Published on September 11th, 2019 | by Zorbz
Summary: Remedy studios are back with another sleeper hit ‘Control’. Never to shy away from creativity Remedy once again have skipped on making a sequel to one of their previous titles to bring everyone a new IP, whilst still holding true to their 3rd person action game mechanics.
Concept: Control puts you in the shoes of Jessie who is looking for her brother that was taken 17 years prior to where the game starts off by the Federal bureau of Control after a bizarre occurrence in their small town aptly named ‘Ordinary’ took place. Jessie and her brother were exposed to a rift into another dimension by an object of power (a slide projector). Jessie enters the Bureau only to find the majority of the workers have been corrupted and taken over by what she calls ‘the hiss’ which is almost just a frequency that has slipped through to our reality.
Sounds crazy right? Well you’re in for a world of mind blowing reality shifting and altered resonance breaking insanity. The story is very deep and also very complex with a mix of sci-fi and horror to bring a very engaging and often times confusing yet engrossing story.
Graphics: Control is visually striking from the moment you jump in. Jessie looks like her real life counter part she is modeled after with excellent facial animations during cutscenes, this goes for a lot of the supporting cast as well.
The entirety of the game is set inside the Bureau which has a very FBI 1970s aesthetic with lots of bland colours in the design and decor, think lots of cream, white and brown used throughout. This isn’t all you will be traversing through because you will experience environments more colourful and filled with absolutely amazing lighting throughout. The lighting itself is a highlight of control as the surfaces have beautiful reflections, and that’s just on the consoles without ray tracing enabled like you can have on the PC. Light bounces beautifully off surfaces and shadows are used to perfection. The art direction in Control is just top notch stuff. I love all the weird and twisted geometry used in certain areas and the effects used to morph environments, shifting blocks in and out to create new environments. It really is stunning.
Besides the amazing art direction of the actual environments and characters is the use of live action scenes that can be viewed on projectors and TV screens in sections of the game. These blend in perfectly and really stand out, but one of the most eye grabbing moments is when live action footage is overlayed over the game screen whilst you play, letting you see both what you are doing whilst you are also watching and listening to footage playing over the top. It just blends perfectly and takes what Quantum break did separating the two mediums and melding them together.
Gameplay: Now whilst the visuals are certainly a big highlight, the gameplay of Remedy’s games is always top notch. Control is no exception here either.
Now a disclaimer is needed up front: I played Control on the Xbox One X where it runs at a mostly steady 30fps at 1440p, which can’t be said for it’s other console counterparts. The original ps4 and Xbox one versions can often dip to 15 frames making the game almost unplayable in sections and constantly stuttering. It seems that Remedy wanted to push the boundaries of this game and didn’t want to be limited to the constraints of outdated technology.
Control feels like Quantum break but a little bit faster in the way Jessie moves around. It is a 3rd person action title through and through filled with your typical shooting mechanics which are tight and responsive to your telekinesis abilities which let you hurl nearly any object in the environment at enemies. No items nearby? That’s no problem as Jessie will rip chunks of concrete out of the floor or break railings and basically anything else she can grab. it’s really a marvel to see.
The game is set up much like a Metroidvania with areas being unavailable until new key cards are acquired or abilities are gained. You will be constantly travelling back and forth between areas unlocking new sections as you progress. There is tons of secret areas or sections you may even miss entirely. This can be easily guided through using some handy fast travel locations which are also used to upgrade your service weapon and to upgrade your abilities.
What’s more apart from the linear story you can play through is several side missions as well as some challenges thrown in and a hell of a lot of collectibles to find, from audio to text documents. There’s so much to see and do within the contained areas.
Now whilst this is sounding all amazing, there is quite a few glitches from your menu not loading properly which happened probably 80% of my entire play through to alot of slowdown in certain areas. Pause the game or open a menu, you will become used to the game chugging for a few seconds to catch back up. It really isn’t optimised to perfection, but to be honest it didn’t stop me from really enjoying the game.
What did frustrate me is some truly hard battles that will throw you back to a far away fast travel checkpoint if you didn’t save at one before the battle on the way. So please constantly save as much as you can by just accessing fast travel spots so that you don’t have to travel so far to get back to areas you died on repeatedly. The difficulty really has some nasty spikes but with skill and patience it’s all manageable.
Sound: Just like the visuals, Remedy really wanted to provide some interesting uses for sound. You still have your typical sound effects for weapons, explosions etc as well as some really great voice acting to the eerie and often ominous atmospheric yet minimal background music, but also some really creepy effects. You will enter areas with npcs infected by the ‘Hiss’ that are mumbling gibberish that can be really creepy, to the use of actual songs in some areas. There’s even a section where everything being said is backwards. It’s these little touches along with a great use of surround sound that make it an audio delight, despite being creepy as hell.
There is one song that plays towards the end of the game that is just badass and something that unexpectedly plays.
Awesomeness: Now I did say you could interact with nearly every object when it comes to using your telekinesis to hurl them at enemies, but what i left out to mention solely in this section is the absolutely amazing use of DESTRUCTION! You can destroy so much stuff which all has it’s own physics, from tables that can be blown apart piece by piece to leaving chunks missing from walls to smashing through glass windows piece by piece. Jessie gains what is almost like a force push move that hurls i guess powerful gusts of air to injure enemies and to send things flying everything for some destructive fun. You can blow apart pillars with concrete and debris falling everything and even leaving scratches and chunks missing from the flow. It’s just so much fun and I was constantly breaking as much stuff as I could and damn it felt satisfying every single time, especially going into a row of desks littered with papers, stationary and cups and just blasting it all to smithereens whilst everything is flying around like crazy. So so so much fun.
Final Word: If it isn’t obvious by now, I absolutely loved playing through Control, so much so that I am so close to getting the full 1000 gamerscore or ‘platinum’ trophy equivalent. I finished the game and went back in to complete other missions and level up certain abilities only to find out there was a whole other area and set of missions I had totally missed. This game just has everything I love – a true artistic vision that is executed in every area from visuals to story to sound and everything in between to match fluid and fun gameplay to create something truly remarkable.
Out of 5 bugs