Control May Be Remedy Entertainment's Most Interesting Game Since Alan Wake

Float and destroy.

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Now Playing: Control - Gameplay Trailer

For many of the attendees who saw Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 2018 it was the game that stole the show, but my hype ultimately went to a different demo: Remedy Entertainment's Control. The dazzling combat I was shown, set against the juxtaposition of paranormal oddities and rigid brutalist architecture, had me hooked. And now that I've had the chance to play it and been further exposed to its strange secrets, I'm even more convinced of Control's potential.

Remedy has a way with weird and has repeatedly proven that it knows how to stage a good fight. Control looks like an effort to double-down on these strengths. It puts you in the shoes of a veritable action hero with the power of levitation and telekinetic destruction. Her name is Jesse, and Control starts on her first day on the job as director of the Federal Bureau of Control. The agency is in charge of studying and containing that which defies the laws of science, but after a mysterious force known as the Hiss floods the halls of the bureau, Jesse will have to confront and take down possessed coworkers, demonic entities, and pulsating, corrupted masses of energy.

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One of the most common sights in The Old House (the given name for the building that houses the FBC) are Hiss-infected office workers and other employees floating motionless in mid-air. Red flood lights color-in otherwise sterile environments, evoking a sense of foreboding evil. Odd rituals and dream logic are noted as central themes, and when confronted by their effects on people and places in Control, you get the sense that almost anything can happen under the Hiss' influence.

Surprisingly, Jesse seems to take it all in stride, and with the power to control objects and a shape-shifting pistol in her hand, you have plenty of offensive and defensive options when the Hiss-infected entities turn on her. There's a bit of a learning curve when it comes to juggling telekinetic abilities and your weapon while steering Jesse mid-flight, but once it clicks, Control becomes a playground for destructive experimentation. This feeling was helped somewhat during my preview demo due to the fact that the basic enemy AI was a bit careless--a balance that remains in flux, according to director Mikael Kasurinen. But for the purposes of getting a feel for Control, at least, I appreciated the lenience as a chance to get my bearings.

Rather than flying freely, Jesse leaps and levitates, and then slowly drifts back down to the ground; you're also capable of directing her trajectory on the way down or stunning an enemy with a targeted ground-pound attack. Though the factors therein will change as Jesse's powers increase throughout the game. Even a moment of hovering overhead allows you to get a line of sight on objects and enemies in the distance, both of which can be remotely manipulated. You can take hold of a desk, for example, and fling it into groups of enemies or use it as a shield from incoming fire--you can also pull concrete from the floors and walls in a pinch. The most satisfying application of this move has to be snatching rockets out of mid-air and flinging them back at the shooter.

Jesse isn't the only person capable of these feats, however. Several of the enemies I fought could also hover in the air and hurl nearby objects. These opponents presented a tougher challenge than the more traditional gun-toting bad guys mentioned earlier. One move in particular, Jesse's targeted ground-pound attack, feels very intimidating when used against you.

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New to the demo shown during GDC was the mind control ability, which effectively lets you turn an enemy into an AI-driven ally. There's no word yet if enemies will ever be able to overpower Jesse's mind in the same way, but I don't imagine we've come close to seeing everything they're capable of.

Jesse's suite of skills will grow as she locates objects of power, but to acquire their magic requires you to journey to the astral plane, a stark white ethereal realm with minimalist, angular structures. If you've paid attention to Control's marketing since its E3 reveal, you've probably seen imagery of Jesse floating towards converging black geometry hovering in empty space. More than just special locations designed to unlock new abilities, the astral plane can also be used to influence the state of things in the bureau, either to solve puzzles or to clear a path forward for Jesse.

Control is being designed with a Metroidvania-like structure that requires you to re-examine previously explored locations when new skills are unlocked, and the thought of incorporating an alternate dimension into this concept is very intriguing. Though I only got a small taste of what's to come, I walked out of my demo with more questions than answers, pertaining to both the truth behind the strange happenings inside The Oldest House and to Jesse's relationship to the Hiss. I honestly can't wait to experience Jesse's journey from the beginning and to see how strange and unpredictable it becomes as it unravels.

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Avatar image for pedal2metal214
pedal2metal214

While I've long enjoyed Xbox platform (own all versions), I do think Sony has overall offered a more eclectic game library on the PS platform (own PS2). I'm favorable towards Remedy's offerings, which seem more distinctive in character, & help balance things out a bit. Hopefully, Control can deliver something fun & unique.

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MisterTech

Interested.. been looking at the release calendar this year (confirmed games) and it screams waiting on next gen... think most of my spending will be on the switch.. however this game seems cool

Avatar image for Xevac
Xevac

Anyone remember Psi-Ops on the PS2. It reminds me abit of that, and that was a great game. Lets hope the gameplay is on par in this game. Gameplay before story please. If the gameplay is meh. i do not care to see the story.

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MisterTech

@Xevac: loved that game! Hidden gem for sure

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chorn83

Meh... AAA companies still trying to push feminism to its audience I wish Tomba Raider, Left Behind, The Division 2, ahhhhhhh it is not working give up already write compelling female characters and stop trying to shove political agenda down our mouths Gamers don't care.

Avatar image for darkangel1276
Darkangel1276

@chorn83: im confused, what about this game does it seem like they are trying to push there feminism agenda ? seen some gameplay, and being able to fly and shit looks pretty cool, are you trying to imply, that every single game that has a female main character, is a game trying to push a feminism agenda ?

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MisterTech

@darkangel1276: it's just a cool edgy comment... some people my friend.. some people..

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cyberpunk_2077

Nice, but my hype is still with cyberpunk.

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Cayde

That no horror, that flying girl!

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xantufrog

Sounds pretty great. The metroidvania design philosophy is appealing too, if it's done well. de-linearize the environment

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Avatar image for gns
GNS

Yeah, it looks like Quantum Brake v2. I think I'll pass.

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SpaceMedafighterX

The applications of the Astral Plane sounds like the Spectral Realm that was integral to the Soul Reaver series. Nothing new, but since the concept hasn't been used in a while, it cud refreshing.

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cashx002

Intrigued and very interested. Let's see more!

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Vodoo

This is one of the devs that MS should have bought. I would swap Ninja Theory for Remedy any day.

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leviathanwing

@Vodoo: they did buy remedy, did you forget both alan wake and quantum break? ultimately they went independent for a reason.

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Vodoo

@leviathanwing: The only studio to go independent was Bungie, not Remedy. MS doesn't, nor never has, owned Remedy. They worked exclusively on MS games as a 2nd party developer (making exclusives for a first party, but still independent).

MS paid them to make a few games for them, but they've always been an independent studio.

The same way Insomniac was with Sony, then they made Sunset Overdrive for Xbox.

Here's a link for your ignorance...

https://gamingbolt.com/remedy-explains-why-they-develop-exclusive-titles-for-microsofts-platforms

Avatar image for gamingdevil800
gamingdevil800

@Vodoo: I'm sure they tried it depends if a developer wants to be bought some pride themselves with their independence while others are desperate for the financial security a buy out would bring. Likely there were a good few developers who did not want to be bought out by Microsoft, likewise Insomniac don't want to be bought out by Sony well at least for now.

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gamingdevil800

I hope they go pretty crazy with this concept, something I often thought Quantum Break was lacking was more variation in enemies and well more out of this world stuff taking place within the world?

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Good_Coop89

Since I adore Resident Evil / Metroid style exploration in a well-realised, memorable locations, I'm very interested in this game. I loved Max Payne, enjoyed Alan Wake but wasn't impressed with Quantum Break. This should be much better thanks to the open-ended "figure it out yourself" kind of gameplay, as long as they manage to do it right. Here's hoping.

Avatar image for thelostscribe
Thelostscribe

I'm very interested in this story. To me the game looks like it's a great combination of supernatural of Alan Wake and interesting and intrigue of Quantum Break. Loved both games, so Control really has me interested in it.

Avatar image for jsprunk
JSprunk

That's not saying much, unless you're just a die hard fan of Alan Wake...which really should've had several sequels by now, but Remedy kind of dropped the ball on that. Aside from the music in the game, and the stage battle, Alan Wake wasn't all that exciting. (I have to admit though that I still go on YouTube periodically to listen to "Children of the Elder God" and "The Poet and the Muse".)

Although I never played Quantum Break, I own it and will hopefully get to it before September hits and I go into my Borderlands 3 coma. Seems Quantum Break just fell victim to being a fad-type game, and fell out of grace way too quickly for the possibilities that could've happened with that game.

Avatar image for thelostscribe
Thelostscribe

@jsprunk: Depends on what you consider exciting I suppose. I found the over arching setting to be wonderful and moving through the muddy darkness in levels filled me with hesitation to move forward, always trying to find that one lamp post in the darkness.

The whole setting and design intrigued me. Alan Wake is probably one of the most unique experiences I've had on a game. So if this game is as interesting as Alan Wake, I'm all in, although I already was. I enjoyed Quantum Break as well.

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ecurl143

Anthem, I'd like you to meet Force Unleashed.

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sladakrobot

Looking forward. Liked Quantum Break so this is almost a day one buy for me.

Another bad decision at MS to not support Remedy with their plans and visions...this could have been QB2.

Anyways,now everybody can enjoy Control

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driveinns

Quantum break was awesome, I loved that game. Still gotta play it through with a different path. Great idea and cast and game. Awesome. :)

Avatar image for davillain-
DaVillain-

Remedy still remains to be my favorite developer around and this is coming from a guy who really enjoy both Alan Wake & Quantum Break. Control looks like you'll be using Telekinesis powers like, so this has me intrigued and will buy it on PC despite it's Epic store exclusive which I couldn't careless.

Avatar image for Verenti
Verenti

"Control May Be Remedy Entertainment's Most Interesting Game Since Alan Wake"

What does that even mean? Alan Wake was two games ago. "Quantum Break was a let-down, but I promise this one will be good?"

This is such a bad article title. You might as well tell us that Avengers Endgame is the best Avengers movie since Infinity War or that this article is the best article you wrote since the last one. If you're just going back to the immediate past, then the comparison using since is meaningless.

Remedy makes interesting games. Well observed. However, observing the obvious is trite.

Avatar image for PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@Verenti: That title really rubbed me and I was gonna comment, but now I don't need.

I loved Alan Wake, but they only made that one American Primetime Cop Show game since. Even if I thought QB's gameplay was quite alright based on what I tried (Max Payne and Alan Wake were also quite walking simulators in the core), they really dropped the ball with the style. I hate those kind of TV shows and immediately change away, and then they took that as a basis for a game. Hopefully nothing of that remains in here and it's just this X-Files/Matrix-esque thing.

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DaVillain-

@Verenti: I happened to like Quantum Break thank you! And I also love Alan Wake and Control is my most anticipated game from Remedy.

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Verenti

@davillain-: All I was saying is that saying that it's the "most interesting game since Alan Wake" is to ignore the fact that Alan Wake was only seperated from Control by a single title. It seems to imply that Quantum Break, in the author's opinion, is less interesting than Alan Wake. It wasn't my intent to disparage Quantum Break. I never actually played it (the 70 gig install side is a big ask for a PC port that had, admittedly, not a great reputation.)

If you enjoyed Quantum Break, then good! I'm glad.

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Thelostscribe

@davillain-: I enjoyed Quantum Break a lot as well.

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GNS

@thelostscribe: Good for you. I stopped playing in the middle somewhere. Felt like a mediocre episode of Fringe.

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Thelostscribe

@gns: That sucks, I thought the game was a lot of fun. A little too much reading small text from computers, but overall I enjoyed it.