Have you ever wandered into a place of business and immediately landed a job? Not only do you land this gig, you’ve been promoted to Director of the company. That is what happens to Jesse Faden as she walks into the Federal Bureau of Control.
Control is the latest psychological Thriller from Remedy games and published by 505 Games. The game is set in the headquarters of the FBC in a building known as the Oldest House. The game starts in the former Director’s office: the director is laying on the floor, apparently dead, and there is a gun on the floor next to him calling out to Jesse. The Service Weapon is what the gun is called and it’s your only weapon. There is something additionally odd about this place, the form of the building constantly changes: not one room is the same. Not only do you have to worry about that, there’s also a hostile takeover from an unknown presence.
As you run through the dark twisted corridors of the Oldest House you take on the dark force known as the “Hiss”. Control plays like your standard third person shooter, but with a twist. There is no cover system and no regenerative health; the enemies constantly try to flank you as you defend yourself with your only weapon. With the lack of a cover system how do you defend yourself? Throughout the game you obtain special abilities like the power of force. That grants you the ability to grab and throw objects at enemies. There are other abilities you can obtain by taking on side quests, each with their own upgrades. The skills really complement the game’s fast and chaotic gameplay. The Service Weapon does come with its own tricks and forms that you can upgrade to. The Service Weapon has five forms that you can unlock and upgrade: pistol, shotgun, rifle, semi-auto and charge. Each form throughout the game has its own upgrades that’ll give Jesse and the gun a boost in combat. Eventually, the gun will play second fiddle to abilities Jesse learns. While you patrol the Oldest House, you’ll run into other members of the FBC just dying to meet the new director. You can undertake multiple side quests from your fellow members. Aside from side quests there are collectables that you can find such as documents and recordings that provide info to Jesse’s quest and the FBC.
The visuals and effect are gorgeous for the most part. Jesse is able to rip apart the furniture and scatter paper everywhere as you zip through environments using her telekinetic powers to plow through enemies. The environments in the game look beautiful from the wall wrapping and halls disappearing to the monochrome red filling up the dark spaces in the Older House. That being said there are some issues with visual performance. The game does drop below 30 fps when the game becomes too chaotic and when unpausing the game. Nothing game breaking, but it does occur. Some of the character models look a bit generic and the animation can come off as a bit stiff. As for the sound direction, this is one of the games strongest aspects. Petri Alanko combines eerie sounds with a soundtrack that makes use of Control’s unsetting world that you traverse.
Control had me on the edge of my seat during its 15-hour campaign while exploring the Metroid-vania type map-finding clues to what brings Jesse to the Oldest House as I had fire fights with the Hiss. It was a blast using her powers to zip through paper, destroy furniture and place holes in walls. If you loved Remedy past titles especially Alan Wake, if fact you’ll be in for a treat to find some AW Easter eggs spread throughout the game. I can’t recommend Control enough, it’s easily my GOTY contender for 2019.