We sit down and review Control. The latest dive into the “New Weird” of the world. Here is our review of Control
Things are flowing out of the cracks and the world is ready to take a run into the world of Control. The latest title in the strange run of things that Remedy has given us over the years. Some delve into a darker horror kind of setting. Others into a weird physics kind of lesson. Now we are here with Control to try to exert some of that into the world. That and to experience a “new weird” story with all kinds of odd mechanics and visuals. Something we had a chance to experience here recently and now we are setting down our review. Here is just about how the game handled in our eyes.
Welcome Jesse Faden. The latest to take up the mantel of chief for the Federal Bureau of Control. An organization bent to keep the rest of the world in the dark from all of the otherworldly weirdness that is out there. Her mission started as a way to get some answers, but after being thrust into the new role, she sets out to come to terms with that and save The Oldest House from the ever-looming Hiss. All things that make more sense once you dive into the deeper story of the game. The spoilery parts of it all…
To start things off here for Control, I am going to have to dig into the visuals of the game and how they never felt like they could keep the same consistency across all models and locations. I was playing through on the PS4 so it is not as if my hardware could have the largest of deviations as if on PC. Things like character models looking blander in some instances or the lip-syncing not always being to the same level. Sometimes the screen would completely stutter when just exiting out the menu screen. I mean, if it was all part of the weirdness in Control, it would be one thing but it felt like it detracted from the overall experience.
Next on the list has to be the combat in Control. The controls are nice and things do seem to flow, but the enemies are sometimes too relentless and always have the rushdown option on. Even in the beginning when you and Jesse are still trying to learn the ropes of the game. Sure, more of them are the trigger buttons and various other movement and attack mechanics, but when you have 12 different enemies rushing in from all sides, it becomes extremely daunting very fast. Overwhelming at times. More so when it feels like the checkpoint system is not as locked down as it should be and you have to replay whole chunks of Control just because you died. Sometimes collecting the same items again and other times not.
Lastly, and this is going to be a weird deviation from many out there, I felt the narrative structure for Control was never concise enough to guide me along any path. I know part of that was by design, but other times I was as lost as Jesse seemed in the story. Even after spending a good portion of time trying to figure things out, something would pop up and throw a huge wrench in it all. Also, how some of it was presented never truly stuck with me and I was just going through the same video game motions without having the investment into the why. For instance, there is a small mission in Control where you need to throw barrels into a sentient furnace. I did so to progress but never understood exactly the reason for it.
While the visuals felt off in Control, in a graphical sense, it did feel like Remedy took a lot of time to actually get the layout of the world done to their usual standards. The level design and building structures always felt like there was a purpose to it all and not just “because video games.” There were reasons for all of the twisting hallways and rooms in the game. Even if those reasons were not present at the beginning of it all. That was part of the fun. Trying to figure all of that out and move right along to the next big piece of Control. This works out especially well with the fact that there is no real HUD to guide us along to the next mission location and need to use in-game maps of sorts.
The combat in Control did feel a bit one-sided, that is not to say that it was not balanced when it came to the controls and actually pulling things off. Seeing as we had to blend a mixture of gunplay and telekinesis, it could seem like it would be overwhelming. It did not. In fact, it blended together extremely well that you could move between the two without much issue. Mixing everything up along the way to make sure you were always the alpha predator on the screen. This could have failed extremely hard for Control, but it ran like a well-oiled machine. Between the auto-aiming for the telekinesis powers or shooting from the hip; it all functioned well. If only the AI could do more than one thing.
Finally, and this may be difficult for some, the story and side-stories of Control always seemed to flow in an amazing order or as organic as possible. I never felt railroaded to go to a specific place and if I walked into a new room, I would be informed that there was something else going on in a way that never broke the flow. It felt like a breathing and living world, which was the point, and it added to the whole experience. It made you want to check things out instead of needing to do so. If that makes any kind of sense at all here.
If you are looking into getting into Control for any of the new and unique combat or game mechanics, you might be let down as it is all pretty much standard fare. Where the game truly shines is in the story and level design. It all flows and makes you want to dig in more than most other games out there. All to the point where you can ignore some of the other flaws mixed in. As long as you can follow along with the story that starts out just as confusing as the lead character makes it all seem. I say give it a try at the very least as its boons do make up for its flaws in many different ways.
I give Control 9 Objects Of Power on the Object Of Power scale.
Control — Trailer