PSA: Mirror's Edge Catalyst has a nasty stuttering issue on certain PCs

The irony of a game called "Catalyst" having issues with slowdown.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

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Here is where our Mirror’s Edge review is supposed to go today. Instead we’re stuck posting a PSA, because this game is pretty broken in one very specific way.

Go back to when the Mirror’s Edge beta ran and you’ll find a few threads all describing the exact same problem on the PC: During cutscenes, the video stutters and ultimately ends up out of sync with the audio, making them if not impossible to watch then at least incredibly unpleasant. Here's a thread. Here's another. Here's an article courtesy of Digital Foundry. Here's another thread. Google it and you'll find many more.

Sad to say I’m experiencing the same exact problem in the retail version. Cinematics start, they stutter off and on for the first few seconds, then performance plummets and both the video and audio will start to skip around and desync. Then you’re forced to listen to Edgy Revolution Guy give a sermon at half-speed.

It happens every time, and it makes the game pretty much unplayable—at least, if you care about the story. Which is admittedly hard to do what with how generic it seems, but I’m trying.

Here’s a video showing the problem. This footage is untouched, and is representative of my experience (a.k.a. it's not latency introduced by video capture). In fact, you can see the FPS counter in the top-left, or at least how many frames per second the game thinks it's showing:

What’s particularly frustrating here is—to repeat—it’s a problem with the cutscenes. The game itself is pretty fun (albeit bloated), the parkour is smooth, and it all runs flawlessly on my system (i5-3570K/980 Ti/16GB of RAM), averaging over 100 frames per second maxed out.

Then I hit a story section and it grinds to a halt. At first I thought it was a problem with my settings, so I lowered them. No change. Then I thought maybe it had to do with installing to a 7200 RPM hard drive so I moved the game to my SSD. Still stutters. Then I thought maybe my 3570K was the problem—only four cores, no hyper-threading, and the CPU seems to go nuts during cutscenes. However the system requirements only call for an i3-3250.

So now I’m at a loss, and all I can say is “Beware, lest you find it’s also busted on your system.” DICE has acknowledged the issue exists but as of writing (late-night June 5) the problem hasn't been solved. We'll keep an eye out for a fix, as well as user reviews tomorrow to see how widespread the problem is.

But I’m not going back to the city of Glass until I can at least understand the generic good-guy-bad-guy-revolution drivel these characters are spewing.

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