Control Hands-Off Preview – Remedy Is Cooking Up Another Supernatural Thriller
One of the more interesting games I got to see in action at E3 this year was Control from Remedy, which is the same team that worked on Quantum Break, a game I loved, but one that didn’t quite resonate with all gamers. Regardless of your thoughts on Quantum, I can tell you after watching a 25-minute hands-off demo, that Control looks to offer up a thrilling experience that is rooted in mystery and mysticism with a heavy does of science fiction. It also looks fantastic, even in alpha while running on a PS4, so if you’re into what Remedy is calling the New Weird genre of gaming, then you should keep an eye on Control’s development.
In Control you will play as Jesse, who is a part of the Federal Bureau of Control, which is an agency that deals with some weird as shit. In the demo we got to see Jesse working her way through a futuristic office building that could shift its structures in an Inception kind of way to offer up new routes to explore, or puzzles to get past. This mechanic offered up a great look at the visuals, which I’d describe as gritty with hints of sci-fi and horror aesthetics. The look of this world is quite drab, but it fits with the narrative and its dark and mystical setting. I really appreciate the animations of Jesse, who thanks to her telekinetic powers featured one of the best video game renditions of what it’d look like if a human could hover off of the ground like a superhero. It just looked very natural and physics minded, which I might add plays a big role in this game thanks to Jesse’s supernatural powers.
Like I mentioned she can move objects with her hands and mind, which plays heavily into combat and level traversal. Throughout the demo Jesse would use a combination of her powers and a gun to take down the enemies blocking her path, and when used correctly she becomes X-Men-like, and can pull of some “Oh Shit!” type of combos.
Speaking of her gun, it may be one of the most awesome looking handguns I’ve ever seen in any entertainment medium. It looks like a handgun, but it can transform like a Transformer, so it almost feels alive. It’s always in a constant state of motion, and even the simple animations of it reloading or firing can draw your attention to the detailed visual presentation Remedy has cooked up for this title. It just little nuances like this that made Control stand out to me as one of the more interesting new game demos I saw while at E3.
The gameplay is best described as a Supernatural Action-RPG, but based on what I was told it will also offer up Metroid-vania-esque exploration. Essentially, thanks to how the building you play in can transform and change over time, you will need to have special abilities to reach areas you may have not been able to get to the first time you came across them, so like a Metroid game you will gain access to more parts of the building to find new items and side missions as you rank up your gun and your own abilities. This will definitely add plenty of reasons to explore beyond the main objectives, and considering how fun the combat looked, I have no qualms with some of the backtracking you’ll do to find secret areas you couldn’t access earlier in your playthrough.
Unfortunately, Control isn’t slated to release until 2019, and it will probably be late 2019 at that, so the developers on hand couldn’t reveal much more about the game and its direction at this time. I can tell you though that after a 25-minute demo I’m fully sold on the experience it is said to offer, so I can’t wait to get a deeper look at this game and its Annihilation/Stranger Things influenced world. It looked very Remedy-like, so if you’re a fan of their body of work then you should have no reservations about what the team is doing with Control so far. In fact, it just may be the second most intriguing game I saw at the show behind CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. How’s that for some hype?
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