Remedy has created a number of fantastic titles that don’t necessarily conform to the norm for story and game play. Think of great experiences like Alan Wake, Quantum Break, and now this year, Control. Control follows the quest of protagonist Jesse Faden, who enter the Federal Bureau of Control in search of her brother – once you step through the doors of this seemingly invisible building, things go from somewhat weird, to done right wacky. And for the most part, it’s an enjoyable ride!
The first few hours of Control will leave you with a billion questions and almost no answers. Who is the Federal Bureau of Control, and what purpose does it serve? What’s going on within the building? Where is the director? So many questions, and it is on these questions that Remedy builds the story around Control. And as you move further and further into the expansive bureau, things get a lot more insane before even a glimpse of clarity shines through.
And this is what has made Remedy famous, because the first two paragraphs I wrote here about the craziness of the experience could apply to many of their other games. Within the first few hours of Control, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break, players are all saying the same thing: “What the hell is going on?”
And it’s that question that drive players through a fairly solid gameplay experience. Whether using the various abilities that Jesse learns – I really enjoyed using telekinesis and levitation – or utilizing the number of weapons and upgrades you will find, the combat and exploration in Control feels very good, at least for a while. I found that as I neared the middle and end of the experience, some of the fights became a little repetitive. Not in a terrible way, mind you, but form time-to-time you might have that, “I’ve done this before” feeling.
Thankfully, some fantastic upgrades for your ability and your weapon help make each and every battle different. Deciding what to upgrade will ultimately be driven by how you play. Personally, I like to unload my gun into the enemies, and use my Launch (telekinesis) ability while my gun reloads. Since the guns don’t have traditional bullets, you’ll never be tapping a reload button – instead, you’ll wait a set amount of time for your gun to recharge, after which you can use it again.
All of these great abilities wouldn’t work well unless the environments you were able to use them in were exciting places to be – and while Remedy does a good job of making an office building look like and office building – so don’t expect anything crazy, it really just is a big office building – they put in a ton of detail that makes the environment pop, even if in reality they are just rooms in a typical New York building.
With so much of the environment at your disposal – you really can toss about anything with your Launch ability – and many rooms to explore, almost everything in the Federal Bureau of Control has a purpose in some way. Much of my exploration efforts resulted in redacted, classified files, audio recordings, and more. While at first I made time to reach each and every entry that I picked up, they quickly turned into a chore that I felt needed to be completed.
And ultimately, if you pass on all these collectible extras, your game play experience won be hindered that much. These additional files and clips provide context to events, enemies, and even plot lines that might not happen for a few more hours. That being said, I’m sure there are interesting tidbits I read in classified documents that never felt ‘completed’ with a in-game event, but that could be because I forgot, and therefore when the story line contextual elements came up that would have been aided by my knowledge of past documents I read, I ended up missing out anyway.
My biggest issue with Control is not in the game play, or the story, but in the characters that make up the world. While Jesse is a fantastic protagonist who only delivers a few cringy one-liners, the other characters – which we won’t name as to not spoil this story heavy experience – are really hit in miss. Their line delivery is sub-par, and I still haven’t figured out if it’s because the voice acting was poor, or if the script they were reading was just that bad? I’m inclined to assume it is ladder, but either could be true.
Control will be one of the more interesting games of 2019, and is a must play in my opinion. There are things that some players might not enjoy, and there are elements that are not up to the Remedy standard in my opinion, but it’s still a great experience, and a decently lengthy one as well. The story is carried out well through the many hours of game play, and although we would have liked better secondary characters, everything ultimately pulls together for a satisfying conclusion.
Control from Remedy and 505 Games launches August 27th on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. A review code was supplied by the publisher for this review.