E3 2019 has officially kicked off, which means it’s like Nerd Christmas for at least three days. One of the first games I’ve gotten my hands on so far is Control, a third-person action shooter which is essentially the beautiful, paranormal child of Max Payne and Alan Wake.
Set in the headquarters of a weird US government agency known as the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), you take on the role of its newly appointed director, Jesse Faden, who is tasked with cleaning out a dark force known as the Hiss, which has moved in and stunk up the place with some strange shit.
My playthrough was towards the beginning of the game where Jesse has limited abilities, so I couldn’t fly around like you may have seen in previous gameplay footage, but I could pick up almost anything from my surroundings using some kind of witch-ass magic and hurl it aggressively at enemies. This ability makes you feel like a goddamn superhero and let me tell you, it’s incredibly satisfying.
What I loved even more about this is that you don’t necessarily need to be looking at something to pick it up, you can just hold the right bumper button and if nothing is in your sights, you’ll just straight up pull concrete out of the wall, which feels even more badass.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about here, check out one of the latest gameplay trailers below.
Along with her crazy powers, you also have Jesse’s service weapon, which is like a shapeshifting handgun. I had access to two modes, one being a pretty standard pistol, and the other a shotgun or revolver-like blast more powerful than the former. You’ll also find upgrades for the weapon throughout the game, letting you customise things like accuracy, recharge time, rate of fire, etc.
Rather than having to worry about ammo, your weapon will recharge over time, which gently forces you into using other powers like your grabby throwy thing, along with extra abilities you’ll learn along the way.
One such extra I got to play with was a shield, which is basically just Jesse picking up a bunch of debris and holding it in front of her. Each time you get one of these abilities, you’ll run through a kind of tutorial in a weird void with golden enemies. It’s a trippy experience, but most of Control is.
A big part of Control’s charm is its setting. The FBC headquarters contains something called The Oldest House, which it would seem is responsible for all the weird shit going on around it. The brutalist architecture of the building and the way you interact with it really makes for a powerful and unique experience, and when combined with the weird array of enemies and mindbending rainbow effects which occur when you shoot them, it’s like a wild sensory overload, in a good way.
When Control opens up, it doesn’t try too hard to guide you, letting you take a variety of paths throughout the building to get to where you need to go. This design exposes you to a number of side missions available throughout, which you can choose to complete then and there or save for a little later.
Visually, Control looks gorgeous, punctuated by the weird and wonderful supernatural effects going on almost constantly. Its application of Nvidia‘s ray tracing technology really shines through here and watching the world react to the things you do is stunning to behold. I wish I could have shown you my face the first time I ripped a chair from the wall and held onto it, watching the scenery around it crumble as it hurtled towards me. Goddamn.
Being an enormous fan of the Max Payne series, I’m absolutely stoked to see that Remedy is still kicking goals with its games. From what I’ve played so far, Control is going to be an unbelievably good time and I honestly can’t wait to play through the entire thing when it launches on August 27.
If you’re keen to pick it up, it’ll be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.