Control is the game that all surreal and absurd cinema connoisseurs have been waiting for

Players are thrown into the shoes of Jesse Faden, our fiery-haired protagonist who searches for The Old House, a brutal bureaucratic building in New York that exists in a constant state of architectural flow and appears only to those who wish to find it.

In an attempt to locate his missing brother, he is in the position of director of the Federal Bureau of Control, a large brotherhood organization that handles information control and containment of paranormal entities. This includes the Altered Items, ordinary domestic objects that have been imbued with the supernatural potential obtained by the power of urban legends and the collective subconscious.

The supernatural element

Control is a deeply cinematic game, and clearly the Remedy team paid the same attention to the details and structure of its beautiful environments, as well as the development of the broader narrative. The vending machines line the now empty halls of The Oldest House, full of white and unmarked bags, just the name of the food inside. The previous employees linger in the air, contracting in a disturbing unison. , They were corrupted by The Hiss, an unknowable force that made its way to The Oldest House and turned it into a psychosomatic nightmare theme park.

Live-action short films led by detached scientists are launched on cold brutalist walls. In one room I mistakenly tipped over a projector while I was using one of Jesse’s powers to hurl rubble at a winged and tormented bureaucrat, only to note that the rest of the show was played halfway across the west wall where the projector lay. These are moments like this that helped to cement how much attention to detail there is in Control.

Being a Remedy game, of course there are piles of notes to find and countless supplements and summaries to read, depicting events in which the supernatural has penetrated reality outside of these claustrophobic halls.

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The Bureau office has drafted some headlines, but by exploring and listening to the buzz of this atmospheric world, you gain a sense of context and understanding about the ways in which the FBC has permeated the subconscious of humans around the world, launching disinformation campaigns through night radio broadcasts, obfuscating the truth through reductio ad absurdum and always protecting one’s experimental interests. A room known as “Dead Letters” fails to categorize thousands of paranormal sightings seriously, with unusable elevators due to the fact that they are full of mail.

The Puzzle

Even with its metroidvania influences and open world design, we’re trying to make it clear that Control has succeeded in a near-perfect narrative, a thin line riding for Remedy and one where other developers have failed previously. We are pleased to say that they are courting this ambitious configuration with relative ease.

We shivered often as we walked into Control, immersed in the sound design to be pumped out of blood courtesy of Allume Inside Martin Stig Anderssen. There is always something to get your attention in every area of ​​The Oldest House, from the otherworldly mold that rots in its decrepit corners to the splendid transparent trail of translucent gas left by each enemy, which is also the essence that Jesse can use to enhance his skills and weapons.

The puzzles are also real puzzles. At one point we stood by our TV, the phone in hand using an audio reversal app to solve a puzzle. On another occasion, we were translating the warbling of a Finnish janitor into English to get a little more context on his part to play in history. This in itself is a testament to how Control’s world had captured us, connected us and sunk. We wanted every bit of his writing.

Black phoenix

We have a small complaint or two with the structure of the game. You should spend a lot of time looking for those who have missing missions, abilities and secret items, some of which are not even related to results or missions, a brave touch of Remedy that we really appreciated. However, as much as exploration is important to Control, the game has a rather slow and linear start before it opens properly, and when it finally opens (and does so in style) there are still some compromises on the seemingly open world they were looking for.

You can also buy Control on where you will find it at a more advantageous price.

An annoying example was a wall covered with mold that prevents Jesse from entering the medical wing of the containment sector, which later opens after having passed a certain mission in history. There is no satisfactory answer or context about why he was there in the first place, preventing us from snooping around. It’s child’s play, but it seemed to conflict with the spirit of Metroidvania design elements.

As an explorer, it was nice to see this approach conducted carefully in many other areas. Jesse has a growing level of play that allows her to access mysterious offices and secondary areas, so the game also pushes the more linear players to sift through the old areas during the beginning of the middle and the end of the game, something we didn’t see the time to do.

The checkpoint can also be as frustrating and brutal as architecture sometimes. Enemy generation is not perfect and can often overwhelm you if you are not careful. This makes it a pleasantly refreshing experience, but there are times when you will curse the annoying goal race when you are destroyed by nothingness.

This does not mean that combat is a slogan: in fact, it is perhaps one of Control’s most successful features. Checking Jesse’s post-levitation update looks like what Anthem should have been. You are the psychic superhero par excellence and there is an incredible floating sensation on Jesse’s gait as he moves and speeds around his enemies, throwing objects, hammering them in the dust and grabbing their vulnerable minds.

The service weapons are also crisp as soon as they arrive, with a series of significant variations including a charged explosion that pierces the flesh and the collateral particles, creating a wonderful graphic collage when tornadoes of rubble appear in the heat of Control’s intense commitments.

If you are wondering how replay is, Control has a surprisingly rich post-game and we are pretty confident that even if we have now completed all the secondary missions we could find and maximize the skill tree, there are many more, complex secrets that hide in the confines of The Oldest House.

In any case, Remedy has plenty of room to expand the story with DLC, something for which we would be more than happy to pay for the flawless quality of the base game.

Control: Free your mind!
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Control: Free your mind!
Control is the game that all surreal and absurd cinema connoisseurs have been waiting for
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GT magazine
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