In addition to being an artist, sci-fi aficionado, and having an interest in a whole lot of other cool stuff (which I may fill you in on someday), I’m also a pretty big fan of board games, card games, miniatures (like Warhammer 40K and BattleTech), RPGs (like Shadowrun and Star Wars) and console/PC games. The reason being is that the artwork, music and development of game “worlds” have always been an immense area of amazing creativity. That’s why I thought it might be fun to jot down a few of my thoughts on Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, which was released on June 7, 2016
I was a huge fan of the first Mirror’s Edge, which came out in 2008. Having played this game a number of times, the concept, design and ambient music are elements that I’ve really appreciated over the years – not to mention the unique cyberpunk feel. Sure, there’s been a ton of dark and gritty Bladerunner inspired movies, games and books out there – but I really haven’t encountered anything that feels quite like Mirror’s Edge. With the huge City of Glass, it was fun taking a break from “running” and take a few moments to explore the environment and soak in the world.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (which I played on the PS4) is no different. In fact, it’s more. Like the first Mirror’s Edge, you again step into the role of Faith, a young woman whose activist parents were killed by corporate police. Surviving by living on the rooftops of the city, Faith resists the oppressive corporate regime through being part of an independent and illegal underground courier group – which means you’ll be playing through a variety of fantastic urban environments as you evade corporate security and surveillance measures. And this is where Mirror’s Edge Catalyst really shines. The open-world environment is spectacular, with high speed bullet trains zipping about, drones and aircraft flying through the air, animated billboards and artwork, cars on the highways far below, and people walking about inside the stunning glass structures and walkways. And with a day/night cycle, the city always looks different. Sure, there’s some occasional texture pop-in, and the frostbite engine does look slightly different than the engine utilized by the first Mirror’s Edge. But overall, exploring the world both outside and inside a huge variety of stunning architectural areas is really a wonder to behold.
Music and sound design is again very good (with one of the songs by CHVRCHES). Like the first game, there’s some really nice tracks here that you might feel compelled to purchase for your music library. Game mechanics are also very solid, with movement throughout the world feeling very responsive. With the numerous open spaces to run, jump and climb through, you’ll feel a great sense of freedom – and at times, a bit of vertigo as you stare down into a huge indoor atrium or street space far below. And as you take on the various missions, you’ll also encounter plenty of corporate police who will attempt to put a stop to your activities. You won’t be able to use guns, but you’ll be able to use your skills to great effect as you punch and kick your way out of many a dangerous situation.
The story in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst moves along the game. Sure, it’s not like “The Last of Us”, a game that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but some people really gush over in terms of story – but I really didn’t understand some of the professional reviewers that really nitpicked in this area. To me, it was good. I especially think there’s a lot here to talk about for libertarians, with themes revolving around a massive police state/ surveillance state, a subdued populace and even what it might mean to live free.
In the end, with the great environment to freely explore, and numerous objectives to accomplish, I’d easily recommend this game to friends and family – and anyone else who might be even a little interested. Because whether you’re a fan of cyberpunk, or just looking for something different to feed your creative spark, you’re sure to find something special in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.
By the way, the above artwork that accompanies this game review is a Mirror’s Edge fan art illustration that I created just for fun. Like it? Let me know! For more information, check out the official Mirror’s Edge Catalyst page.
Want to get in on the fun? Be sure to check out our libertarian artists page for our artist interviews and artwork from a variety of different artists in our community! You can also check out Libertopia’s own artwork page here, or download our 60 page art ebook at Libertopia: Collection One!