Control Review - Are You Not Interested In This Game? You are making a big mistake

Author: Adam Zechenter
Date: 2019-08-26 15:00:00
The review was based on the PS4 version. Also valid for the XONE version

If you're asking what Control is, I'm not surprised at all. I had a vague idea about this item for a long time - if not for Michał Mańka, who was delighted with it after testing it at E3, I would probably still be moderately interested in it. And that would be a mistake. Because it's not just some new action game from the creators of Max Payne , a typical holiday clog, but something much more interesting.

Control is:

Federal Bureau of Madness

Control wastes no time on unnecessary introductions and starts with a microscale earthquake, i.e. a shot. Moments later, when we pick up a weapon (not just a gun, but a shape-shifting servo-weapon - more about it in the box), we will be in charge of the Federal Bureau of Control and all its employees will refer to us as director. Yes, the girl from the street becomes the head of a secret American institution just like that - and this is just the beginning of the wonders that we will experience during this several-hour adventure. I don't want to reveal too much, because discovering the next secrets of Control is just very pleasant. So be aware that we find ourselves in the New York headquarters of FBK, also known as the Oldest Seat, in a difficult moment when this institution was attacked and paralyzed by a powerful and mysterious force - Syk. Our task is to regain control over FBK, as well as find out the reasons for all this madness.

If I had to mention one thing that made the biggest impression on me, it would be the atmosphere. A clichéd word, a fact, but imagine the following scene. You enter a spacious office room. Hospital white, dazzling lamps, solid desks and of course people. They levitate high above the ground in absolute stillness. In the background, we hear their soft mumbling like white noise all the time - some words, sometimes fragments of sentences; sometimes quieter, sometimes louder. Suddenly, pillars of bright red light appear, and with them enemies - taken over by the mysterious and sinister Hiss people. Or rather caricatured versions of them, sometimes warped, sometimes flying, but always angry and hostile. It's impressive. Walking through empty rooms with levitating office workers and strange gibberish in the background, we think that it must be a really bad dream.

Just to be clear - Control is not scary. Sure, the climate turns out to be very disturbing, so once or twice I jumped in the chair, but the horror of these items is far away. She plays on other notes - this atmosphere reminds me of Rosemary's Baby , which is a movie where everything seems fine most of the time, but our brain screams that something is VERY wrong here.

It is difficult to separate from the climate the second greatest advantage of this title - its strange universe. This is one of those stories in which our world turns out to be something completely different than everyone thought. It reminded me of the X-Files series crossed with Twin Peaks . While the story itself is quite OK, but it doesn't bring you to your knees, learning about the secrets of the Federal Bureau of Control is a lot of fun. For me, this led to a harmless obsession - for the first time in a game, I read almost all the notes or documents that Control shares with us very generously (greetings, Draugu *). Contrary to appearances, the game world turns out to be much richer than it may seem at the beginning, and even after the end it hides many secrets. This is the perfect foundation for creating Control 2 - I hope Remedy will do it someday. But let's go back to the beginning.

Physics for 5+

Meet Jesse Faden. Jesse is the director of the Federal Bureau of Control, wears a leather hammer, and can fly. Yes, in Control we acquire a few skills that the Avengers team would not be ashamed of. Throwing objects torn out of the environment (I recommend fire extinguishers - they explode beautifully), levitation or a quick dodge are the powers that make Remedy's game perhaps the best superhero production of 2019 . The fact is, the competition was not the strongest and was limited to the weak Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 , but does that change anything? Jesse doesn't wear latex clothes, but every now and then she gains more and more powerful skills that open up new options for her. Quite literally, because thanks to them, we get to places that were initially inaccessible to us - in a typical metroidvani way.

The fun of using these powers varies - quick dodge is such an obvious classic that it doesn't need to be added anything else, levitation is a bit meh and there is no take-off to flying in Anthem , but controlling objects makes up for all the shortcomings. The realistic representation of physics in this game is an absolute masterpiece! First of all, you can feel its full naturalness - when we lift the table, we overturn the chair next to it and everything that was on it will fall off the top. When we tear the fire extinguisher out of the wall, and there is an enemy on its way to us, he will get hit with it in flight (first, pull the object towards you, and then you can shoot it at any target).

Heavier objects detach from the ground noticeably free, so feel that they weigh more and can hit multiple enemies at once - their bodies respond extremely realistically to the impact, a rare sight in games. Thanks to all of this, the feeling of being hit by a hick-headed man with a solid desk or a boulder is just great. I spammed this attack the most for a reason - it just gave me a lot of fun.

Visit this room again, Jesse

Control is not the sandbox that is so fashionable today. However, it is also not an Uncharted- style corridor, in which the designers decided what and in what order we will see. In one sentence, I would describe it as a combination of Resident Evil 2 with metroidvania. Quite soon after the game starts, the map of the Federal Control Bureau, divided into several floors, becomes available. Nothing stands in the way of traveling freely around them and even completing side quests, temporarily letting go of the main plot. So we run freely around different sectors, fight opponents and look for interesting places. And there are quite a lot of these.

If you like games where exploration is fun, you will also like visiting the mysterious FBK headquarters. From time to time, we unlock new sections or rooms, and long after the main plot and most of the additional tasks were completed, I was discovering places or interesting side missions that I simply missed early on . In the rooms, I usually only found a container with materials for simple crafting or new documents to read, and often the creators even forgot about such a simple way to reward inquisitive players. I also came across a couple of hidden rooms, either by smashing through the walls or by getting there thanks to one of the last powers that Director Jesse has gained. There are still places in the game that I don't know how to get - and you can almost certainly do that.

Hardkor oldskul

Control can be a difficult game. Although the story campaign tells you what to do most of the time - at most you need to reach for a guide in a few places, because some puzzles are really complicated, or to struggle with a stronger opponent - but side missions are a completely different pair of wellies. The creators clearly created them for the biggest fans of the game. Most of the additional quests are unlocked after the end of the story and - it must be emphasized - they do not differ in quality from the campaign. These are not the classic stuff that game developers like to throw into their productions.

Where's my FPS?

“I feel really sorry that they didn't get to this optimization. Yes, it would be one of the games of the year, ”Black Wolf wrote in the chat when we talked about Control . Unfortunately, this is one of those elements that the developers did not have sufficient control. The perfect representation of physics, which I wrote about earlier, has its dark side - in rooms with many small objects, fights can cruelly "frame". Cards flying in the air or various small items from desks simply cut off the basic version of the PS4. At some points, the game got so out of breath that the frame rate dropped outrageously (hard to judge by eye, but down to around 10 FPS). Fortunately, the opponents do not have an advantage over us at such moments, because they also have time slowing down. So these troubles were irritating, but not disqualifying - I never died then.

It is ironic that such a lack of control in the case of Control also applies to several other cases. Regular drops in FPS can be seen not only during major clashes, but also each time you load the game or use the fast traveler. A strange lag also has a map and equipment. Can you live with it? Yes, although it pisses you off. It's just another sign that this generation of consoles should be over. The brightness issue is also strange - in some places it is really dark and the developers forgot about the flashlight. I'm sure players will be demanding to add it in the update. We can brighten the screen a lot, but it helps to a small extent, and besides, it distorts the colors and contrasts. As a result, I played in such conditions for a long time, the effects of which you can see on some x-rayed screens. I haven't had such a problem in any game for a long time.