I have a real love-hate relationship with this game. It’s visually stunning and has some of the most intensely satisfying gameplay I’ve ever encountered, however, it’s brutal to say the least. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this overwhelmed by a game before, and not because of the story.
You play as Jesse Faden, a young women with a mysterious paranormal past who’s on a mission to find the whereabouts of her younger brother Dylan. You straight away find yourself in a NYC building known as The Oldest House, the nexus of paranormal activity and protected by a secret government agency called the Federal Bureau of Control. Soon after arriving you realise the building has been occupied by a paranatural force known as The Hiss. Amid the confusion you become the FBC’s new Director and not only must you locate your brother but you’re now set with the task of regaining control and battling these extradimensional forces. The story itself is a real mind bender!
Jesse possesses a range of paranormal abilities including telekinesis and levitation which you harness by binding to certain Objects of Power throughout the game. You’re also armed with a gun which is upgradable by collecting different materials, plus you have the option to construct more service weapons along the way. Apart from upgrading weapons you can also assign personal mods which give you increased stats like health recovery, energy, damage and accuracy. As you explore and fight your way through this stunning open-world environment you will claim area’s known as Control Point’s. These become important save points and areas you can fast travel between, not to mention places where you can upgrade and construct new weapons.
The game constantly challenges you with boss fights, puzzles and side missions, and this is where my biggest gripe comes in. Control is hard, there’s no doubt about it. What makes it even tougher is there’s no difficulty setting. Add in long loading times plus distant respawn locations & you’ll soon understand the true definition of “Frustration”. I can’t even count the number of times I died and had to wait (for what seemed like eternity) for it to load and then run back through to the boss fight. Like I said before, some of these fights were brutal and took me over 10 times to beat. As rage-worthy as it was though I felt a real sense of accomplishment after getting through each chapter.
I did feel there was a lack of focus on the upgrade and construct menus in the beginning leaving me to figure it out on my own. Not that it was hard, it just didn’t give you much guidance. The game did however present new ability training levels in an area known as the Astral Plane allowing you to master your ability before tackling real-world enemies.
The characters throughout the game were intriguing but for some reason I didn’t feel any solid connection to them. This never actually bothered me though. The story was gripping from start to finish and I think it was its sheer uniqueness, wild visuals and perfect gameplay that made it so brilliant. There are level designs such as the Ashtray Maze that will leave you speechless. Control is dark, twisted and provides an epic journey into the paranormal world – it’s also frustrating as all hell. Remedy Entertainment did an amazing job with this game but patience is key. You will be tested!