, my new motto when it comes to video game combat is “FreeFlow or FreeNo.” Feel free to use that responsibly. Seriously though, after hearing about how bad the combat was in other reviews, I found it to be surprisingly alright, a nice bit of chunky melee, seeing that the ability to even use guns has been trashed this time round. That being said, I found some of my attacks to be a little bit ineffective against some of the higher powered enemies, no matter how many times I upgraded my shizzle.
Speaking of enemies, for me, there was quite a variety of buggers for you to smack abaat. We have our low level scum, like Guardians and Protectors, which can be taken out with a couple of quick kicks, then we have our standard gun bastards, Enforcers, which royally get on my tits for obvious reasons, and then Shock Protectors, with pulse guns, and, finally, the toughest of the tough, Sentinels, which I once saw described as a “leathered thumb”, that’s quite accurate. That being said, don’t you go around starting any wars with these guys, they’ll chew up unless you’re a badass, like myself. While in the endgame you end facing the same combo of these guys, during the story playthrough, it’s rewarding to face more and more difficult enemies the more you progress, each with their weaknesses and strengths, giving the game a strategical element.
The endgame and replay value aren’t to be forgotten, however, as there are a lot things to do and collect. While the deliveries can be pretty tedious and that can’t at all be denied, the time trial races can be pretty fun, especially if you set them for friends, adding a nice competitive edge to the game. There’s also an asstonne to collect, so I won’t bore you.
You’ll be doing all of this in an absolutely stunning game world. Whenever I mention brilliant game looks, I always spend too much time talking about Mirror’s Edge, because it’s beautiful, no more words needed. With the simplistic but powerful design of Glass, while playing through 2008 (2008!!!) classic, I couldn’t but be in awe everytime I turned a corner. However, just when I thought DICE couldn’t make it better they did. They made it bigger, free-roamable and made it brilliantly and bewilderingly both colourful and plain, keeping in fashion with the last game, while adding a neon glow to it. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.
On top of this, it’s feels extremely varied, with a plethora of structures and tings to jump over, making you use the parkour system to best of it’s ability, and making you feel like the literal wind, boi.
This prettiness is amplified by the top notch graphics, as you’d expect from a current gen game. Like, and I know keep comparing things to this, Arkham Knight, everything is so crisp and modern. Though there isn’t a day/night cycle or any weather patterns, the detail that has gone into this world is little, but that’s what I love about it.
The soundtrack, however, is just as bland as the environment, and not in the good way. The songs on your jukebox are of no variety and are all dancy-futuristicy numbers with no character. Although, the sound design was alright, sometimes better than others. It was extremely satisfying to hear the glass shatter on the visor of your enemies, but it wasn’t as satisfying to hear the unceremonious thud as you hit the ground. At least, they got rid of the horrible, deafening sound when you fell off.
Overall, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was a lot of fun. Though there was an admittedly iffy story, the gameplay and visuals made a lovely experience that wasn’t too easy, but wasn’t hair-pullingly difficult either.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations