When you see Remedy Entertainment pop up an immediate interest is piqued. The folks behind Max Payne, Quantum Break and Alan Wake are a team dedicated to bringing that outside the box auteur content to the mainstream. Their latest mind bender, Control is Remedy reaching peak coolness, artfulness and the all out ability to make jaws drop.
Control centers around Jesse Faden a woman seeking answers concerning her mysterious past. When Jesse arrives at the The Federal Bureau of Control’s home base known as ‘The Oldest House,’ she is thrown into combat against an invading force known as ‘The Hiss’ onto a path that will unlock her full potential as well as answer her questions regarding her mysterious past.
The game takes place within the walls of The Oldest House and task you with exploring all sectors contained within. This is accomplished by discovering and taking over control points as well as the ultimate goal of pushing The Hiss out of the area.
Jesse has a lot of awesome tools at her disposal. For one, her Service Weapon is able to change and harness several different approaches to combat. These see the Service Weapon changing from pistol to shotgun to machine gun, etc… Each one of weapon settings is also fully up-gradable and can be further moded with items found in the House.
Combat is a complete blast, and really gives you the feeling of taking on the full brunt of Jesse’s powers. Once you are able to chain them all together things get really interesting. I think the coolest thing the folks at Remedy did was make it to where you can activate your powers and fire your weapon at the same time. For example, putting up a shield while levitating and dashing, or levitating while using telekinesis to hurl objects all make the game even more excellent.
Controls are incredible and tight and that comes as a welcome surprise. For the amount of moves that the game has Jesse executing its mind boggling that you can control her with such ease. A lot of games that give you the ability to unleash a bevy of moves is usually subdued by its own prowess. Either by only allowing you to execute one move at a time or in some cases just coming off somewhat wooden. Control is masterful and effortless in its approach to controlling Jesse. The approach is a straight up blast and absolutely sets the bar in what controls should look like from here on out.
Control’s main character, Jesse (Courtney Hope) is a rare case where mocap and acting prowess is combined wonderfully. Hope, who has a background in dance, perfectly embodies the character in an approach that fits the heightened dream like tone of the world. Her performance lies in the subtleties and would fit perfectly into the world of David Lynch. From voice to the physical work Hope creates a character that feels fully fleshed out and is a protagonist that you immediately side with.
Speaking of, the entire cast and voice work is really well done here. The Oldest House is full of characters that ride the line of deeply interesting and the darkly cartoonish. The next level mocap that Control offers combined with the pitch perfect voice direction makes for a audible world that matches the games overall visual atmosphere.
Control grabs you
and doesn’t let go.
The design of Control is phenomenal and an absolute achievement. From The Oldest House’s architecture to the the ways that the physical world is manipulated, the design is pure cotton candy on for the eyes and a true spectacle. That same design is extended almost everything in the game including Jesse’s service weapon, which might go down as the coolest weapon I have seen in a game or film in a decade.
If you ever asked yourself what a colab between Christopher Nolan and David Lynch would look like, Control would be the answer. It’s mind bending mechanics, bizarre world of characters and dream like atmosphere act as melding of what we have seen from both above mentioned directors. But, that doesn’t take away from the singular experience that the game offers in anyway. Control is very much its own game, and its own crane style approach to its development.
Control grabs you and doesn’t let go. It’s furious, razor smart and infinitely cool. This is the kind of game I want to play and the kind of movie I would pay to see on the big screen. The ability to work on as many levels as Control does easily gives it my vote for Game of the Year and is a serious must play for fans of art in general. In fact, the game could have stopped at its artful masterful design and that would have already been enough… but then they go ahead and throw in that insanely great combat. This is one that seriously needs to be played to be experienced and you should definitely make it a point to play it as soon as possible.