Inception is on Netflix.
2019 was a relatively silent year for gaming. We got Anthem, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and Days Gone. Today we’re going to be talking about one of the more silent games of 2019, at least in my opinion, Control.
What You Need to Know
Control was developed by Remedy Games. If that name sounds familiar its because they’ve been at the helm of the first two Max Payne games (Rockstar made Max Payne 3), Alan Wake and Quantum Break all of which are well known and regarded as solid games.
Control tells the story of Jesse Faden. Jesse is on a journey to find her long lost brother, and her journey leads her to New York City where she investigates the Federal Bureau of Control aka the FBC. The FBC is a secret government agency that is tasked with containing and studying phenomena that defies the laws of reality aka the supernatural.
Inception, I mean Control, is a third person action adventure game with plenty of action. Players take control (haha get it?) of Jesse Faden who’s on a mission to discover what the heck is going on in the FBC.
Upon the start of the game it immediately becomes clear that this isn’t going to be a normal third person action adventure game. Jesse receives the Service Weapon: a powerful firearm that can be upgraded to change forms to provide different types of firepower. It starts off as a pistol but can be upgraded into a submachine gun, shotgun, and even a sniper rifle. The Service Weapon doesn’t use ammo, and it’ll recharge ammo when it’s not being used.
Outside of the Service Weapon, Jesse herself contains supernatural abilities. While in the FBC, her powers expand upon interacting with Objects of Power (more on that later). She starts off with a simple ability called Launch which allows her to pick things up and throw them at high speeds causing tons of damage. Eventually, she’ll gain abilities such as Seize, a mind control function, and Shield, which functions exactly how it sounds. All of Jesse’s powers require Energy, which will drain on usage, but it recharges pretty fast.
What’s the point of having all these powers if you have no enemies to fight right? Due to events in the game, human agents of the FBC are controlled by the Hiss. The Hiss are your enemies: an otherworldly force that possesses whatever they want. The Hiss appear in many different forms some being human like while others are mutated and have psychic powers just like Jesse. You’ll fight plenty of them throughout your time in the FBC.
Now when you’re not fighting, you’re going to be doing a ton of exploring. Control is nonlinear meaning you can explore a lot of the FBC at anytime. At some points you’ll need clearance to access certain areas, and you’ll get it when you progress a little further in the campaign. There are fast travel points which are unlocked by cleansing Control points. Control Points are portals that allow Jesse to upgrade her abilities, customize her Service Weapon and partake in Board Countermeasures.
Aside from the main story, there are a ton of side quests to do. Most of them range from traveling to different sectors and clearing out hostiles or to cleansing Objects of Power. Objects of Power are items that defy the realm of reality and exist in our world. Coming into contact with these objects grants you new abilities provided you cleanse them. It’s a lot easier said then done though so don’t be thinking you’re going to be a cleanser extraordinaire.
Control does feature an upgrading system. Killing enemies, completing side quests, and turning in Board Countermeasures will drop modifications or crafting materials for Jesse. At a Control Point, you can craft or equip mods that provide benefits to Jesse and/or the Service Weapon. You can equip up to three mods on Jesse and three on the Service Weapon as well. Jesse also gains skill points that can be used to upgrade her abilities permanently.
Holy moly I think I covered everything important. The rest is up for you to discover, should you choose to accept this mission!
I’ve never played Alan Wake or Quantum Break so I didn’t really know what to expect when I jumped into this. Needless to say I left feeling good about the game I played.
Spoiler alert: I actually beat this game before I typed this up. First time for everything.
I want to start off by saying Control is amazing on the eyes. I’m on a PS4 Pro, and I feel like it’s beautiful. The engine used for this game really works wonders especially when you’re in combat. Jesse can use Launch on anything so sometimes she’ll pull out pieces of walls and watching it rip off the wall is so satisfying. I think her character model is pretty well done too. Jesse doesn’t really showcase a range of emotion, but her model looks good.
I think Control has some of the best gameplay of 2019. The action is hectic and fast paced, and I really liked messing around with different mod setups to see which made me a badass. What really surprised me is that the gunplay is meaty, and it feels better than games like Ghost Recon: Breakpoint and even Anthem which are games that are primarily shooter based. It blows my mind that I had better gun fights in this game than in those games.
You’re probably wondering why I’ve been using Inception as a reference point for this game. Well my first reason is that I just watched the movie so it’s fresh on my mind. Secondly, the game follows a similar story path as Inception did being that the characters establish a goal and more about their past experiences are explored as the story progresses. This isn’t a new storytelling mechanic by any means, but the reason why I’m saying it is because if you don’t pay attention, you’ll get lost pretty quickly in both Inception and Control. So pay attention.
In my time playing it, there weren’t a lot of bugs or glitches, which given the amount of detail is astounding. There was one particular bug that pissed me off though. If you pause the game with the Start button then unpause it, the frame rate will drop immensely. The game chugs and almost feels like it’s going to crash. It’s not a big deal if you pause it in the middle of a puzzle or anything, but it’s super disorienting when you’re in the middle of a huge gunfight and your game is chugging.
Also not trying to complain, but this game can be hard. Enemies will chew through you like gum no matter if you’re just starting or if you’re in the endgame (We’re in the endgame now). There aren’t any difficulty options so just be mentally prepared to fall a few times before you fly.
I’m not going to lie when I say I went into this game with no expectations. I knew it’d be good, but I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did. Remedy did a fabulous job creating a world that matches Inception in regards to scope and almost dream like in a sense. There’s a ton of content, and Remedy is looking to add more content in March with paid DLC. There’s a lot I tried not to mention because you honestly have to experience it yourself.
Control gets my seal of approval.