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Control #GameReview

Welcome back to another excellent game review by Cat from Red Lace Reviews!

Winner of over 80 awards, Control is a visually stunning third-person action-adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Title: Control | Developer: Remedy Entertainment | Publisher: 505 Games | Release Date: 08/27/2020 | Genre: Science Fiction | Platform: PC | Source: Purchased | Starred Review

Control Review

Control (2020) is a third-person action-adventure game developed by Remedy Entertainment, known for such games as Quantum Break and Alan Wake. Taking place in the same world as both, it introduces Jesse Faden and her mission to find her brother in a secret government agency.

An hour in…

I went in blind, however, my excitement was put on hold due to the much dreaded technical issues. Screen tearing and a nauseating blur had me fiddling around with the options, but after improving those problems I was more than eager to dive right in. The first hour introduced the player to Jesse Faden, the investigation into the whereabouts of her brother leading her to an office building that was much more than it appeared to be. In no time Jesse landed herself the role of janitor’s assistant, as well a much more significant position at the centre of everything. Coming into possession of the Service Weapon—the only weapon in the game—commenced the action, early combat being vastly different from what it would evolve into.

The meat of it…

The strangeness of Jesse’s predicament was something that kept me intrigued, the Federal Bureau of Control having many, many surprises in store. Under emergency lockdown due to the invasion of a mysterious entity, it fell to Jesse to try and clean up the mess. I’d be the first to admit that it wasn’t the most attractive setting to explore, but with shifting rooms, forgotten floors, and collectibles that shed light on just how life in the office was for its employees, the personality of the Oldest House more than made up for the lack of scenery. A lot of it was just outright bizarre—killer fridge, anyone?—but in a way that made it fun. I’d say the game got better and better the more ground I covered, until it was all I wanted to play. The voice acting was also brilliant in bringing the characters to life, even if stiff facial expressions left a lot to be desired.

Progressing in the story, as well as exploring the vast labyrinth of the Oldest House, led to psychokinetic abilities that made combat the pinnacle of a good time. I enjoy shooting bad guys as much as the next person, but Jesse’s powers pushed the limits even further, encouraging the player to go crazy with how they inflicted damage. The most notable had to be the launching of projectiles, with nearly every piece of the environment able to be picked up by Jesse’s mind and used as a weapon, whether it was a table or a cardboard box, or hell, even the bodies of other enemies. This isn’t to say it was a walk in the park, the hostile forces often having numbers on their side while packing punches of their own. Constant movement and cover was key, as well as the use of the more defensive powers, yet death was never far away.

While the main storyline was decent, I always looked forward to the next side quest, whether it was a task set by the cryptic Ahti, or a plea for help by another NPC. Some of them finished with unique boss encounters, and after killing a few dozen Hiss, it was nice to fight something different—a small complaint was the lack of variety, as once you’ve seen one Hiss-possessed soldier, you’ve pretty much seen them all. These optional monsters proved challenging, relying on trial and error to get the job done, Jesse’s abilities essential in finding the strategy. Other optional content included mission alerts in various sections of the map, encouraging the player to return to previously visited locations to cull Hiss or protect civilians. Backtracking was a means to gather more resources for upgrades, which wasn’t all too exciting as far as loot went, but it gave some sense of freedom due to Remedy’s attempts at a less linear experience. After a while I decided against paying attention to the alerts, and my neglect thankfully didn’t affect the story.

I have to mention the excellent expansions, The Foundation and AWE, both released in 2020. Despite not being all that familiar with Alan Wake, I thoroughly enjoyed the crossover and theme of AWE. Venturing into an abandoned sector void of power, it depended on utilising Jesse’s telekinesis to carry light sources through the level, succeeding in creating a claustrophobic and uneasy atmosphere. The main antagonist was also a treat, most definitely my favourite boss overall. As for The Foundation, I didn’t favour it over AWE, but it involved a vital turning point in the plot, likely paving the way for Jesse’s future.

In conclusion…

Control didn’t immediately grasp me, but the more insight I gained into the workings of the Federal Bureau of Control, the more the game impressed me with its character. There was much to be confused and amused by, little details going a long way when I stopped and paid attention. Combat was fast-paced and thrilling, the use of Jesse’s powers especially satisfying after unlocking them, to the point I welcomed every battle. I hold some minor criticism, but really, I loved the game. Jesse plunged down a rabbit hole into a weird and wonderful adventure, and I hope that’s not the last I see of her.

The Ultimate Edition stands at £35, more than worth it for the forty-eight hours of gameplay. I went full completionist, saw and did everything until there was nothing left.

Published inHorror Games

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