Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
On paper, Control, the new game from Remedy Entertainment, sounded like a game made in Heaven. With gameplay which would have an excellent flow to it, where you in-fact would feel like a God, given weapons and upgrades. Spiced up with a supernatural story, several secrets to find, side quests to do, and colleagues to help along the way. It all sounded too good to be true. Question is; was that actually the case?
In Control, we play as Jesse. The new Director of FDC (Federal Bureau of Control), a highly secretive agency (I would think it was a bureau based on the name, but according to press releases it’s an Agency.) who has now been overrun by supernatural beings and happenings. And few people are left to tell the tale of what has happened. We are pretty much just thrown into action at the start, with a few minutes of talking to the janitor, finding the former Director dead (by his own hand) and then a quick tutorial on how this is a new weapon that regenerates bullets, and then the game has started for real.
Unfortunately, I do have to be a bit pedantic about this, and I do have some questions about what the developers have thought when writing the story, because there are, as the internet likes to call it, loads of “plot holes” in the game. For example, why does no one question that Jesse is the new Director – when all she did was pick up a gun? Why is the janitor completely oblivious that no one else than Jesse has been there all day?
I do like the way that Control tells the story though, with bits and pieces coming back to Jesse. Which causes the player (me) to be as confused as to what’s happening as Jesse, yet allows for players to gradually understand, as long as they’re paying attention.
First of all, Control looks amazing! Even without ray-tracing. Jessie looks almost life-like and the environment too. You know, apart from floating corpses, some dimensional warping and stuff like that. And not only is the good graphics bound to the textures – the physics too is really, really great. One of Jesse’s powers is very much like Skyrim’s Fus Ro Dah shout, which pushes objects in front of you around. Sure, this has been done before, but I’ve never played a game where the objects have such a realistic way of portraying the physics.
In addition, you have the sound design. Which is much like any other thriller genre game (or movie for that matter), with eerie sounding, well sounds. It constantly kept me on my toes, constantly expecting something horrible to happen around the next corner, just like a thriller should.
Unfortunately, there was one rather major (although not game breaking) bug that took away some of the tension I had. The doors. The doors you say? How can those “ruin” the feeling? Well, the doors themselves weren’t the problem, until I walked by them. Which made them fling fully open, even though Jesse was nowhere close to actually shoving them open or otherwise cause them to make such a ruckus.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Control falls within the genre of action-thriller. When the action is there, it’s full-on guns and fighting and explosions, with Jesse being almost superhuman with jumping, spinning, hopping and dropping. And when the action is over, it almost immediately becomes horror-esque, with creepy background noises, an eerie soundtrack, and mysterious notes and people to find throughout the agency. In addition, the game takes on tutorials when giving you new weapons and abilities in a rather cool way. By transporting you to another dimension, where you no longer have one life, you can screw up as much as you need without it having consequences in-game, and rather cleverly, they’ve masked this as being an in-game thing that all new Directors go through when being selected.
There’s really only one thing I want to complain about, and that’s just me being difficult (almost on purpose). In my mind, the game would have been even better if you had more of a stealthy way to do things, kinda like Dishonored – instead of always going head-on with the monstrosities, why don’t make it a choice? March in, guns blazing. Or sneak around and save your time and health. That would have been truly brilliant.
There’s very little to say about the controls, to be honest, they’re pretty much like any other action-thriller game. I definitely preferred playing with a controller, even though walking with a joystick was a tad bit too sensitive for my liking. Not a big issue or anything, but it was a tiny detail that kept coming to mind.
I’ve only had time to play through Control once, and even then at quite a rushed pace. That being said, I was able to play some of the (not very obvious) side quests and did manage to find quite a few of the secret documents. Unfortunately, I don’t know if this changes anything in the story as it did in Hellblade (Spoiler alert: if you got all the runes, you would get a secret ending scene). What I did find of extra things to do though was fun enough, and if you’ve played through Control once, without playing any extra content, you have missed some fun times.
Replay Value 8
All things considered, I can’t say I’m disappointed with Control. The story is good, the gameplay is good, there are secrets to find and monsters to kill. Add on top of that, a stunning visual look and some great audio design and you start seeing the contours of a truly great game. There are some issues to be found, with the story having some “plot holes” and the doors having a mind of their own.
Also do keep in mind that you need to pay attention to understand the story and that’s not always easy, when you have a pulse of 200, just waiting for the next scary thing to happen. The total, however, sums up to be a great game, and if you like the genre, then I can certainly recommend a go. Just to lose control over time and space.
User Review( votes)
- Looks amazing
- Lots of secrets
- Interesting way to tell a good story
- Some “plot holes”
- The doors