Control - Critical

Author: Jonathon Dornbush
Date: 2020-07-30 18:18:22
I wish Remedy could develop more games, as Control reminded me of the incomparable talent of this studio to create captivating and strange universes with a unique identity. Control is hands down the strangest title that Remedy has ever released, but thanks to incisive writing, an impressive and varied set of psychic abilities, and an incredibly well-thought-out world, the qualities that make this new adventure a success don't take long to shine through. .

Infiltrating the Federal Bureau of Control in the shoes of Jesse Faden, guided by a mysterious entity who speaks to him and advises him, has literally fascinated me. At first, his seat, turning out to be drab and ordinary, looks like any office building, and Jesse's quest for answers about his past seems just as mundane. But Control does not take long to reveal the true nature of the place: in the first chapter, you become both the janitor's assistant and the new acting director of the office.

Jesse's initial quest is then relegated to the background in favor of solving employee problems. And while taking charge of the bureaucratic aspect of a government institution might sound boring in theory, it is far from being in these places filled with such strange characters and overrun by an interdimensional force known as Hiss. .

The power of the mind

As a kid who grew up with the X-Men, I always wanted to discover myself some latent psychic powers, or at least to be able to grow my nails faster. The Control movement set was the best opportunity for me to experience these kinds of supernatural abilities, and Remedy made each of them particularly fun to use. Knowing that the gameplay phases are varied enough during most of this 10-hour campaign for each of these movements to be useful.

Jesse's telekinetic power is arguably the most interesting of the bunch. With a simple wave of the hand, the latter can seize and send flying a crate, a table or a concrete block on its enemies or the destructible parts of the decor (an action accompanied by a particularly satisfactory zoom). Therefore, I have regularly favored this type of attack, which, although it does not provide sensations as palpable as the Leviathan ax of Kratos in God of War, was able to transcribe, thanks to its dynamic approach, the sensation to throw massive objects by the sheer force of the mind.

While not all of the other abilities are as practical, most of them are still fun to use. The ability to float in the air later in the campaign gives you more mobility, and Jesse's shield comes in especially handy against enemies with telekinetic powers, which require you to protect yourself. Control's combat system pushes the player to move constantly, and finding shelter, whether you create it yourself or not, is often essential to your survival. There's nothing insurmountable about the standard difficulty level, but you'll likely die a lot of times if you don't think about balancing the use of your offensive and defensive abilities or get too offensive. Getting up close and using Psionic Waves can sometimes prove to be beneficial when only a few enemies are left, but from my experience, diving into melee regularly means quick death.

Staying a good distance from enemies and finding the right balance between attack and defense brings a nice rhythm to the fight, and also allows you to make good use of the only gun Jesse has: his service pistol. The term "unique" is probably a misnomer, given that this polymorphic weapon has several unlockable modes that take it from a simple pistol to a high-rate revolver, to a high-dispersion shotgun and more. I finally opted for a regular alternation between revolver and sniper type long range rifle, which allowed me to repel my opponents at short and long range.

In Control, however, the variety of enemies turns out to be much weaker than the overall combat possibilities Jesse has. The Hiss-possessed Bureau members you battle typically use one to two of your own attacks and weapon types, and it's fun to see how those are mixed up during the first few hours of play. 10 chapters making up the campaign, the main challenge is no longer to triumph over your opponents but to fight against the checkered performance of Control. When a lot of enemies were on the screen and the shots and explosions multiplied, I encountered huge framerate issues, even on PS4 Pro. If the jerks lasted only a few seconds, this time was often enough to lead to frustrating deaths. That feeling was tempered by Control's particularly forgiving checkpoint system, however, and that never stopped me from continuing to explore the nooks and crannies of the Old House - which is both the main setting of the game. and the office seat - this even after completing the story.

A divided house

Remedy somehow managed to make this whole heap of gray concrete constantly fascinating. The Office is divided into a number of different business lines, and while there is a dominant "corporate" theme, each of them seems different enough that you want to learn more about the activities there. being carried out and the means of freeing the places from the influence of Hiss.

And, thanks to the ability of the Old House to change shape and internal structure at will, these different environments are constantly evolving. Simply put, it's as if the paranormal forces at work manipulate the cement and rebar of the building like Lego bricks. It is always impressive to see how the various sectors evolve according to this nefarious presence and your attempts to stop it.

Much of the charm of the place comes from Control's eclectic cast. From Ahti, the strange janitor, to researcher Emily Pope, each character is original and seems very out of place in the Old House. Each of the building sectors introduces a new protagonist with a unique and engaging personality, with the right profile to work in a secret government agency investigating paranormal phenomena beyond our abilities to comprehend. In other words, pure strain eccentrics.

Remedy's sharp quill also extends to collectibles and descriptions and other texts associated with them. Control's storytelling isn't just linear - if you're picking up items, you'd better take the time to examine them. The lyrics in question are not only well-written and often funny, but their context also sheds new light on the overall plot and Jesse's role in it.

I certainly could have done without some of the more wacky thoughts of Jesse's inner monologue, which often expresses explicitly how she feels, even though the performance of lead actress Courtney Hope turns out to be remarkable. But you will find enough interesting lines in the batch to justify the presence of these constant asides.

Don't miss out on the side quests

The plot of Control sows many clues leading you to different side missions and allowing you to obtain information and revelations that are as good, if not better in some cases, than those distilled during the main campaign (including scenes significant events involving various characters and different plot elements that further contextualize the game's universe). But the main reason for stepping away from your main objective, or wandering the aisles of the Office once it is completed, comes down to a series of boss fights, available shortly after completing the first half of the game. the countryside.

In order to avoid spoilers, I'll just say that these clashes offer a challenge and variety sometimes lacking in the later chapters of the adventure, represent a stunning visual spectacle, and are further evidence of the members' strange daily life. from the office. While I haven't done them all yet, what I've seen clearly shows that Remedy put as much effort into developing the game world as it did Jesse's motivations. Taken as a whole, these battles allow you to appreciate Control's weirdness from a whole new perspective, which is definitely worth a look.

Of course, outside of the main storyline, Jesse also pursues a very personal goal, and seeks to explore every nook and cranny of the Office in order to get his hands on clues that shed light on his past. I'll be careful not to touch on the true meaning of this process, but I really enjoyed the way Remedy links Jesse's personal story to the weirdest corners of the Office for most of his journey.

The conclusion of the main plot, consisting of 10 chapters, unfortunately doesn't turn out to be quite up to the mark, in part due to what feels like a quickly dispatched final chapter, leaving you with some of the more interesting aspects. of Jesse's personal motivations through the collectibles. The final moments of the adventure are also not very exciting compared to the heights reached by the two chapters preceding the conclusion. If these blunders did not ruin the experience offered by Control, the foundations laid by Remedy are so solid that I would have appreciated that these final moments had as much impact as the rest of the story.

Fortunately, there is still a lot to do and discover in the Old House after the conclusion. Control's fascinating character gallery has allowed me to complete a host of side missions that offer more original and fun combat than most of the main campaign, to enjoy interesting dialogue, and a reason to keep exploring. every corner of the office. Add to that a host of objectives based on the targets you take down to improve your equipment and the various forms of the Service Weapon, several skill trees to complete, as well as Office Alerts (which happen to be randomly generated temporary quests allowing you to achieve additional objectives), and you get a game that marks you permanently.