Control is peak Remedy Entertainment. The honed shooting of Max Payne combined with the mind-bending sci-fi of Quantum Break. Throw in a smattering of OG Resident Evil in terms of a confined ‘is this house sentient?’ setting and you get the gist.
What’s fantastic is how Remedy has stripped back the genre tropes and dug deeper into the player-empowering stuff. For instance, forget about hoovering up ammo and sniffing out your next essential arsenal item.
Control features a single weapon, albeit it’s ‘single’ in the same way that Judge Dredd’s multi-faceted death-bringing lawgiver is just a pistol. It changes forms to offer gameplay options, such as the deep-magazine versatility of a Jack-of-all-ranges pistol to a close-encounters-of-the-buckshot-kind shotgun. While there’s no pesky ammo collection to worry about, this clever weapon works on a cooldown logic, meaning if you spray off your last round, you’re left effectively defenceless while your gun auto-magically rearms.
“Effectively”. Thankfully, you still have a close-range Force push-like ability that handily puts incoming foes on their arses or sends them screaming off a nearby edge. Alternatively, you can snatch up a nearby tossable object to telekinetically lob at nearby foes. This particular trick is nigh essential for taking down enemy shields, it affords crucial breathing space while your gun is mysteriously reloading, and it’s a big part of environmental puzzling.
Plus, there are other supernatural rewards for forging off the beaten track. Trailblazing players should be able to dig up additional abilities like multi-dash or shield. They may sound par for the third-person-shooter course, but they offer new ways to play with your prey. And make no mistake: this prey is equally predator as it is quarry. Regular grunts may feel like they’re there for your amusement. But hard-hitting heavies and painfully explosive stalkers keep you on your toes and on the move.
Couple this compelling and evolving gameplay loop with an intriguing narrative and Control may well go on to have the kind of Finnish finish that leaves players eager for a whole lot more.
STACK’s Duke of Flukes caught up with Control narrative designer Brooke Maggs and game director Mikael Kasurinen at E3 2019:
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