Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: 505 Games
Rating: M for Mature
It’s always a good time when Sam Lake and Remedy release a game. Notables from Remedy include Max Payne 1 and 2, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break. Control happens to be Remedy’s first game on a PlayStation console since 2003. This fact has sparked rumors of a Sony-Remedy acquisition. I think Remedy is a good studio, but I’m not sure what they could uniquely offer Sony Fans. I’ve been excited for Control since the 2018 E3 announcement.
Suicide: The opening few moments of the game involves a suicide.
Paranormal Content: In this game there are several paranormal events including bodily possession. Some items in the game are called “ritual items.” While I found no religious content, others may be led into dark places. Therefore, if you struggle with paranormal events in your life, I suggest skipping Control.
The game contains interesting events or objects which hold or give supernatural abilities. Altered World Events are paranatural events in which out of the ordinary circumstances occur for example the Hiss invading the FBC is a AWE. Objects of Power These are items that hold or give powers to the owner, For example, Jesse’s firearm is an OoP. The firearm changes shape into different weapons and regenerated ammo automatically.
Adult Language is present in several pieces of dialog.
Violence: Control is an action adventure game with 3rd person cover based shooter mechanics. Jesse can be shot and killed in combat as well as shooting and killing the hiss as. Jesse can launch chunks of concrete or other objects into the Hiss. Enemies have grenades and rocket launchers to use against Jesse too.
Positive Content: I like having a female character as the protagonist. Jesse can serve as a positive image for female gamers.
Story. Control follows main protagonist Jesse Faden. She’s on a mission to find the FBC, or Federal Bureau of Control. Personally, I compared the FBC to the X Files, investigating paranormal activities. This is where things start to get weird. The story is multilayered, complex and confusing at times; a second comparison is to the movie Inception. I still haven’t completely wrapped my mind around everything, even after my playthrough. Essentially, Jesse finds the FBC by walking into a seemingly random nondescript office building in New York City. She believes that the FBC has information on her long-lost brother. However, after entering the building, we soon discover the building is called “The Oldest House,” and Jesse had found the FBC because the Oldest House allowed Jesse to find it. However, as you enter the FBC, you’ll notice things are askew.
With the exception of a custodian, there is no one in the building—that is until Jesse hears a gunshot and enters the the FBC director’s office. The gunshot victim lies dead in a pool of his own blood and dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. We learn shortly thereafter that it was the will of the oldest house and Jesse is appointed as the new director. The Oldest House isn’t simply a building, it’s a living organism; a character.
As you play, you’ll notice certain rooms are full of out-of-place block-like structures. However, as soon as Jesse cleanses the Control point, the room shifts into a more normal-looking room. What is humorous is the fact that the FBC is aware the building shifts and even issues PSAs to the employees about not moving after a shift occurs; they are to stay put and their supervisors will find the lost employees. Generally, these Control points are heavily guarded by a mini boss and several enemies. Control points act as save points, places to invest points into skills or modifications, and fast travel markers in the game.
The enemies are called the Hiss. During the game you’ll notice bodies floating. The Hiss are able to possess these bodies and attack Jesse. These enemies are easy to dispatch, but if you’re not careful, they’ll flank you and take you out.
Throughout the game you’ll encounter Hiss bosses. These are usually high ranking officials of the FBC who’ve been possessed by the Hiss. One aspect of the Hiss I enjoy is the fact that Jesse will hear their voices in the background as she fights them. It’s creepy and a cool effect, especially through headphones; it’s similar to the voices heard in Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice. The voices Jesse hears are sometimes the former director, sometimes an imaginary voice she talks to, and other times, several overlapping voices. I also love the red lighting and soundtrack. They are very fitting and match the creepy setting perfectly. Control is a beautiful game and one of the best sounding games I’ve played this generation.
Gameplay. Control is a typical action adventure game. There is a lot of shooting, ducking, and moving into cover. Control is a kinetic game. If you don’t move in combat, you die. Ammo replenishes overtime, but health doesn’t. Health falls from defeated Hiss enemies in the form of blue blocks Jesse can collect. There were several occasions where I had to leave cover to grab health. Firefights get your heart beating. If you plan on staying behind cover, you will get overwhelmed and die. I can’t stress movement enough. Move, or die.
A second cool aspect of gameplay are the supernatural powers Jesse learns throughout her time in the FBC. There’s nothing cooler than flying through open spaces and launching huge chunks of concrete at the hiss. It’s like if Force Unleashed had been good. Jesse is a supernatural Jedi and it’s awesome.
However, not all is good in Control. A lot of the story is uncovered by reading documents and listening to or watching recordings and videos Jesse finds while exploring. So, if you’re not one to look at these items, the story will leave more confused than I was.
A second complaint is the map. Control isn’t quite open world, but open enough. However, this means that occasionally you’ll enter an area you’re not supposed to enter for dialog or questlines. Higher level enemies pose little threat. The story is shallow a mile wide, but only an inch deep. I was led to believe the supernatural would play a deeper role like it does in Beyond: Two Souls.
Overall, Control is a great game. When it shines, it shines, but when it cracks, you can see all its flaws. It is a cool, atmospheric game that most people will enjoy. The story, while confusing, is intriguing. The action is a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to jump back in. The game can get creepy and weird without being scary. In this case, weird is a good thing.