Supernatural themed action games seem to have a specific type and it seems Remedy Entertainment’s new game Control falls in that category. To start off, Control is defined as a third-person action game that mixes supernatural abilities such as telekinesis and levitation with gunplay. It’s trailer showed curious gameplay which may have left many intrigued. And on playing the game, I can say it is justifiably so. Control‘s storyline follows Jessie Faden (played by Courtney Hope), who is the protagonist of the game. She turns up at the mysterious Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), which is a government agency to tackle supernatural situations.
The game is now out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC as an Epic Game Store exclusive. The Standard Digital edition costs $59.99 which is the same as the Standard Retail price. The Retail Deluxe Edition that comes with Future Pak packaging costs $79.99 and is only available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. There is a Digital Deluxe Edition as well that costs $79.99 and is only available for PlayStation 4. Now I have been playing the game for some days now, and here’s my review of Control.
Graphics, Music and Cinematics
And on to the graphics segment of the game, we have pretty standard visuals in terms of quality with highly detailed character models for the primary characters. But what is surprising is that the enemy models could have done with some more work. I understand how the devs may have wanted them to look corrupted. But that does not mean we can’t have better models. Anyway the weapon models themselves don’t look too different from each other and are only distinguishable when inspected closely.
The visuals in the game provide a distinct dreamlike feeling with a dual-tone color scheme. The styles of the structures in the game take heavily after the optical illusions which works with the dominant theme of the game. This game might remind you of the action in the game Super-Hot, with the geometric designs and corrupted enemies. The game comes with Ray-Tracing options which can be turned on from the settings.
Music in the game is sparsely used, and whatever music there is, helps move the supernatural theme ahead. Control strongly reminds me of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, where the presence of whispers constantly tormented the protagonist. Here, the so called ‘Hiss’ is a constant nagging voice in Jessie’s ear. It also turns out to be the primary enemy that the protagonist is fighting against. There are audio cues to most important things in the game, like when there are no more enemies.
The game is littered with cinematics most of which are close ups of Jessie’s face as she converses with herself in her head. There are some broad themes and indications in the cinematics which payers will be able to pick up after watching a few of them. I would suggest not skipping the cinematics if you want to understand the storyline.
Story and Content
The storyline of Control begins with Jessie speaking with herself and appearing in the Federal Bureau of Control building. She is apparently here to rescue her brother who was taken by the Bureau. And she turns out to be the new director after finding the previous director apparently killed himself. The game has a very dreamlike element to it where it feels like it’s all happening in the protagonist’s head. The supernatural elements give such a distinct expression. All the talking to herself, asking the person playing the game for help and the supernatural elements all seems like a schizophrenic manifestation of the brain.
The storyline takes the player through the whole Federal Bureau of Control building, taking on enemies that have been corrupted by the ‘Hiss’. Players will have to solve a lot of puzzles on the way, which was a treat for someone like me who loves RPG puzzles. The Bosses in the game are many, but taking care of the waves of grunts in all the levels tend to become a stagnant experience. There are quite a few different kinds of enemies in the game which will at times challenge the players. The very cerebral nature of the storyline makes for some imaginative enemies and situations. For example players will face a puzzle where they will be transported to a locked motel. They have to find the key to escape and get to their objective, and the means to do so are rather unusual.
Players have options on how they approach the game where they can customize their weapons and abilities with mods. Progression will also earn players ability points which they can spend to enhance different aspects. The ability tree expands as players earn new skills.
Controls and Gameplay
The controls of Control is pretty straightforward and easy to pick up. I played the game on a PC with mouse and keyboard and didn’t have any problems picking it up. Shooting and interacting in the game is simple. But different guns have different mechanics, which need to be kept in mind. Jessie is pretty susceptible to heavy damage and a few hits will end things for you. One point of contention with the game is that is transports you back to the last control point if you die. This means if you were taking on a boss far away from the last control point you will have to get back the whole way again to take them on. And grunts may spawn again in the areas in between.
There are a lot of different mechanics in Control which include using psychic powers to throw objects at enemies and flying. These make for a very dynamic gameplay in Control. What makes it and even more dynamic and intuitive game is how the environment is damageable. You can literally make anything in sight a weapon with your launch ability. The over the shoulder gameplay can be changed to favorable perspectives depending on the situation.
Control is definitely a unique game in terms of the gameplay and mechanics. But the storyline and general plotlines is nothing we haven’t seen before. It is a well executed game, and seems to be a clear general improvement over the previous Remedy Entertainment game, Quantum Break. Jessie is a well traced character but the others seemed a little sketchier.
With a price of $59.99 it is in the tier of premium games and it seems slightly higher than it should be. Considering the game mechanics are what makes this stand out, it would make sense for the fans of the genre to go for it instantly.