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    dkirschner's Mirror's Edge Catalyst (PC)

    [March 13, 2017 08:22:13 AM]
    Thoroughly enjoyed this second installment of Mirror's Edge. The city of Glass is breathtaking, and traversing its rooftops thrilling. I kept comparing this to Assassin's Creed and would love Mirror's Edge to get a longer game in a bigger world (I said this about the first game too, and the second is bigger, but I want more!). The verticality is impressive, and the movement and platforming are so much better than Assassin's Creed games.

    If you've never played Mirror's Edge, it's basically dystopian parkour. You play as Faith, a "runner." Runners are anti-corporate political dissidents in a world controlled by conglomerates. Their domain is the rooftops of the city of Glass. The key mechanic is "runner vision," which highlights objects in the environment that Faith can use to continue fluidly freerunning. Runner vision automatically highlights objects in a path that is the shortest distance from A to B, but you're free to turn the help offered by runner vision up or down or off completely and find your own paths. This is a really unique way to move in a game, and its easy to get entranced by the speed and grace of it all. Runner vision makes it so you rarely have to stop and contemplate while running; instead, you're on the edge of your seat reacting to new obstacles and feeling the adrenaline rush of successfully landing a series of difficult moves. The one caveat is that runner's vision doesn't always work. It turns itself off and back on. I initially thought this was because Faith was in a communications dead zone where her Beat (mobile device connecting to the Glass network) was offline, but it happened seemingly randomly. So sometimes you'll be standing there looking around for something to turn red. Eventually something will, I guess as the game figures out a path for you. It's easy to feel lost without runner vision.

    The combat in this series gets a lot of flak. I remember thinking it wasn't good in the first game, but in this one, I appreciate the point of it. Faith tries to avoid combat, running away instead. But forced into combat, she holds her own against K-SEC (Kruger Security, part of Kruger Industries, the main evil corporation in the game). Combat is clunky, with one button for light attacks and one for heavy attacks. You do way more damage if you attack after jumping off a wall or launching off a zipline, so combat looks kind of silly with Faith running toward walls all the time to get the momentum to jumpkick enemies in midair. It was annoying at first, but became challenging in its own fun way later on. Try to run through enemies and jumpkick on the fly to continue your run though. This actually builds "focus," and when your focus meter is more full, you are more likely to avoid bullets and you take less damage. So you're actually rewarded for running through enemies.

    The story is decent, characters one-dimensional. For a game about social conflict, I found the PG dialogue really odd. Come on, these people would drop f-bombs and they'd say shit instead of crap and they'd say damn it instead of darn it. In the future, corporations control everything. Everyone is an "employ" at a corporation. Loyalty is encouraged and deviance heavily sanctioned. There is a small corporate ruling elite and a mass of "LowCaste" workers with everyone striving to become "MidCaste"--the good ole Glass Dream, and false consciousness to the extreme. The runners are basically socialists, and one of the factions, Black November, is so hilariously communist in their talk about the social class system of Glass--overthrowing the corporations, getting the employs to wake up and realize that they have a shit deal, and inciting the employs to take back power. The dialogue was practically lifted out of the Communist Manifesto, and made me think about writing a paper showing how sociological theory is embedded in video games. Add that one to the idea list.

    Mirror's Edge provides a lot of side missions and other challenges, such as time trials, platforming puzzles, and courier missions. These other challenges generally tie into the story, or at least one character, but don't add much. The courier missions, for example, give some insight into employ life as they ask you to deliver flowers to a secret lover, or deliver food to someone, etc. Doing all this would probably double the game's length, and I did a healthy dose during my playthrough, but did a good job ignoring most of them. One interesting thing is that users can create new time trials and they will show up in your game. While interesting, I found it distracting and it broke the sense of immersion. I'm running and I'm really into what I'm doing and I notice that "PuRpLeHAZE420" has left a time trial challenge. Hmm.

    All in all, a wonderful experience that I would recommend. People will be turned off by the combat (but accept that it isn't supposed to be a fighting game and ignore it when you can) and the story (but accept that narrative isn't why you're here). Remember that it's all about the running, and the running is stellar. More please!
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    dkirschner's Mirror's Edge Catalyst (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 6 March, 2017

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 12 March, 2017

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Great colors. Fluid motions when running. Fighting not so much, but getting the hang of it. Cool world building. Typical EA collectible BS. ------------- Great game. Running is awesome.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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