- Game: Control
- Consoles: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Developer: Remedy Entertainment
A Control review code was provided by the publisher.
Remedy Entertainment is synonymous with games that tell an engrossing tale and regularly move into the realm of weird. In recent years, gamers have been treated to some of the developer’s most provocative titles that are paranormal and sci-fi in nature. Third-person action/adventure experiences such as Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break are a perfect representation of Remedy’s approach to gaming. With their latest project, Remedy hopes to continue on the path towards mentally stimulating storytelling and the type of gameplay that tests one’s mettle during intense shootouts. Thankfully, Control is another high mark for the development studio and one of the year’s standout forays into the supernatural.
Control’s plot is certainly a mind-bender. After a mysterious accident takes place in her hometown, Jesse Faden travels to the headquarters of the organization that has taken her brother. Her arrival is fraught with conflict now that the Federal Bureau of Control’s Oldest House has been invaded by a sinister force known as “The Hiss.” Due to the untimely passing of the FBC’s former Director, Jesse has been forced into this prominent position and been entrusted with the powerful weapon/abilities that come with that leadership role. With the Service Weapon in hand, Jesse sets out to rid the Oldest House of The Hiss and rescue her missing brother.
Control’s story is one of its major high points – it’s told through a slew of wonderfully trippy cutscenes and aided by some fine voice work from the game’s huge cast. Getting to the bottom of the FBC’s research, the origins of the Hiss, and the reasoning behind Dylan’s capture are three of the game’s biggest plot threads and they grow more interesting as time goes on. Remedy’s signature reliance on live-action cinematics are present here and they mix quite well with the photorealistic visuals that power the in-game cutscenes. Control is a visual powerhouse when it comes to its presentation of lifelike characters and the striking architecture seen all around the Oldest House. As for the audio performance, it’s just as strong as the graphical output of Control. The creepy background chatter heard throughout each location and the introspective thoughts provided by Jesse are just a few examples of the game’s quality sound design.
When it’s time to go exploring, Control provides a nice mix of Metroidvania mechanics and Remedy’s action-packed gunplay. There’s a ton of fun to be had as you come upon new hub areas full of new Hiss foes to kill, secret unlockables to collect, and additional side missions to complete. There’s plenty of Hiss enemy variations to take on, which gives plenty of reasons to try out all of Jesse’s telekinetic powers and Service Weapon types. Each combat sequence acts out like a puzzle as you figure out the best ways to down certain enemies – you’ll find yourself flinging floating projectiles, taking control of your foes and having them fight for you, dashing across the battlefield and using shotgun blasts to cut down the opposition all during one skirmish. Control’s approach to combat stays interesting from the start of the game right up until its epic conclusion.
Control is an engrossing experience that gives you so much to see and do. Previously inaccessible areas open up and provide you with new puzzles to solve and more weapon/ability boosters to add to your collection. Discovering new “Objects of Power” gives Jesse additional powers that can be utilized in battle or called upon to move through other parts of the Oldest House. And tough combat situations randomly pop up that challenge your mastery of Jesse’s suite of special abilities. Along with the main story, Control has a wealth of side content that gives its primarily single-player experience more meat on the bone.
The game does have its faults, however. The checkpoint system tends to get in the way of all the fun most of the time – dying during a heated battle doesn’t send you back to the nearest checkpoint, sadly. You’re placed back near the last control point you saved at, which is usually a lot farther than expected from the place you recently died at. Having to take a tediously long stroll to a previous location and running into another gang of Hiss baddies along the way becomes a regular annoyance before long. Technical issues pop up from time to time too, such as the game freezing up for a few uncomfortable seconds after you complete a major mission and characters’ bodies glitching out due to awkward camera placement.
Control is a pretty impressive third-person action romp that’s held up by a far-out story, strong visuals/audio, and a reliance on telekinetic powers that make combat and exploration all the more interesting. Jesse’s first day as Director of the Federal Bureau of Control is filled with likable personalities, challenging enemy encounters, clever puzzles, and paranormal mysteries. All of these elements combine to give gamers one of 2019’s most engrossing single-player adventures. Technical issues aside, Control is another top-notch Remedy experience.
Our Control Review Score: 8.75 out of 10
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