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Verdict: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst falls short in performance

At long last, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has finally hit store shelves. After years of internal tribulations, this prequel/reboot to DICE’s 2008 stylish first-person parkour game is available for the world to play. Unfortunately, this open world interpretation is receiving a somewhat tepid response. It’s by no means an outright failure, but it seems to be disappointing for many fans of the original game.

On Metacritic, Catalyst currently has a score of 72/100 on the PS4. Both the Xbox One (73) and PC (75) version rate slightly higher, but there are less reviews to draw from. On our sister site IGN, the game received an “Okay” rating of 6.8/10 on all platforms. The fast-paced traversal continues to impress, but most of what’s built around that core gameplay idea didn’t sit well with IGN’s reviewer. The bland open world, a disappointing story, occasionally awkward combat, and muddier console versions make for a lackluster overall experience.

With all of that said, it’s worth remembering that the first game wasn’t perfect. It ranged between a 79 and an 81/100 on Metacritic, and the different platforms scores spanned a 7.3 and an 8.5/10 on IGN. The gun combat was widely panned, and there were people clamoring for bigger environments at the time. And since it targeted only 30fps last generation, it was clear from the start that there was a lot of room for improvement.

It’s been about eight years since the first game was released. When people compare Catalyst to its progenitor, it’s in the context of eight years that have been chockablock with open world games. What we wanted back then isn’t necessarily what we expect out of a game now. So while it’s safe to say that Catalyst is an improvement over the original in numerous ways, the steps forward simply aren’t big enough for some of us.

From a performance and fidelity perspective, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has problems. The IGN review calls out muddy textures and an unstable frame rate on the console versions, and recommends playing the PC version if you have the opportunity. However, the PC version doesn’t get away completely scot-free. Over at Kotaku, the reviewer assigned to Catalyst ran into some performance problems on his high-end gaming rig in the later parts of the game. Hopefully the day-one drivers from AMD and Nvidia smooth things out a bit.

The closed beta from earlier this year had some serious issues on console, and it seems like a few months of polish weren’t able to fix everything. The GameSpot review claims that the retail version runs significantly better on the Xbox One than the beta did, but glitches and dropped frames are still noticeable.

With all of that said, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst still might be worth picking up down the road. After we’ve seen a few performance patches and perhaps a price drop or two, this game will be much easier to recommend to the virtual parkour enthusiasts among us. But if you have a history of motion sickness, it’s probably better to pass on this release all together.

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