Mirror's Edge Catalyst: How to completely fail at storytelling

SonicMTD

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Mirror's Edge Catalyst had a fair share of good decisions in it's development. It's controls were incredibly fluid and it's art style was fantastic however that alone wasn't enough to save it. With gameplay features incredibly lacking, and its' paint by numbers story failing to inspire; Electronic Arts botched trying to appeal to more people and as a result canned any potential in a sequel.

I can go on forever but how about I save you the article. Have a video that took me 4 years to make instead:


Do you still play Mirror's Edge Catalyst? What do you think about it compared to the original?
 
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Chimpzy

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Can't. Catalyst was released after EA got on my shitlist. Haven't played. Never will. First Mirror's Edge was before the shitlistening tho, so I have played that. Replayed it not too long ago actually. Still like it overall. Controls kind of awkward, but it does feel good when you pull off a smooth run. Also, imo still looks good on pc at max settings. Strong art direction ages gracefully.

Anyway, obviously can't judge on Catalysts gameplay aside from the whole EA gonna EA bits, but going by your video and other stuff I've seen/read about it does seem like storywise it's rather lackluster. Probably still better than the original one tho, but that's mostly because that didn't so much have a story as only snippets of one.
 

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Can't. Catalyst was released after EA got on my shitlist. Haven't played. Never will. First Mirror's Edge was before the shitlistening tho, so I have played that. Replayed it not too long ago actually. Still like it overall. Controls kind of awkward, but it does feel good when you pull off a smooth run. Also, imo still looks good on pc at max settings. Strong art direction ages gracefully.

Anyway, obviously can't judge on Catalysts gameplay aside from the whole EA gonna EA bits, but going by your video and other stuff I've seen/read about it does seem like storywise it's rather lackluster. Probably still better than the original one tho, but that's mostly because that didn't so much have a story as only snippets of one.
This.
 
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SonicMTD

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Can't. Catalyst was released after EA got on my shitlist. Haven't played. Never will. First Mirror's Edge was before the shitlistening tho, so I have played that. Replayed it not too long ago actually. Still like it overall. Controls kind of awkward, but it does feel good when you pull off a smooth run. Also, imo still looks good on pc at max settings. Strong art direction ages gracefully.

Anyway, obviously can't judge on Catalysts gameplay aside from the whole EA gonna EA bits, but going by your video and other stuff I've seen/read about it does seem like storywise it's rather lackluster. Probably still better than the original one tho, but that's mostly because that didn't so much have a story as only snippets of one.
Catalyst is the last EA game I will play as an indie reviewer. I’ve been holding a grudge ever since Mass Effect 3.
 

Chimpzy

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Catalyst is the last EA game I will play as an indie reviewer. I’ve been holding a grudge ever since Mass Effect 3.
ME3 was also the last EA game I bought*, tho it was not itself one of the reasons I shitlisted them. I rather like ME3 actually. Imo the overall best one in terms of general gameplay, striking a decent balance between the rpg-ness of ME1 and the shootiness of ME2. And the multiplayer, while kind of superfluous, was pretty fun. It kind of shit the bed in the story department and came to a disappointing resolution. But I've been around the block and I've played enough games with lackluster finish lines that I'm like 'shame, but whatever, there's yet more games.'

* Technically I did get one more EA game after ME3. Titanfall 2. Which I got on a whim as the 3rd in a buy 2 secondhand games get a 3rd game with value <15€ free type deal at my local store. I heard so many good things about the campaign, I was all fuck it, it's secondhand so EA is not getting any of my money, so I'll overlook it this one time. And it's worth playing. Excellent campaign. They were selling it for 5€. New. Used was only 2,5€. The only other games you could get for that were FIFA games from like 5+ years ago that no one wants anymore. That's kinda insulting. But I don't blame the store. I know the story. EA fucked this game hard. It had no chance. Respawn Entertainment is perhaps not perfect, but they deserve better than EA. One of many reasons for the shitlist.
 
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happyninja42

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Can't. Catalyst was released after EA got on my shitlist. Haven't played. Never will. First Mirror's Edge was before the shitlistening tho, so I have played that. Replayed it not too long ago actually. Still like it overall. Controls kind of awkward, but it does feel good when you pull off a smooth run. Also, imo still looks good on pc at max settings. Strong art direction ages gracefully.

Anyway, obviously can't judge on Catalysts gameplay aside from the whole EA gonna EA bits, but going by your video and other stuff I've seen/read about it does seem like storywise it's rather lackluster. Probably still better than the original one tho, but that's mostly because that didn't so much have a story as only snippets of one.
Eh, I have recently played ME:C but lost interest in it for several reasons. I loved the first one, mostly because the entire drive of the game, was non-violent. I recall seeing some interview footage of the dev, how they said that your main "weapon" in the game was your speed and mobility, and while you could pick up weapons, it seriously hampered your parkour abilities. So it was advantageous to just avoid conflict with the guards, by finding creative paths around them, and just moving on. And I really enjoyed that personally. Faith isn't a fighter/killer, she's a runner.

Catalyst, didn't seem to embrace that stance as much. You are forced, very often, to fight dudes to progress. Which just annoyed me to no end, as it felt antithetical to original mood of the first game.

I also disliked Smugs McGee, or whatever his name was. The arrogant male character they introduce right away, who says nothing but condescending insults to Faith, over...and over...and over. Every interaction with him was like pulling teeth, and genuinely frustrated me. I also didn't like how they gated several of the parkour moves you have in Edge1, behind skill levels that you have to unlock. I found that very frustrating, as I'm trying to pull off moves I know you could do in the old one, but nope....no amount of button pressing is going to pull it off, because I haven't unlocked the wall climb double jump thingy, sorry.

As for the plot, I found the plot of Edge1 to be perfectly fine. It was a standard, serviceable motivation, and I don't really have any issues with it. Catalyst though, I just, I didn't really care. I found myself kind of zoning out when they tried to engage me with what was going on, and I just didn't care.

It just felt like a hollow shell of the first game overall. Which I hate, because I REALLY enjoyed Edge1.

It's one reason, I think, that I fell in love with Ghostrunner so much. It felt a lot like a spiritual successor to Edge1, in that mobility and speed are the primary focus. Yeah it's got hyperviolence that you have to engage in sometimes, so that part doesn't remind me of Edge (more of Hotline Miami). But the "keep moving, keep jumping, keep dodging" feel of it, REALLY reminded me of Edge. So much so, that I bought Catalyst thinking "man I really want some parkour goodness! Let me give this one a try!! " sadly, it failed to keep my interest.
 

Chimpzy

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As for the plot, I found the plot of Edge1 to be perfectly fine. It was a standard, serviceable motivation, and I don't really have any issues with it. Catalyst though, I just, I didn't really care. I found myself kind of zoning out when they tried to engage me with what was going on, and I just didn't care.
Oh, I didn't mean that Edge1's plot is bad in premise, it's serviceable, but because it is painfully obviously incomplete, and not in the usual sequel bait manner, or "you have to have read the comics/books" manner like the backstory of Catalyst apparently is. No, incomplete in the sense that they didn't just take a hacksaw to it, but an entire toolshed. And then the end credits suddenly hit and it's so jarring because there's threads unresolved galore. Big ol' chunks of plot you can feel should've been there, but aren't.
 

SonicMTD

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ME3 was also the last EA game I bought*, tho it was not itself one of the reasons I shitlisted them. I rather like ME3 actually. Imo the overall best one in terms of general gameplay, striking a decent balance between the rpg-ness of ME1 and the shootiness of ME2. And the multiplayer, while kind of superfluous, was pretty fun. It kind of shit the bed in the story department and came to a disappointing resolution. But I've been around the block and I've played enough games with lackluster finish lines that I'm like 'shame, but whatever, there's yet more games.'
I’m a story focused guy so I can’t really let that slide. I’ll call them out if they botch the narrative.


Eh, I have recently played ME:C but lost interest in it for several reasons. I loved the first one, mostly because the entire drive of the game, was non-violent. I recall seeing some interview footage of the dev, how they said that your main "weapon" in the game was your speed and mobility, and while you could pick up weapons, it seriously hampered your parkour abilities. So it was advantageous to just avoid conflict with the guards, by finding creative paths around them, and just moving on. And I really enjoyed that personally. Faith isn't a fighter/killer, she's a runner.

Catalyst, didn't seem to embrace that stance as much. You are forced, very often, to fight dudes to progress. Which just annoyed me to no end, as it felt antithetical to original mood of the first game.

I also disliked Smugs McGee, or whatever his name was. The arrogant male character they introduce right away, who says nothing but condescending insults to Faith, over...and over...and over. Every interaction with him was like pulling teeth, and genuinely frustrated me. I also didn't like how they gated several of the parkour moves you have in Edge1, behind skill levels that you have to unlock. I found that very frustrating, as I'm trying to pull off moves I know you could do in the old one, but nope....no amount of button pressing is going to pull it off, because I haven't unlocked the wall climb double jump thingy, sorry.

As for the plot, I found the plot of Edge1 to be perfectly fine. It was a standard, serviceable motivation, and I don't really have any issues with it. Catalyst though, I just, I didn't really care. I found myself kind of zoning out when they tried to engage me with what was going on, and I just didn't care.

It just felt like a hollow shell of the first game overall. Which I hate, because I REALLY enjoyed Edge1.

It's one reason, I think, that I fell in love with Ghostrunner so much. It felt a lot like a spiritual successor to Edge1, in that mobility and speed are the primary focus. Yeah it's got hyperviolence that you have to engage in sometimes, so that part doesn't remind me of Edge (more of Hotline Miami). But the "keep moving, keep jumping, keep dodging" feel of it, REALLY reminded me of Edge. So much so, that I bought Catalyst thinking "man I really want some parkour goodness! Let me give this one a try!! " sadly, it failed to keep my interest.
I liked the gameplay of MEC but felt the combat was really just an afterthought. Although a bit of an upgrade from ME. As a whole though; you and I sync up in regards to the story and characters.
 
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Bob_McMillan

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I actually really liked Catalyst. I mean, I can't remember a single character other than Faith, but I enjoyed it. The gameplay was smooth and intuitive, and the game just looks great. That said, I did buy the game years after release and for like $5, so I didn't care much enough to register any faults of the game.

Although after playing TItanfall 2, I'd say Catalyst lacks those extended moments of adrenaline and speed while moving across the terrain. I mean you sure can go fast, but for not very long before you run out of space to run.
 
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SonicMTD

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I actually really liked Catalyst. I mean, I can't remember a single character other than Faith, but I enjoyed it. The gameplay was smooth and intuitive, and the game just looks great. That said, I did buy the game years after release and for like $5, so I didn't care much enough to register any faults of the game.

Although after playing TItanfall 2, I'd say Catalyst lacks those extended moments of adrenaline and speed while moving across the terrain. I mean you sure can go fast, but for not very long before you run out of space to run.
There’s also the big problem of not being able to properly maintain momentum as a result of the level layout. Often times you need to stop moving just to check to make sure what you’re about to run towards is safe. I have died multiple times as a result of vaulting towards an area I thought was safe only to find there’s nothing to land or grab on to.
 

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There’s also the big problem of not being able to properly maintain momentum as a result of the level layout. Often times you need to stop moving just to check to make sure what you’re about to run towards is safe. I have died multiple times as a result of vaulting towards an area I thought was safe only to find there’s nothing to land or grab on to.
Yeah the monochrome architecture does make it hard sometimes, based on buildings lining up, to accurately tell what is where, due to depth perception.

"Ok, is that a landing just 3 feet past this AC unit? Or is it the roof of the next building over that optically just looks like it's right here?" I cant' tell because it's all glaringly white!!!! " *take a leap of faith and jump....and faaaaaaalllll*
 

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Yikes! Steam tells me I played the OG last in 2013. I should give it a try. As I never went far with it, I never tried Catalyst. The positive things I'm reading to visuals and game play make me think of skipping over the OG. EDIT: Only $5 on Steam. Hmmm.
 
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Yikes! Steam tells me I played the OG last in 2013. I should give it a try. As I never went far with it, I never tried Catalyst. The positive things I'm reading to visuals and game play make me think of skipping over the OG. EDIT: Only $5 on Steam. Hmmm.
By all means if it’s that cheap, give it a whirl.
 
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gorfias

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By all means if it’s that cheap, give it a whirl.
Played some of the 1st last night. Kinda reminds me of old Tomb Raider. Then, the mechanic was getting her to jump from place a to b, missing it, and seeing her rag doll 50 times before you get it. Uncharted showed us these characters are supposed to be good at this sort of thing. Getting from a to b should be the easy part. I guess I just need to get better at this to enjoy it.
 

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Played some of the 1st last night. Kinda reminds me of old Tomb Raider. Then, the mechanic was getting her to jump from place a to b, missing it, and seeing her rag doll 50 times before you get it. Uncharted showed us these characters are supposed to be good at this sort of thing. Getting from a to b should be the easy part. I guess I just need to get better at this to enjoy it.
Well part of the issue, is the inherent visual disconnect of a first person platformer, when you are not actually there. It's MUCH easier, to instinctively know, due to your actual senses, if you are at the "edge" or not when on a surface. But even with the addition of FEET (good job there Mirror's Edge. seriously) in a first person game to give you a point of reference, it's still difficult, when looking forward and running, to tell if you are at the edge, or still 5feet away from the edge. Which, given how often these games make little to no margin for error in jump distances, is the difference in Faith catching the lip, and going splat on the traffic below.

It does unfortunately mean you have to just repeat over and over until you pick up on some more subtle clues in your FOV. Or just, do what I did, which is try and condition my brain to a half second delay between when my instincts say jump, and when I press the button. Because I would always judge it too early. Of course sometimes I would overcorrect, and just run off the edge without any jump at all. :D But you work with what you have.

I still find the system of first person parkour very fun, on a personal level. Sadly the layer of separation between the screen and my senses telling me "you're sitting on the couch" will forever be a barrier to smooth gameplay in games like that. Until VR of course, but that will have it's own hurdles to clear, as we've started to see.
 
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