Arts

Neil McGreevy: Games

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst (PS4)

By: EA

THE original Mirror's Edge launched back in 2009, and while only a modest success, its unique mix of first-person running and platforming has since made it quite the cult (which I often half-hear myself described as).

Played out like The Running Woman, its non-white, non-male, combat-avoiding protagonist was a gasp of fresh PC air at a time when dude-bro grunts oozed testosterone over gamedom.

Part reboot, part sequel, Catalyst serves up more of the same high-wire platforming as the fleet-footed Faith Connors traverses the antiseptic city of Glass using her sweet parkour skills.

Sterile and clean, as though designed by a germophobic Swede, Glass is ruled by an evil conglomerate, with groups of free-spirited couriers called Runners living off-grid.

Players peer through the eyes of the rebellious Faith as she undertakes dizzying missions that generally involve getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

The many leaps of Faith border on the superhuman, and everything in the game is intended to maintain this motion-sickness inducing momentum.

Unarmed throughout, Faith relies on her clambering and arse-whupping skills to get by, though her fancier skills are locked behind upgrades, which is just silly.

With its emphasis on kineticism over combat, a sat-nav feature shows players the best route across the skyline, though one mistimed jump and you'll suffer a Gruber-esque rooftop fall.

It's all liquid-smooth, and when the cracking soundtrack (once again provided by Swedish electro-noodler Solar Fields) is going full-on Run Lola Run, you'll feel like a force of nature.

Alas, Catalyst is another game ruined by the whole open world thing. Glass is a vast, empty wasteland littered with barren crannies and stuffed with (ugh) side-quests.

The original's clean, single-minded approach has been diluted with a brimful of committee-designed clutter, busy work and rampant backtracking.

While the first Mirror's Edge was a niche fan favourite that survived on its tight design, Catalyst's bloated open world and creaking skill tree batter that unique spirit into a generic big-budget actioner.

But if you've really got to have 'faith-a-faith-a-faith-a', there's enough adrenaline-pumped nonsense, gut-knotting tumbles and technical wizardry here to please fans – even if any comparison to the eight-year-old original isn't kind.

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