Control Review - Remedy unleashed and at its best

Control Review - Remedy unleashed and at its best

With Control, it feels like you've been dropped straight in the middle of a thrilling TV show.

You play as Jesse Faden, who arrives at the mysterious Department of Control in NY.

Don't worry, the games couldn't be more different, but if you absolutely have to compare Control to anything from Remedy's back catalogue I guess it's more like a Max Payne, with time-altering, shooting, brooding monologues, and trippy twists and turns. It's a return to their roots, as it's the type of psychedelic thriller/mystery we've all come to expect from the studio that brought us Alan Wake. Jesse must not only complete her personal mission but stop the Hiss incursion. Along the way you discover that The Oldest House - another name for the Bureau (you get used to everything having multiple names) - has been infiltrated by an entity that is taking over everyone in the building. You'll be desperate to learn what secrets Jesse is keeping, how her relationships evolve with the subcast and acquire each new ability which opens up the game in an even more exciting way. It's the kind of place that feels both alien and mundane, and it becomes richer and more compelling the further you delve into it. Remedy raised the bar as Control offers one of the best level designs I've seen in this generation. Jesse is randomly given the role of "chosen one", and all of the supporting cast decide she's flawless and trustworthy mere seconds after meeting her. It is not so painful if you are just exploring, but if you die in a boss battle, you will have to wait for a lengthy loading screen that nears up to ten seconds every time you die. It's disappointing that some of the best parts of the game are overshadowed by the copious shootouts.

The game takes place in the shadowy government building of the Federal Bureau of Control. This isn't the artfully campy stuff of Remedy's other games; this is what happens when no one tells writers to revise their first draft. These let you construct weapons using collectibles gathered through the game, but also mods which you can infuse and equip. The in-game map is useless, but thankfully there is plentiful signage to help you find your way.

The band, a rock band that first appeared in Alan Wake and featured in the early chapters of Quantum Break on some posters around the university, are part of Control as well. Taking place exclusively in the Federal Bureau of Control, also known as the Oldest House, I was tentative at first, doubting just exactly how dense a single building could be in terms of both variety and scope.

However, through the blurriness, Remedy's art direction shines right through. Probably the best ability would be levitation which makes using the stairs a thing of the past.

Control honestly feels like a flawless fit for the PS4 library. The reason for this is that everyone who works at the Bureau along with Jesse has each been exposed to supernatural events before, so while some things do surprise them, they are never left overly shocked about anything. However, the technical issues on Xbox One make any meaningful combat feel sluggish at times - even going so far as to completely make sections unplayable if the performance tanks too low. One feels like a common pistol, another a shotgun, and one acts like an explosive rocket launcher. As a result, I found myself repeating the same combat sequences over and over again not because I wasn't aware of how to beat a particular enemy - rather the framerate took such a nose dive I was unable to react in time to an enemy attack. Create a Shield using objects around you during moments when you need to put up a guard.

Control presents an excellent balance of challenging gameplay and upgradeable systems. You're free to take on side missions whenever you wish; even after finishing the story.

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The voices, can you hear them?

Along the way you'll encounter Objects of Power, ordinary objects such as a fridge or rubber ducky, imbued with powers beyond reckoning.

Jesse unlocks new abilities by finding O.o.Ps (Objects of Power). I was invested in every moment of gameplay and immersed in this odd world.

Control has been described as a Metroidvania with superpowers and a unique shapeshifting gun known as "The Service Weapon". Consistently satisfying gameplay and visually interesting environments kept Control fresh throughout its story, and the only thing I could ask for at this point in time, is more Control.

Control deliberately gives you puzzle pieces and enigmatic happenings so you can understand there's a bigger picture, but it is delivered in such a way that you even doubt the existence of the picture it paints. She's your navigator, your connection to this place, but you only go where the Oldest House allows you to - you only see what it thinks you're ready to see. Additionally, completing missions will give Skill points that allow you to upgrade the abilities you've gained. These skills definitely feel like a legitimate power up, especially when you've unlocked those side abilities.

Control is nearly here. Combat as well can be a blast, if a little repetitive towards the end.

Control stretches the imagination of reality and takes the player on an unexpected journey. Aside from this, I also observed some minor texture popping, but nothing game-breaking or detrimental to the whole visual experience.

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