Control Review - Playing Control is like listening to Pink Floyd

Control Review - Playing Control is like listening to Pink Floyd

And while taking over the bureaucracy of a federal institution may sound like a boring time, when it's filled with as many weird and distinctive characters and overrun by an inter-dimensional force known as the Hiss, it rarely ever is in practice. Control will only be available to female streamers in a bid to introduce the female protagonist in the game, Jesse Faden. It gives us a glimpse into the deepest psyche of Remedy and its talented team. That's literally it, there's nothing more than that premise before the game starts falling down a rabbit hole of metaphors. The only gun you get in this game is a dinky pistol. At the beginning we get to meet our main character, there are no brakes to the plot or an introduction. These let you construct weapons using collectibles gathered through the game, but also mods which you can infuse and equip. I mean, the opening moments here have you running through empty offices as a girl who likes talking to herself and you're expected to just go along with it.

Opinions vary more on Control's writing.

In his review, Andrew Webster at The Verge writes that the setting mixes "the banal and the bizarre", creating a unusual and unsettling atmosphere that nonetheless felt real.

After experiencing Control for myself during Gamescom 2018 and 2019, I can't describe quite how excited I am to finally get my hands on the finished product. It is very entertaining to make your guesses about what is happening with Jesse and her adventure. It feels good to use these powers, and they single-handedly save the game from being unplayably boring. This Federal Bureau of Control doesn't need a paper pusher, however. The way Jesse finds out more about the FBC is through conversations with its staff.

Through a series of unfortunate events and a frankly awful hiring process, Jesse soon finds herself the FBC's new director. Consistently satisfying gameplay and visually interesting environments kept Control fresh throughout its story, and the only thing I could ask for at this point in time, is more Control.

You're Jesse and you (and a spirit entity which inhabits you as well) enter the Bureau bent on completing your own personal mission.

With that said, Control occasionally deviates from The Hiss, and those moments stand out the most. In fairness, this is just the review build and as far as I'm aware, numerous issues I encountered will be ironed out by the time most people get to play, but let's just say my launch PS4 didn't cope well with the pressure. What makes this title special is that the mystery that surrounds Jesse and all the characters is solved by you.

Jesse has the ability to Seize control of enemies, allowing them to assist you in battle. But while I became accustomed to seeing them, I never quite got comfortable with hearing them: a steady drone of nonsense words that gets louder as more bodies cling to the air.

Control reviews round-up, all the scores
Control Might Be Game Of The Year Of The Month

In addition to the service weapon, you also have a rather large collection of psychic powers, including hypnosis, levitation and telekinesis. You can make these changes at the Control points, which in turn serve to save your progress.

When it comes to enemy variety, however, Control doesn't match the variation of Jesse's combat options.

It's in this multi-storey room that you can find a whole bunch of tooltips and collectibles. I really recommend the use of headphones or a 5.1 channel surround system as a minimum to truly enjoy the intricacy of the audio.

The enemies you face are varied enough to keep combat from becoming too stale as well.

For a good chunk of the game, your health bar about equals most enemies' bars, meaning you can get two-shotted fairly easily. Eventually, you'll discover a vast subterranean quarry filled with floating rocks and a light switch that can transport you to a seemingly random motel. The character interactions and visual presentation combined with supernatural items that allow you to travel to different dimensions force you to be as invested as you can be until the very end. But the performance issues, at least on Xbox One X, make some of the pivotal fights in Control incredibly hard to complete, souring the whole endeavor.

Control's narrative is sort of muddled. There are moments that will easily remind you of the insane architecture displayed in Inception. But regardless of the back tracking, I was always interrupted just enough to stop, admire and process just how Control would twist and warp its setting in new and inventive ways, each of which had me in awe at just how random, strange, and attractive this building really was. Although I wish much of it wasn't told in the various research and correspondence folders you find throughout the world. Therefore, that ominous feeling sometimes results in gloomy environments and a permeable sense of restlessness that keeps your adrenaline to the limit.

Whether it's the tension that's expertly drawn taught across the entire length of the game, or the constant surprises you're thrown as you navigate The Oldest House, it's clear that Control is going to leave a lasting legacy on video game history. The terror of the unexpected, of the unknown. Control might just be Remedy's best work yet. The script is stellar and the design of each level is creativity at top-notch quality.

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