That Catalyst exists is a triumph of fan acclaim over market forces, and I doff the rim of my brim to EA for refusing to give up on a good idea.
And yet, even for its fans, it isn't hard to ascertain why the original failed to gel with a big audience. For all its plusses, there were flaws a-plenty - but relatively minor enough in the fat face of its successes for many of us to overlook them. What's odd, is that those flaws remain in this reboot - while adding a whole bunch more.
It's like a car getting withdrawn from the market over safety concerns surrounding a big pipe that stuck out of the steering wheel, vomiting hot wax into the face of the driver... And then the manufacturer releases a new model which still has the pipe... but hopes to distract people with a pneumatic sickle that shoots up through the passenger seat, whenever you "parp" the "horn".
Like its predecessor, Catalyst is a first-person parkour game, starring Faith, an emo-haired courier.
The control scheme feels very much the same as before, albeit with a handful of new traversal moves, a bunch of new combat moves, and less trial-and-error in finding your route through the world. Though there's the option to turn it off, your path is, by default, laid out in front of you via a bright red trail - barring a few puzzle-y moments, where finding the way to the top of a room or building is the focus.
The biggest addition to Catalyst is size. The original was an all-too-brief series of linear levels, whereas the reboot opts for an open world - with the usual side-missions, time trials, and the like that are fast becoming the norm in any big game.
In theory this would've been fine. In practice, it flirts with hobbling the game, and losing the precision focus that made the original such a blast of fresh air.
The major issue with Catalyst is one of repetition.
Though fast travel between areas of the map are unlocked as you progress, for a lot of the game you'll find yourself running and jumping around the same locations.
What's more, due to the stylised visuals, even new places will feel familiar.
When you get the occasional mission set in sewers, or a previously visited locale that's now bomb-damaged, your focus kicks back in. For much of the game, though, it feels like a lot of retreading well-worn paths.
Not helping matters are the same-y missions, which mostly fall into one of two categories: make your way to a place, or make your way to a place and beat up some bad guys. There just isn't enough variation. Even the multiplayer modes are basically geocaching, or running time trials against other people's scores.
The constant running - on the PS4 at least - is also an issue, because I found my thumb didn't want to stay on the analogue stick. Pushing forwards the whole time caused it to slide off, when I least needed it to. I'd end up using my right hand to push my thumb back into place.
Though it's hats off to them for not giving your character a gun, it needed some other element, something else, to break up the recurrent gameplay beats. There's a new skills upgrade tree - but the upgrades all arrive far too soon, and don't dramatically impact the gameplay anyway. Even a grappling hook feels like the most obvious "new" gadget.
As it is, as fun and satisfying as it often can be to make your way around the world of Mirror's Edge, it's like they stubbornly thought the central parkour mechanic was enough. It isn't.
Inevitably, the story in Catalyst is forgettable - those who you meet along the way are a bunch of try-hards in hoodies, or weary revolutionary stereotypes. Nothing particularly surprising happens, and - despite a few bombs going off - the sterile world fails to convince. It's a shame, because in the original that felt like an aesthetic choice, but in this more open version of Mirror's Edge, it feels like it's hamstrung by a low budget.
The environment simply doesn't feel alive, and I found my connection to it waning the more time I spent in it. People in cocktail dresses stand around on rooftops, seemingly with nothing better to do. The only other signs of life are the cars and pedestrians at ground level, hundreds of feet below. It's an empty, Tron-like world, rather than a place which feels grounded in something tangible.
And yet... for all its litany of flaws, when it's flowing, Mirror's Edge is like nothing else.
Though free running can be found in any number of games now - Dying Light, Uncharted... - Mirror's Edge still convinces more than any other. It's one of the few games which makes me buck and twist my physical body while playing - in the way my mother used to when she played Space Invaders.
That alone - sterile as it might be - has to be regarded as some measure of success. Not to mention the fact that, despite all the flaws I've pointed out here, I wanted to keep playing, just to keep finding those highpoints. It's a bit like drinking a cup of Dettol just to get to the glacé cherry at the bottom.
SUMMARY: Bollards are our shoes.
SCORE: 12 'WHY IS IT CALLED MIRROR'S EDGE ANYWAYS' out of 16.9