Control Review

Control is a third-person supernatural action-adventure game that explores the secretive agency, Control. Created by Remedy Entertainment, the game follows the story of Jesse Faden and her search for answers. When Jesse was a child, her town, Ordinary, was erased from existence by the agency. Along with a supernatural entity within her mind, Polaris, we search the building for answers. Jesse is a great character, consumed by her need to find her brother and what happened to her town, she stumbles into her destiny. Upon entering the agency, it is clear that there has been an attack of what nature is unclear at the beginning. We then stumble upon The Director, dead in his office, after picking up his gun Jesse finds herself in the astral plane. This plain is where Jesse gains her abilities, through touching possessed items Jesse is teleported here to beat a challenge to gain that ability. The gun becomes connected to Jesse, and she starts to hear The Old Director talking to her, guiding her to become the new Director.

Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, PS4
Release Date: 27 August 2019

We find out that the HISS (Jesse’s name for them), have invaded the agency. A silent antagonist that take Control over the people that it possesses. Also, they gain supernatural abilities, such as flight. At first, this was horrifying for me, a silent enemy that could control anyone that was not wearing the correct equipment to fend them off. The great thing about Control is that the Hisses control feels to slip as you become better and better. The enemy that, at the beginning of the game, haunted me, was becoming easier to deal with every moment.  However, they would never take it easy and would continuously swarm towards me, trying to overwhelm me every opportunity they got. The abilities within the game allow you to adapt to many different situations. Each fight becomes a testament to how quickly you can react. If an enemy is about to shoot you, quickly get your shield up. Or, if an enemy is rushing you, then throw some Rocks at it.

Apart from your weapons, there are also abilities that you can use to attack enemies. The first being an ability that allows you to pick up debris around you and launch in through the air. Possibly the most satisfying ability the game has to offer, combined with a shield ability that allows you to use concrete from the floor to block enemy attacks. You can later upgrade this to launch all the debris from your shield as a wall of concrete, destroying anything trying to attack you. There is also an ability that allows you to take control of an enemy for a short period, this allow them to attack for you, but this was an ability that I rarely used. The ammo management is also impressive and adds some difficulty to the game. There is no ammo. Your weapons have a charge that decreases like a clip as you fire them. You then have a short cooldown window where the gun is powering back up. Meaning you can no longer just run and gun, you have to approach each situation differently; you can’t just rely on your guns.

The scenery also lends to the slight horrific setting; it’s ordinary. It’s an office. The details are so realistic that it could be a functional place, besides the shifting doors and rubber ducks that want you dead. This setting, a hidden office that serves to hide the supernatural and paranormal phenomenon’s under attack by a faceless enemy. It is just plain scary. The fact that, this could be happening with no one knowing, is what scare me. Everything within the office is horrifying, but normal. The people within the agency, act as if this is just another situation bad day at the office. Nothing special to them. But to Jesse and us, it’s crazy! The office will warp and change in ways that mess your mind up, you have to almost throw all logic out of the window and accept whatever your eyes see. THat’s the only way to understnad what is going on with the world.

Each section of the office also holds some interesting lore and side quests, that if you choose to follow, will lead you down the rabbit hole. I found an office that was infested with post-it notes and a fridge that was deadly if you looked away from it. One of my favourite moments was discovering a department that analyzed objects related to luck and probability. With horseshoes scattered around and an apparent puzzle was hidden within, my mind started racing. After roughly an hour of moving object into certain positions and switching lights off in specific codes, I felt like I was going crazy. Still, eventually, I got the puzzle right. I was rewarded with a golden suit for Jesse to wear, and boy, did I wear the shit out of that suit. Remedy reminded me of a time where customization items were found through secrets, not bought through microtransactions. Not something I thought this game would do but, here we go. Thank you Remedy for including cosmetics that we can earn.

The gameplay is simple, move through the corrupted departments and clear them out through your save points’ Control Points’, these points also act as your fast travel spots, so they are worth unlocking. Within them you can also upgrade Jesse’s abilities, allowing you to fly for longer or take more damage. You can hyper-focus on a skill that you like, then play around that. For me, I focused on the pistol and the flying, which allowed me to fly around popping shots whenever I got the opportunity. The gameplay is enjoyable and rewarding. The game also has a photo mode which allows you to take increadible screenshots, I love a good photo mode. I spend way to much time using them.

The story is also such a breath of fresh air, presenting you with an enjoyable surface story, and if you enjoy digging, a plethora of side lore and hidden stories that you can discover. I highly recommend Control, and it’s such an enjoyable experience, filled with some exciting ideas. The story is excellent, and Jesse’s growth is fully visible, she grows into her role and gains control of a secret world she had been chasing for years. I would higly reccomend Control, specifically because the gameplay alone is fun and enjoyable. The story just adds to a wonderful game and a wonderful expereince.

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