Control is an interesting new IP from Remedy Entertainment, the makers of Max Paine, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break. It is an action-adventure game that is build around an organization called the “Federal Bureau of Control”. Think Men in Black meets the X-Files and you wouldn’t be far off from the feeling and atmosphere this universe instills.
You play as Jesse Faden, a new-comer to the Bureau who happened to walk into the building as an unknown force was in the process of taking over. You quickly become the de facto leader of the organization (based on a strange plot device, which are quite common in this game) and have full access to the facility.
The building the game takes place in is HUGE and the brutalist architecture is quite something to explore. Control lets the player explore in a manner similar to a metroidvania style game. There are places you cannot get to until you get the required ability or reach a certain point in the story. This works especially well in this style of game because it always feels like there is more to see.
The game play of Control is really fun and challenging at times. I would liken it to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but instead of a light saber you have a gun. I make this comparison because the abilities you unlock are very similar to that of a Jedi, from telekinesis (where you throw people or objects across the room/into enemies), to mind control, and even levitation.
The gun you receive early in the story is your main companion throughout the game. It has many different unlock-able modes which can give it the function of a pistol, machine gun, or a rocket launcher. You can alter yourself and your equipment by installing modifications which you find around the facility. These modifications can increase the fire-rate of your pistol, give you more energy to use telekinesis more often, and even refill your ammunition faster.
While all these game play tropes have been done before in various action-adventure games, what makes Control special is its astounding graphical detail and technical prowess of the design team. Every object on screen is meticulously modeled and move-able, which is a feat to behold when in an intense firefight and furniture is flying everywhere.
This is also one of the first games I’ve seen that make full use of ray-tracing in a fully fleshed out environment. I believe they were able to do this because it is confined to mostly indoor spaces. In every reflective surface you can see real-time reflections in astonishing detail, and the lighting in general is one of the main delights of playing this title.
While the story is interesting, I didn’t necessarily commit to it. I was more interested in the lore of the institution itself, which there is no shortage of due to the sheer amount of reading material available in the game.
If you see Control on sale I would definitely pick it up. While the story/atmosphere may not be for everyone, the game play makes up for it and the visuals alone make it worth checking out.