Control is the latest title to come from the mysterious minds at Remedy Entertainment, and for the most part it doesn’t disappoint in the least.
The third person shooter gameplay mixed with Force-like powers, coupled with Metroidvania-style exploration, really make the overall Control experience enjoyable. Plus, when you factor in Remedy’s penchant for supernatural storytelling, you get a complete gaming experience. Unfortunately though, there are a few technical issues that hamper the experience, so while I still think it’s one of 2019’s best games, Control would’ve been a near perfect title without a few of the issues I touch on in my review.
You can check that out below in full via the video or script.
“Hey now fans of games from Remedy Entertainment, Matt Heywood here to review their latest game, Control, or what I like to call one of 2019’s most intriguing games to play.
Control excels at three things, and those are supernatural power infused third person shooter gameplay, metroidvania style exploration, and plenty of mystery and intrigue in its narrative. A few technical issues hold the game back from being a near perfect experience, but overall Control is a not to be missed title in 2019.
You play as Jesse Faden, who is a girl looking for her lost brother at the Federal Bureau of Control, an agency that protects the world from the strange. Unfortunately for her, when she arrives she finds the place to be in a state of chaos thanks to the arrival of supernatural beings from another dimension called the Hiss. Due to the circumstances, she suddenly finds herself as the new Director of the FBC, so she starts using her own paranormal powers granted to her by a mysterious being that seemingly has been with her for a good part of her life.
To avoid plot spoilers I’ll stop there in terms of story reveals, but I can tell you that the mystery behind what is happening at the FBC, and how Jesse’s otherworldly companion plays into it all, really helps drive you through the game and compels you to explore every corner of the Oldest House, which is where the FBC is located.
There are so many pickups to find that flesh out more of the mystery that Remedy wove for this game that you can’t help but get your Metroidvania on and explore old sections of the House you couldn’t access before because you were missing a new power or item to access these locations.
Exploring became my favorite aspect of Control’s non-linear gameplay thanks to the little plot reveals you could get, as well as the new items and mod pieces you could find to help pimp out your Service weapon, or make you stronger with personal mods such as a larger pool of health.
Although, I do wish more of the key story points were fleshed out in the game’s great cutscenes and other videos, because you don’t quite get the full picture as to what is going on with Jesse, the FBC, the Hiss, and her companion without collectibles, so if you skip out on exploring, you will miss out on some important details that will make the funky story a bit more fleshed out.
With that being said though, Control’s mysterious plot definitely helps to drive you through the gameplay, so it gets hard to put down because you want to find out more as to why all hell has broken loose at the FBC, as well as how Jesse plays into it all.
While exploring adds to the game’s lore and can make the experience stretch well beyond the 10 hour campaign, I found Control’s combat to be one of its most satisfying gameplay features. It’s setup as a third person shooter, which is achieved through a transforming gun known as the Service Weapon, as well as Jesse’s supernatural powers that you unlock, which range from telekinesis to the ability to take over enemies minds and have them fight for you.
The gameplay is just done in a way that makes you feel like a God. In fact, I kinda felt like Starkiller in the first Force Unleashed, albeit with a gun instead of lightsabers.
Towards the end of the game when you have Jesse’s powers fully unlocked, you can pull of some impressive offensive and defensive maneuvers, so it’s hard not to feel like a super powered badass while taking out the game’s mostly mundane AI bad guys.
I say mostly mundane because there are a few boss fights in Control, but they’re paced unevenly, and disappear altogether during the game’s uniquely odd closing chapter, so for the most part, if you just stick to the core campaign, you’ll miss some of the game’s best boss battles, which is odd considering the challenges they can offer over what you get in the game’s closing minutes.
I’m telling you, Control is just one of those special new IPs that suck you in with its intriguing story, and keeps you around with interesting gameplay that is designed to peel more layers back on the mysterious plot, but I can’t look past some of its technical issues, which ultimately cost Control a near perfect rating in my book.
For starters, the respawn system, not so much the checkpoint system, but the respawn system can frustrate. This is because you can only come back to a control point you’ve cleansed, but these points aren’t always close to where you died, or even to the mission you were on when you died. So while you may get liberal checkpoints, if you die, you may find yourself running through the Oldest House for minutes on end to get back to where you died.
This issue is compounded during the final mission because you get fucked by a bad checkpoint and respawn point. Due to some cheap deaths and an even cheaper fall, I had to replay nearly 18 minutes of the same section three times, and it almost caused me to rage quit. That’s how crappy of a checkpoint/respawn point this next to the last major battle provided.
Control also suffers from frame rate drops and near freezes, which really rear their ugly head if you pause the game and come back, or in my case, if you use the Xbox Game DVR. In both instances the gameplay would nearly freeze until the hardware could catch back up with the demand. These freezes would also pop up when there was a ton of action taking place on screen.
Finally, I had some really unfortunate audio drops during key cutscene reveals and item pickups meant to flesh out plot points. I would have to restart the game if I game back from letting it sit while my Xbox was turned off, because if I didn’t, audio would drop during random cutscenes. Even then, audio will still just be missing from certain scenes, so the issue can take you out of the experience and cause you to miss out on key plot points.
Even with these technical issues, I still highly recommend Control. It’s just a damn fun and compelling experience, and the mystery behind the plot is enough to keep you pushing through some of the annoyances. I will say that the ending doesn’t quite stick the landing I think the team was going for, but it will make you think if anything else.
Control is definitely an 8.5 out of 10 type of game, and without the issues I detailed, it would’ve been very close to a 10. I just loved the frenetic gunplay mixed with Force-like powers and Metroidvania exploration, and of course Remedy’s brand of storytelling in games is always worth experiencing. If you’ve been looking for a new IP to play, then you can’t go wrong with Control.
Thanks for watching, I’m Matt Heywood signing off for Entertainment Buddha, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.”
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