Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst – The Slanted Reception

I’m still writing part 2 of what will likely be a very long and hard look at Mass Effect 3 in relation to the franchise and the story its production and release told. I’ve got a draft saved and I probably will write up more for it later.

But something else has distracted me recently. See when I visited my friend Dougss back in July I got a lot of hands-on time with Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, the reboot developed by DICE (those Battlefield guys) and published by EA. Mirror’s Edge, the original, and the reboot continue to be this fascinating thing to observe and study because each game has received average/decent scores (around the 7 on a 10 scale basically). Personally I think numerical scores are pointless and detract from what reviews and critical reception are supposed to do: Inform/suggest the reader if they should make the investment, and provide an analysis as to the strengths and weaknesses of the game as a whole.

That can mean a lot of things for a video game, not to mention a reboot of a franchise that was released as a sort of experimental IP that didn’t take wind like expected several years ago for various reasons.

Needless to say, I really really enjoyed Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst. In fact I was craving more by the time I got home and so I bought a copy, plunged myself in and finished just about everything enjoyable the game had to offer from a single-player standpoint aside from the slightly boring collectibles. And yet, for a game that’s built by a company that has a reputation for making insanely intense arcadey battle experiences, Mirror’s Edge (Catalyst or not) continues to be one of the most refreshing first person games I’ve played in a long time from a mechanical standpoint. And for an open-world design I’m actually pretty darn happy with the end result.

So….why the average scores? What’s wrong with Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst that keeps it from the recognition of any of your other yearly-blockbuster-fun games like an Assassin’s Creed or a Call of Duty?

The answer is really complicated, and believe it or not, has less to do with bad critics so much as it does a game that not everyone “gets” or even “wants”. Aaand since I’ve got two other writing projects currently in some sort of a cycle (Mass Effect and Political Spirits), then I think I should really address Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst the best way  I can:

By doing a stream analysis series.

That’s right, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst streaming! I’ll give you all a good notification in advance and also post with a link the day of / prior to starting. I don’t know how long this’ll take but with the game still fresh on my brain I want to take a stab at it and talk about it at lengths.

Hopefully by the end of the series, the flaws in the game will be visible but the strengths will be even more visible and help you consider grabbing a copy of this series yourself.

Think of the streams as my attempt to rally around something I want more of in this industry. Like when people rallied for more Pacific Rim, I’d like to convince a few people that despite the problems in this game, that they want more of it!

See you all soon, next lengthy post going up will definitely be the Mass Effect 3 one. Bye!


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