January 15th, 2017 by Kurt "Chet" Christel
Last year, EA published two distinct titles: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Titanfall 2. They’re pretty decent games, I’ve reviewed both of them. Despite one being a fast paced shooter and the other being a sort of elaborate obstacle course game, the two have one major feature in common. Both include a lot of parkour. In both games, the architecture is very benevolent to the free-runner, with many buildings shaped in ways that allow you to line up the perfect double-wallrun jump. Why point this out? Because I have an insane theory you need to hear.
“Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Titanfall are the same universe.”
MEC takes place in a nation-state called “Cascadia”. There are a lot of supplemental materials you can read about the world here, but there’s a precise detail that isn’t in the books. Nothing says that Cascadia is ON EARTH. And why would it be? Most of the world is an unhospitable grey dump with a closed off supercity in one area. There’s a couple mentions of other countries, but no mention of Earth. Nothing places the storyline to a certain date or time, nor are you told if the city was formerly anything else, other than being a slightly different nation-state beforehand. Nothing stated in the index mentions any earthly location to indicate that it was historically somewhere we know today. Therefore, it must take place on another planet!
Stay with me. The Titanfall universe takes place on multiple colonized planets. Earth is only referenced in an unofficial wiki as the home planet of series antagonists, the IMC. Other than that, no real mention. In this universe, pilots are exemplars of the Militia, and many soldiers look up to these special operatives with envy. They get to pilot the titans! But when not using a titan, the pilots dash all over the place using a series of fancy free running techniques (and the assistance of jump-jets, which are becoming my new favorite thing in games). If you observe the characters who aren’t pilots, both in the campaign and multiplayer, it seems pilots are the only ones who can actually pull off those acrobatic feats. Clearly, its not really a common skill, and only the best can do it.
Back to Mirror’s Edge, the “runners” are a group of gangs that run along the rooftops of Cascadia, which is super dangerous and stupid. But the enemy security team can’t free-run, neither can the regular civilians. It’s a special skill that only the best can accomplish, and it becomes second nature to these individuals.
In either universe, despite not being common, parkour is widely used by those who strive to be excellent. The runners do it for the freedom and the pilots do it for the glory. Neither of these groups have to do it, but they do. So clearly, in both these worlds, free-running is a highly useful and advantageous skill to have. Pilots from Titanfall 2 would love to jump and run around the walls of Cascadia, and the runners wouldn’t be our of their element if they were given jump-jets and set loose on the planets of Titanfall 2.
So, by virtue of a valuable practice, you could surmise that Titanfall and Mirror’s Edge could plausibly be the same universe. Now you may be wondering what the point is? So what, they are same universe, no big deal? Wrong. There’s a big reason to come to this conclusion. That is: both games need more DLC and a universal crossover would be awesome.
Posted in Articles Tagged with: catalyst, crazy, crossover, editorial, fan theory, mirrors edge, mirrors edge catalyst, parkour, review, running, titanfall
June 7th, 2016 by Kurt "Chet" Christel
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a first person free-running game developed by DICE and published by EA. It is a hard reboot to 2008’s Mirror’s Edge, meaning fans had to wait 8 years for this game to come. You once again play as Faith Connors, a runner in a post-dystopian future, where a few run-of-the-mill courier jobs wind you up into a high-level conspiracy. New moves, an open world design, and more plot accompanied this remix. Changes to the melee combat for fighting enemies was also given an overhaul. But can it hold up to eight years of anticipation?
If you have a good TV and have never seen BLINDING WHITE LIGHT on your screen before, you’re welcome. Joking aside, the graphics are actually pretty damn good looking, complete with a 60P frame rate on all platforms. The designers were very committed to the aesthetics of this game’s “white & primaries” color tones littered with random invasive geometry. It makes the rooftops of futuristic Cascadia look like they could actually be real rooftops, despite being blatantly designed for the sake of free-running. The flowing water really adds to the zen effect of the architecture as well.
This is going to be a controversial opinion but Mirror’s Edge Catalyst had a great plot and a great ending. The plot is very minimalistic as characters are allowed to just “be people” in this universe rather than all have some great purpose. There’s tons of lore to peer into via dialogue and an online glossary. Both really paint the world into a captivating place. It also takes guts to make a game have great moments of plot only for the very end of the came tell you “but then nobody cared, the end.” This is also the same world where the police say, “Freeze, you are in breach of policy!” which gives me pause for thought every time I hear it.
Electronic musician Solar Fields made a great 9 tracks for the original game. The uniquely masterful synth pads, floating chords, and digital beats were a staple that made it great. The artist was up to the challenge for a follow up, and sitting at 5 HOURS and 12 MINUTES on Spotify, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’s OST is as full as a soundtrack can get. Entering new districts changes up the music to reflect the location and really expands what kind of emotion and sound can come from this one musical style. The sounds of protagonist Faith breathing as you run with the music warping every time you leap really intensified the experience, no doubt.
The biggest problem with Mirror’s Edge is that the control style of this game is very different than other more conventional games. ONLY in this game does hitting ‘right-bumper’ make sense as a ‘jump’ function. The gameplay is rewarding once you do finally pickup how to play. But even after that, the game throws an additional curve your way by making the side quests very, VERY challenging. It is still worth learning how to play, just to check out one of the coolest first-person melee combat systems since Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, and that is saying a lot. But once you’re skilled, the additionally ramped up difficulty of the optional challenges may make you decide not to bother with them.
I sold the physical copy when there was a digital copy on sale because I want to play this game on-demand. Then, I bought a second copy on PC for the same reason. Running around in this game’s many open locations are a great way to empty one’s mind from anything, and the engrossing soundtrack makes it even better. There’s some optional collect-athon elements that will keep you busy for a while after the story, especially if you are a 100% completionist. Once again, the only real problem is that after all this, those side missions are really hard and the “guide” you get isn’t interested in showing you the best route. That’s tough because the sheer frustrating difficulty of these missions can really ruin the mood.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was not the quite fully realized as it could have been after waiting for so long, but once playing through, it’s value became more and more apparent. I greatly appreciate that EA probably went out of their way to make a game sequel that they didn’t have to make.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: catalyst, mirrors edge, mirrors edge catalyst, parkour, review, video games