The Creators of Alan Wake give us a truly ambitious project with the best parts of their gaming history. Do they succeed? Check out the Control Review to find out.
Remedy has taken the best pieces from all their previous games and moulded a new experience that nails certain aspects but misses others entirely. It’s a supernatural adventure that is absolutely worth experiencing for yourself. Sit tight and I’ll tell you exactly why it’s worth your time and money. This is the SkyGamers Control Review.
You play Jesse Faden, a young lady who’s been searching for her long lost brother after experiencing a supernatural event together. Her search leads her to top-secret US government department known as the Federal Bureau of Control. Its headquarters are right in plain sight in a building known as “The Oldest House”, which itself is a supernatural occurrence. A living entity that shifts the whole building’s internal structure around. The Oldest House is very reminiscent of Dr Who’s TARDIS, in that it is far larger on the inside than it may seem on the outside.
Jesse arrives at the Bureau while it’s under complete lockdown, due to an entity known as the Hiss, having escaped from containment and running a complete muck on the Oldest House and its agents. The Hiss is a corrupting force that turns the agents into twisted versions of themselves. Think back to the enemies from Alan Wake, “The Taken” and you’ll get a clear idea of what’s going on. Jesse finds the Bureau Director who blows his brains out and leaves the peculiar-looking gun on the floor. Anyone who wields this weapon and isn’t killed immediately by its test becomes the new Director of Control, which Jesse then becomes and is tasked with learning all the secrets of both the Bureau, The Oldest house and more importantly stop the Hiss from escaping the Bureau into the outside world.
Control is a very deep story that just had me hooked from the start. It’s a weird cross of Alan Wake, Max Payne and X-Files. The voice acting and by extension facial capture is top-notch. It must be mentioned though, that the story does take a slow burn approach to storytelling. Leaving a lot of the pieces for the player to seek out and find through Video cassettes and Bureau files scattered throughout the map. This is one busy task I implore every to take the time to explore and find. There’s a lot of lore to get to grips with and if you ignore this, you’ll be left in the dark about what’s happening. I enjoyed the stellar writing and just how deep this lore is. Leaving me wanting more from the unique world of Control.
This is where Control knocks it out of the park. The is quite possibly one of the most fun gameplay experiences of 2019 so far. If you every had Superhero-level-power fantasies, this game will leave you in absolute awe. The player has the Service weapon, the gun mentioned above. Just like the Oldest House, the Service weapon can shift and change to suit the Director who wields it. It starts off as almost Magnum revolver like and it packs a massive punch. No worrying about ammo counters as after a few shots the gun regens its ammo back in a few seconds and you’re good to go. With some more exploration, you can shift the gun into a Shotgun-like piston, a SMG-like pistol, rocket launch and rail gun. You’ll be able to add mods to the various gun modes that increase damage or decrease time to reload. A variety of these perks are scattered through the Oldest House. You just need to explore a little and you can find them. Just remember you can only equip as many as the slots you have unlocked.
But that’s Service weapon. The Oldest house contains varies “Objects of Power”. These are very mundane looking everyday objects that give the person bound to them awesome superhuman powers. As you progress, you’ll be bound to more objects of power that will give you telekinesis abilities. You’ll rip out columns of concrete from the ground/walls and throw them at high speed into the enemies. Everything in Control is interactive and thus lies the bulk of their ambition. Everything has physics and its a sight to behold as a battle takes place. You’ll be throwing filing cabinets and papers will litter the air. Upgrade your abilities and you can even “Turn” the enemies to your side as they fight for you. You’ll get levitating abilities and use debris from around you as a shield. This is my absolute favourite part of Control is its combination of gunplay and powers.
The entire game takes place in the Oldest House. It’s very Metroid-Vania-ish as some areas of the building can’t be accessed until you have an ability that will give get you in. There are fast travel points littered all over the massive map and this is where you’ll respawn if you die. And this is where I lose my S*^% with this game. There aren’t traditional autosave, which means when you die, you have to make your way from a Fast Travel point to wherever it is that you were killed. It’s a very tedious slog and will drive everyone insane when it happens. Also, the UI Map to help you navigate is hugely inadequate. For reasons beyond me, the different floors are superimposed onto one map. Suffice to say, you WILL GET LOST. Almost always. And there are no Waypoints to help you around, guess you’re on your own! The above issues do dampen the experience, but man…That Gunplay is something else!
This is where the bulk of the ambitious is. The visuals use every evolution of graphic rendering technology to date. You want Raytracing on PC with an RTX card, you got it. You want physically-based lighting, got that too. How about dynamic shadows, how bout Temporal Anti-Aliasing, Ambient Occlusion, bounce lighting the list goes on. It’s all there and accounted for in Control. Except for Raytracing on consoles for obvious reasons. Every object looks and behinds as its real-life counterpart.
The art direction has a very industrial corporate look to it. If you could imagine old 60s era government buildings, that’s exactly what Control looks like. Complete with old fashioned computers, telephones and equipment. It works very well and is brilliant to see when a firefight takes place in an office full of chairs and stationary being thrown around and blown up to your heart’s content. Extra marks for the physics of all these items breaking apart into tiny believable pieces. It’s truly worth seeing and experiencing. That being said, on consoles, all this interactivity might be biting off more than they can chew. Plenty of times the framerate tanks as the action gets heavy. To almost unplayable levels. Even on an Xbox One X (used to review the game here). I have no doubt this game will run flawlessly on Project Scarlett and PS5 but right now, its mostly smooth until later on when your power levels are extreme. It’s not show-stopping, just annoying when it happens.
Control is a flawed but brilliant game that is absolutely worth your time. I would recommend it for PC gamers as you have the flexibility to get it to run at an acceptible performance if you turn down some of its crazy, hardware melting graphical features. It’s great on consoles as well as the framerate slowdowns don’t happen often enough for the game to be unplayable.
You know we don’t do reviews scores here at SkyGamers so here’s my final verdict. If you love the previous stories from Remedy and enjoy the sort of gameplay from Quantum Break, then this game is an immediate purchase. If you are not too sure about the drawbacks mentioned in the review, then I suggest you wait for a Discount Sale. It’s one of Remedy’s best work to date and definitely worth experiencing. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.