Remedy returns at full charge! After presenting Control at the 2018 Sony conference we knew that the game was going to be something special and controversial. Remedy specializes in games with mysterious stories, full of characters that are more cryptic than the plot itself. Control is no exception. It gives us a glimpse into the deepest psyche of Remedy and its talented team. That said, let’s start our downfall trip through the rabbit hole. This is our Control game review!
The illusion of Control
Control is a psychedelically incredible game, as you will get to know in this review. At the beginning we get to meet our main character, there are no brakes to the plot or an introduction. The game does not take that moment Alan Wake takes to set a background for you. To learn that Alan is the writer and is going through complicated moments. In Control, really, le least we get is any type of control over what happens around the protagonist, Jesse Faden. Writing a Control game review is somewhat complicated because it is a game with many layers of metaphors. However, there something curious about writing this review. It is very difficult to give spoilers, given the complexity of the story. Control is more a game to personally experience. It is very entertaining to make your guesses about what is happening with Jesse and her adventure.
The FBC and its living world
From the beginning, the premise of the game is very basic. This riddled story-telling style remains throughout the game and it’s your duty to fill the spaces with your own conclusions based on what you observe and hear. Jesse Faden loses her brother back when both of them were children. Those responsible for abducting him is the Federal Bureau of Control, FBC.
Jesse, already an adult, manages to find the FBC. Upon her arrival, she finds out while exploring the building that the director of the FBC is dead and now she is its new director. That’s right, it doesn’t make much sense, but believe me, every piece will find its place in the puzzle eventually. The FBC is being attacked by an entity that Jesse has named “Hiss.” Now, as its new director, Jesse tries is in charge of avoiding the total destruction of the FBC and contain the Hiss, while collecting information from her brother and his whereabouts.
Between truth and fantasy
Everything that happens in Control borders on the fantastic, but it does not completely leave the realm of possibility. That makes you question whether everything that happens within the Federal Bureau of Control is just a mind game, or after closer review, a viable reality. What makes this title special is that the mystery that surrounds Jesse and all the characters is solved by you. Control has a multitude of collectibles. These are often audio and stories of fantastic situations that add sense to everything that is happening in the FBC. Little by little Jesse fits more in her role as director and you learn more about what happened to her brother.
Control, a mind game in review
Jesse possesses superhuman and telekinetic abilities. Apart from these skills you also have a very particular weapon, inherited from the previous FBC director, the Service Weapon. This weapon has some peculiarities, which I will not mention so they remain as a surprise within the first minutes of the game. What I can say is that Jesse’s abilities and your weapon can be modified and upgraded. You can make these changes at the Control points, which in turn serve to save your progress. As well, when Jesse falls in combat, this also points serve as a point of return. Throughout the game, you’ll find modifiers in special containers. These mods serve to give Jesse boosts for her special skills and her weapon. This entire upgrade system is really easy to understand and entertaining to use.
Each scenario gives you a fairly good difficulty progression. The game is not easy, but neither is it a frustrating or impossible challenge. It has the right balance point that keeps you entertained by the challenge. The enemies are varied and some seem to be taken from a movie directed by Guillermo del Toro. The FBC is divided into levels and as you explore, you will find enemies of higher levels that fit perfectly with the pace of your improvements. So, no matter how invincible you feel after improving your weapon or your skills, this won’t last long. You’ll have to be careful if you don’t want to end up again at a checkpoint.
Architecture, psychology and pure adrenaline
One of the things that amaze me the most about Control is how the game environment’s design was reviewed and created. Although the whole story takes place within the same building, there are a number of environments so different from each other that it seems impossible that everything is taking place in just a building. Therefore, everything in Control is interconnected in some sort of way. There are moments that will easily remind you of the crazy architecture displayed in Inception. Each place is full of details, psychological metaphors, and readable collectibles crammed with references to incredible paranormal stories that contribute to the story. In Control, there’s always something amazing to read in every corner.
This whole networked world also follows the same cryptic tendencies of the dialogues and story. So, from the game’s audio to the script, everything is carefully calculated to carry the same rhythm of mystery as the environment of the FBC. Control gives you that feeling that nothing is what it seems, that there is something more than what your eyes are showing you. Therefore, that ominous feeling sometimes results in gloomy environments and a permeable sense of restlessness that keeps your adrenaline to the limit. There are even several specific moments during the game that I could easily describe as terror. The terror of the unexpected, of the unknown.
Remedy has Control
After finishing Control and its game review, I can say that Remedy has achieved its best work until this date. The visual, auditory and narrative quality of Control raises the bar for the studio. The script is stellar and the design of each level is creativity at top-notch quality. The game is a true psychological journey, with moments full of tension and mind-twisting moments. Control is like listening to Pink Floyd, an enjoyable psychedelic journey full of metaphors, personal interpretation, and appreciation of art.