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Posted by GG Goblin On September - 17 - 2019

A game filled with “what?” moments.

Remedy have a great back library of strange games, with the likes of Alan Wake, Max Payne and even Quantum Break never being quite as straight forward as most other third-person action games. However, their latest title Control really goes above and beyond in dropping the player into the most bizarre of situations and pretty much leaving the player to work out what on earth is going on. It’s all very disconcerting.


Even something as simple as the players motivation is left hanging, with dribs and drabs presented to the player for the majority of the game. Players take on the role of Jesse Faden upon her arrival at the Federal Bureau of Control. Jesse has a fairly constantly running monologue, which most of the time only adds to the confusion, but it all adds to the mystery. Also adding to the mystery is the enigmatically named Federal Bureau of Control, which is housed inside a massive, labyrinthine building that will serve as the game world. Jesse arrives at the FBC looking for answers, and instead finds finds herself confronted with an invasion of The Hiss, an otherworldly force that is controlling FBC workers for its own nefarious goals. Fortunately Jesse is not your average young lady and, with the help of some Objects of Power, has the means to fight back at this invasion.

So players will slowly uncover more information about Jesse and the FBC as they progress through the game, but it is all presented in such a vague way, and much of it incomplete, that players will spend most of their time in Control having far more questions than answers. It adds a certain tension to the narrative that many players will enjoy, and certainly pushes the player to investigate every inch of this strange building. I say building, but when some departments appear to be in completely different places, or even planes of existence, who really knows. This is all part of the mystery of the game, and Jesse seems as confused as the player will be, which is somewhat comforting.


With weirdness at every turn, and more than one instance where gravity just doesn’t seem to be working properly, Jesse will have a lot to investigate. As is often the case, and to add some action to all of the strangeness, Jesse will also frequently have to get into a fight. To start with, Jesse will have the Service Weapon, one of those Objects of Power, which is basically a Swiss Army Knife of guns. It’s a pistol, but it can change form into all manner of other weapons, such as a shotgun or a rocket launcher, giving Jesse the right weapon for any situation. The gunplay in Control is solid and enjoyable, but there is far more to come as Jesse unlocks her other powers.

The FBC building is littered with everyday items that have, for whatever reason, links to other dimensions. Finding these items will lead to Jesse being able to improve her own capabilities. This could be through upgrades for whatever powers she has unlocked, or mods and the like. It could also lead to unlocking some of Jesse’s other powers, and that is when things get really interesting. Levitation makes for an impressive sight, but being able to launch objects across a space at an enemy really can be breathtaking. There are other powers that come along, but being able to pick up anything and force push it at enemies is a real highlight. Of course, it is not only the player that is equipped with powers as some of the enemies in the game come with their own, ensuring that the player is never in a position of being overly powerful and keeping the tension high. Control really does feel like the player is constantly on the back foot in all aspects of the game.


Control has an open world (open building?) nature to it and the player will be able to just plough their way through the story missions should they choose. With that said, there are ample side missions and distractions to get involved with, some of which are on timers so add yet more to the tension. Along with the rewards of possibly more upgrades, players will also be able to gather more information about the FBC, not that it will really fill in any of the gaps in the players knowledge of the place, but it certainly adds to the mystery. Taking on extra missions will inevitably lead to further exploration, which can be tricky given how difficult the building is to navigate. There is a map, but the player will still need a keen sense of direction to avoid wasting time running around trying to find a specific place.

Visually, the game is pretty impressive. The strangeness of the setting gives rise to some incredible set pieces, and the whole game has a movie feel to it. There are some truly stunning lighting effects in the game, and the visuals are all supported by some great voice work and sound effects. In all, there are no complaints with Control’s presentation.


Much like Remedy’s other games, Control is one that players will be talking about for some time to come. Not everyone will enjoy the vagueness of the story and how long it takes to reach a conclusion, or what that conclusion is. But the action is sublime, smoothly combining supernatural powers with standard gunplay, and the wide open play area, though confusing, really does compel exploration. Players looking for supernatural answers may need to go elsewhere, but for those willing to embrace the strangeness and the unknown, Control really is a spectacle not to be missed.




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