I really liked original Mirror's Edge, even though I was not able to complete it due to it crashing at one of the levels somewhere mid-game. Then then comes out Mirror's Edge: Catalyst. I know quite a lot of time has passed since it original release, but somehow I did not even try it until recently.
I first tried a cracked version as I tend to do, when one is available and I am not sure if the game will be good enough to warrant throwing money at it even with a limited possibility to refund. I essentially played only the 1st mission there and though: "Good enough, so I'll wait for a discount".
Then there was a discount and I played some more. And... It was not worth it even on discount. It did not fill right. And I could not put my finger on it at first, but then I did: it's shallow.
Unlike the original game, this one tries to be an "open world" game, which brings all the common pains of such games, which become even more apparent in this one. It's pointless. It's tedious. It's boring. Boring because the reward is not satisfying. Boring because the views are repetitive. But, Spider-Man games have similarly relatively repetitive open world tasks, and still are great because of traversal. Which is the main attraction in Mirror's Edge...
But it is bad here as well. Firstly, locking some moves behind is just a bad idea in such a game. I mean, Spider-Man games also do lock some of the moves, but those are mostly quality of life ones. Here even the roll on landing is locked out. Why would someone do that?..
Secondly, the runner's trail is very inconsistent in its availability. I understand it's optional, but why sometimes it just stops working? Why does it seem to require Internet connection? I am newbie here, I do need its assistance.
Thirdly, the movements sometimes lock to wrong objects or not lock at all, making you change your course (and the flow) or even fall down. And when you do fall down you come upon the "forth": there is no "weight".
One of the reviews I've watched to help me figure out what I am missing in this game pointed out, that original game had bones crunching when you fall down. This is a minor thing, that was removed from the remake. Minor thing that changes perception greatly. If you've seen a good movie fighting scene (that corridor fight in 1st season of Marvel's Daredevil is a great example) and some bad one in any amateur movie - you will know, what I mean by "weight". That feeling, that makes you believe in reality of it all, feel the pain, the risks of the actions on the screen. Catalyst lacks that despite the sneakers squeaking.
I mean, if you play Tomb Raider games (the reboot ones), even if you do not like the story, you can't deny how "realistic" the difficulty of traversal is shown there. The camera angles, the sounds. Yes, Catalyst does not have luxury of camera angles, since it's first-person, but the original was able to delivery that somehow. And it made all the runs unique.
Which is another reason, why I am dropping Catalyst. From what I remember the story in original game was lackluster and simplistic, but it did not bother me, because it was not about the story, but action. High octane action. Each run gave you blood rush, because of all that bullets, breaking glass, clutter flying around. You felt the actual need to run and when you did, the game rewarded you for doing so by properly representing the speed.
Catalyst fails at that. Story is as lackluster as before, even worse, in fact, since it tries to be emotional without actually developing neither characters, nor the world. But action is even worse. Fighting system is ok, but the runs are boring. I did not really feel the urgency of the moment except for bullets literally sinking into Faith and forcing gamepad vibration. But that's not enough, you need other cues.
And different locations. Don't get me wrong the level design is not that bad. But when you do different missions and still see significant portions of the level in most of them in such a game - it becomes tiring. I mean Assassin's Creed games always tried to spice it up, even though occurrence of set of missions near one place did make sense from the story perspective. But in game, that is meant to deliver you the rush, the need to go through half the level only to start a mission, which forces you half way back the same route you just came is... Not a thing to do.
So, overall - don't buy it. Better buy original game, especially, considering they are at the same price.