A sequel ive long wanted, I really enjoyed the original Mirrors Edge back in the day, it was different, flowed really well, looked great and played great, when the sequel was announced at E3 2013 I was excited but that withered a lot as we got closer to release and the somewhat tepid reviews confirmed my concerns.
The main issue I had with Mirrors Edge Catalyst was that it feels uninspired and a lot of design decisions that just do nothing for the game, at times it almost felt like they wanted me to dislike it.
Moving to an open-world design is fine in theory, there are plenty of games that pull it off well and others that have evolved to the new formula but I felt like it took away from the level design with it becoming repetitive and lacked the quality the original had, I still remember some sections even from years ago, some of the building sites in particular with some enjoyable bits, it was good design and a challenge to keep flowing through well but they pulled it off and it made for a great game.
Having more to do seemed like a good idea, side missions can add to a game when done right but lots of repetitive quests did little to feel compelling and when added together with the rest of the game not feeling particularly stand-out it ended up coming across as filler.
There is an RPG-lite upgrade system in the game which was fine, I don’t mind getting XP and upgrading my abilities, particularly as I didn’t feel like the ones I missed out on cost me anything in the experience. The upgrades add some new moves which make it easier to get around although I thought a grapple hook also seemed to kind of defeat the purpose of the game in the first place, too.
It felt at times like DICE really weren’t sure how to fit the pieces of the game together, almost like a wet puzzle and in that they lost what made it good in the first place.
In general, the game felt like the metacritic average was maybe a little generous just because of how utterly uninspiring it all felt, which was a huge disappointment. A lifeless city of rooftops and uninteresting quests, the story has some interesting moments (if predictable) that were probably the high point all in all, I was glad that despite the family ties they didn’t take the easy way out with some loving reunion (spoilers?).
The clean look of the original also didn’t quite standout as much as I thought it would, being a sequel would take some of the gloss of but there aren’t many games with the visual identity of Mirrors Edge either.
I did wonder if maybe the time for a sequel had just passed it by, or maybe it was just that it wasnt really for me now, but I enjoyed the original a lot and felt a new sequel could build well on the great foundations they set in 2008.
There were literally a few times where I wanted to toss my controller at the screen too which is not something that happens to me often. Mirrors Edge should not be about excessive combat sections because the combat is god awful and frustrating, its fine in small bursts to knock a guard or two out as you keep moving but there were a few sections which had lots of enemies and just didn’t work at all. Unfortunately it added nothing to the game, it destroys the flow and it just wasn’t fun. It was tempting a few times to just not bother.
I stuck through and got to the end, it seemed pointless to give up when I got so far and the story missions weren’t really all that long either but overall it was a tremendously disappointing experience and I don’t really see where DICE would go with another one. The open-world didn’t really work for me and despite a few good story points it can’t make up for absence of high quality level design which flowed so well in the original and made me want to improve my times.
With the way EA want to move forwards, more open-world games I don’t think that suits what would make a good Mirrors Edge, of course DICE could surprise me but maybe they should try something else new or stick to Battlefield and Star Wars.