Control is the first game from Max Payne, Alan Wake and Quantum Break developers, Remedy Entertainment since becoming truly multiplatform, as in recent years, they’ve primarily developed games for the Xbox and PC.  So now with Control, there is much anticipation whether they can deliver the goods once more and continue with their ever increasingly back-catalogue of not only quality, but often very unique games, at least with their format of storytelling.  Control, while by no means perfect, certainly takes some of the best aspects from their previous games which almost make for a perfect remedy for the developer to seize control on of their multiformat destiny.

One of Controls strongest aspects is the intrigue that surrounds its story promise, which should come as little surprise considering the developer in question.  So being as spoiler free as possible, you play as Jesse Faden, who is a member of the FBC (Federal Bureau of Control), a government agency bathed in paranormal phenomenon, questionable experiments and knee-deep in controversy.  Jesse, in pursuit of her brother (Dylan), was kidnapped by the FBC from their hometown of Ordinary.  However, upon arriving in the FBC’s headquarters, known as the Oldest House, located in Manhattan, New York, Jesse soon finds herself over the dead body of the FBC’s Director and takes possession of his Service Weapon, a supernatural firearm that determines the leadership of the bureau.  However, this is not the end of Jesse’s problems, because the FBC HQ has been invaded by another worldly enemy, known as the Hiss that has invaded, seized control of the FBC’s inhabitants and has corrupted reality as we know it, complete even with a creep janitor.

At its core in terms of gameplay, Control is a third-person shooter, but it’s far more than that.  Yes sure, it has third-person mechanics, but it’s kind of like if the Bioshock and Alan Wake series’ got together and had a love child, the result would probably be Control.  The shooting is somewhat satisfying, but far from perfect, however, many of the powers and upgrade abilities help to make up for that.  You’ll be able to upgrade much of Jesse’s arsenal, from her Service Weapon, which can not only be upgraded to be more powerful, but you can also craft various forms for a multitude of combat situations.  For each form of the service weapon, you’ll also be able to attach mods to your loadout, which can vary from making the weapon more powerful, have faster reload times, have a wider scatter range and so forth.

As already hinted upon, Jesse will also have her own supernatural abilities, which given her current predicament, it’s a bloody good job too.  Without giving too much away in terms of her abilities, Jesse will be able to levitate objects to use them as weapons and if you upgrade the correct section of her skill-tree, you’ll also be able to fling enemies as weapons too.  As you progress into the game, Jesse will be able to levitate herself, possess enemies to do her bidding and much more.  One other ability that you will rely on is her form a protective shield, which can later be upgraded to use to do damage on enemies too, at close range.  This shield will help make up for the lack of a proper cover system in the game, which does seem odd to have this lacking.

Control also does seem to have sudden difficulty spikes that come out of nowhere at times and being able to gain proper cover via a wall or rubble (akin to perhaps Gears of War), would have been a natural inclusions in my opinion and would certainly help for some of the difficulty spike frustrations that I encountered a little later into the game.  One other issue that I have with the difficulty resulting in death, are the long load times.  Playing on the PS4 Pro, during a boss battle, some of the loading took more than 35 seconds and when you die multiple times, this does become an issue.  Hopefully the load times will be improved with future update.

The further you progress into the game, things will certainly get even crazier, but Jesse will become even more badass as she upgrades to combat the increasing difficulty.  But in order for her to do so, I would certainly recommend partaking in as many side-missions as possible, if you want to level-up and make the most out of her abilities.  Additionally by exploring the Metroidvania-esque world of the Old House, it will also help uncover important pieces of the plot puzzle.  Speaking of the world to explore, considering that the Old House is very multilayered with many departments, it’s not the easiest of maps on the eye and it can get a little confusing at times in trying to get a sense of direction, as the in-game map is flat with many of the layers appearing to be on top of one another.  For me at least, the map would have been easier to understand if it could be rotated in a 3D perspective.

Visually, Control is a very impressive looking game indeed.  The character animation is very well executed and the world itself is designed in a very stylish and artistic nature, despite it being very grey.  Even though you’ll encounter the same enemy types throughout, Control is supported by a very interesting depth of characters, all of which are superbly voiced by their representing voice actors.  Likewise, the soundtrack lends to the value of tension, mystery and suspense that the story uses so well to lure the players to keep on playing, in order learn more of Control’s intriguing storyline.  Also, if you have a quality headset, then Control makes great use of some well implemented audio design, especially with the spooky whispers that haunt the halls of the Old House.

All in all, while Control does have Remedy Entertainment’s stamp all over it, with their signature thriller storytelling and charm, Control does feel like a break-away from what were normally used to from the studio, and that’s great.  Control throws you straight into the deep-end of its story with little explanation to what’s going on, which not only adds to the intrigue, but it also helps put you into the shoes of the protagonist.  Control is by no means a perfect game and not without its flaws, but in terms of storytelling, there are not many better studios to lure the player in with its suspense from the get-go and keeps the player hooked throughout, then Remedy Entertainment, even though it’s ending feels a little sudden, but you can continue your exploration after the campaign is done.  That said, Control is most certainly a game worthy of your time and I doubt that you’ll play a better thriller shrouded by mystery this year,