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Old 09-11-2019, 02:14 PM   #1
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The Evil Avatar Control Review

Title: Control
Platform: PS4,Xbox One, PC
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Developer: Remedy
Publisher: 505 Games
MSRP: $59.99
Writer: Aaron Birch

Control Review

Welcome to the Federal Bureau of Control

Coming from the same developer that brought us titles such as Max Payne, which had a profound impact on the third person shooter genre, mixing Matrix-style gunplay with noir drama, Control is just as much of a mash-up, combining third person shooting, psychic powers, and a 60s sci-fi plot with some serious off-the-wall style.

As somewhat mysterious protagonist, Jesse Faden, a woman with an uncertain past at the beginning of the game, you find yourself in the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Control. This super secret arm of the government is responsible for researching the paranormal. In fact, the very building the organisation calls home is actually some form of pocket dimension, contained in an nigh on invisible building in the middle of New York. Inside this building, called the Oldest House, the laws of reality cease to be constrained, and its shifting hallways and portals to different dimensions are both a source of intense research, and a whole heap of potential danger to the outside world.

Itís a very strange setup, which I wonít spoil here, but suffice it to say, the game takes its time, starting out as a bizarre, almost nonsensical tale, slowly revealing its secrets as you progress, both of the secretive FBC, and of Jesseís reason for finding the Bureau in the first place, and the nature of her invisible friend she constantly talks with.

Youíre slowly introduced to the other FBC personnel, the various projects and phenomenon being investigated, including every day objects that host dangerous powers, and, of course, the main antagonist of the story, an enemy force known as The Hiss, a name Jesse herself coins at the beginning of the tale.

Youíll have a lot of questions going through your head for the first few hours of the game, and thatís exactly what Remedy intended. At the same time, the game introduces you to the kind of solid third person shooting weíve come to expect from the developer, and itís here where Control, in my opinion, manages to really shine, as it manages to combine a truly unique and enthralling story, with genuinely solid and enjoyable combat that mixes traditional run and gun shooting with a myriad of supernatural powers, all whilst keeping the game as a whole tight and refined.

Combat is pure Remedy, and anyone whose played the companyís previous games, be it Max Payne or Alan Wake, will be very familiar. Jesse is initially armed with the ĎService Weapon,í the first object of power she discovers. This is a strange, morphing sidearm that regenerates ammo, and can be upgraded to change into a variety of other guns, such as shotguns, sniper rifles, and machine guns.

Eventually other objects of power can be found which grant her various superpowers, such as telekinesis. This is used for both combat and puzzles, and is executed beautifully, with an auto aim making the skill easy to use, even in the midst of hectic combat, and her other skills, such as a dash evade, and the ability to control the minds of foes are equally easy to use.

Quickly, combat encounters become much more than simple shootouts, and each and every battle is a mixture of tactics, as some enemies require the right combination of skills and weapons to take down. Foes with shields, for example, cannot be harmed until you fling the nearest heavy object into their face, before filling them with lead, and turning the tide of a tough battle by brainwashing foes to fight for you is a tactic that youíll often employ in some of the larger-scale, more dangerous confrontations.

Sadly, combat does present what I found to be one of the games only serious issues, and thatís a very inconsistent frame rate. Although the game runs smoothly enough for the most part, more chaotic fights filled with shooting, powers, particle effects and object physics can cause the action to slow to a painfully low frame rate, enough even to cause the odd unfair death. In some fights, I even found myself curtailing my use of powers, lest I end up slowing the game down too much. I expect a future patch will resolve this, but at the time of my review, it was a very real issue, and muddied what was otherwise a very slick and well-presented shooter.

I have to say, though, I feel thereís a lot of missed opportunities in Control. Being set in this truly intriguing ever-shifting pocket dimension, there could have been a much more interesting collection of locations and environments, but instead much of the game sees you exploring drab offices and maintenance areas. True, even these have a strange appeal to them, littered as they are with items and lore pickups to find, and there are some stand out locations you find yourself in, but a lot of fights do tend to feel very samey after youíve fought of waves after wave of foes in the same, grey-clad office spaces. The Hiss could also have used some more imagination, instead of being limited largely to glowing humanoid, and deformed human enemies. More variety in general would have been welcome.

This is a relatively minor niggle, though, as the core gameplay here is great, and the story is presented in such a way that you just have to keep ploughing on to find out just what all this craziness is about, and what the truth behind Jesseís backstory is all about.

Certainly a much better release than Remedyís previous effort, Quantum Break, Control is a slick and well written mystery that, unlike a lot of other similarly-themed games, doesnít skimp on the all-important gameplay stakes, and the end result combines a solid shooter with an absorbing story that plays out to a very satisfying conclusion thatíll stick with you long after you complete it.

Score: 4 out of 5

The Good
  • great combat, enthralling story, some great visuals
The Bad
  • Environments and locations could have been more varied, as could the enemies
The Ugly
  • Some terrible frame rate drops
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:47 PM   #2
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Great write up. Thoroughly enjoyed reading a gamers review. Now I gotta decide whether to buy now or wait for the version that includes all the DLC on a single disc #PS4
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:51 PM   #3
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Nice review, Evil!

I wonder if the PC release is as good.

I suppose the days of a major difference between the PC releases and consoles are over.

*unless you arena Japanese developer lol
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by brandonjclark View Post
I wonder if the PC release is as good.
I have generelly low framerates playing this. Odd: changing the gfx options doesn't help much at all, I guess it's my CPU limiting. (Core i5, GTX 1060, 16 GB RAM). It's playable thou.

However, after the first few hours the game becomes a bit stale. Combat is the same over and over again: Throw something at the enemy to bring him down to 10%, then shoot his face. Repeat.

The nonsensical "story" is fun in the beginning but starts to annoy. By now, I just cant give a shit anymore about it. For example, the fist visit to the "hotel" was fun, the following became more and more stupid.

The combat physics are fun and impressive.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:45 AM   #5
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This is on my radar.

But I'm rather annoyed with the main character, She just isn't appealing, not that all main characters need to be, but whoever designed he face... it just isn't attractive or appealing for a main characters face, that isn't to belittle the skill in crafting the model, I just don't like her look.

I'm always fascinated by some of these choices, like cyberpunk will be decent in character aesthetics, but you won't really see much of your character.

but a game like this where your character will be watched and seen in third person and in story bits, they could give you a hand full of character options, it would get more copies off the shelf in my opinion.
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:47 AM   #6
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You had frame rate drops because you reviewed on PS4 instead of Xbox One X where I have seen none.
Proud to be perma-banned 5 times on NeoGAF.
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