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Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Release Date: Aug. 27, 2020


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Control'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 14, 2018 @ 12:15 a.m. PDT

Control (formerly known as P7) is a third-person action-adventure game combining Remedy’s trademark gunplay with supernatural abilities.

Pre-order Control

Control follows the story of Jessie Fayden, who finds herself drawn to The Oldest House, which is the secret home of the Federal Bureau of Control. The FBC's job is to police the supernatural and mysterious elements of the world. Unfortunately, a particularly evil, supernatural, extradimensional menace called The Hiss chooses her visit as the time to attack. The current director of the FBC is killed, and Jessie is forced to take his place. One magical ritual and a transforming gun later, she's forced to clean out The Oldest House.

On the surface, Control has a lot of similarities to Remedy's recent games like Alan Wake. It's a third-person shooter with a heavy emphasis on mobility and avoiding damage. Jessie only has one gun, but it's a doozy of a gun. It's a bizarre, rotating, transforming gun that can be modified and take on different shapes. In the demo, it could be both a pistol and some kind of highly damaging magnum-alike. The latter had limited ammo, while the former could be used freely.

Jesse and The Hiss appear to share very similar sort of abilities. Like her enemies, Jessie can use supernatural powers in a variety of ways. The most basic power appears to be the telekinetic manipulation of objects in the environment. Jessie can use this to toss pretty much anything in the environment at her enemies. She can also draw up debris to use as a personal shield against enemy fire.  Unfortunately for her, The Hiss can take the form of creepy zombies, and she'll have to be better than they are to succeed.

Not all of her abilities are based on combat, though.  The Oldest House is not a happy place, as it's part Warehouse 23 and part non-Euclidean hellscape, all wrapped in a bureaucratic cover.  You can't take an elevator everywhere you need to go, even on a good day. We're told that there is a Metroidvania influence on the game, and you'll get new powers that allow you to explore previously inaccessible areas. One such example is the Levitate power, which allows you to hover in mid-air so you can cross previously inaccessible gaps. It can also be used in combat to attack enemies from unexpected angles, but the primary use seems to be exploration.

Exploration is going to be important. We're told that in addition to the main quest, there are going to be a lot of side-quests as well. One such example had Jessie find a fellow employee whose job was to watch what seemed like an innocent vending machine. However, the poor man was terrified and said that if it wasn't constantly observed, then Something Bad would happen. Jessie obviously couldn't stop her quest to sit and stare at the machine, so a side-quest would be trying to find a way to free the man from his awful prison.

Remedy has always proven that it can make striking and dynamic visuals, and Control seems to be taking that to its most extreme. Even in our brief demo, we glimpsed a ton of different environments, such as an abandoned office where the unfortunate workers were strung up like hanged corpses floating on invisible wires.  Another had us discovering a strange television that twisted and broke the world around it. We're told that The Oldest House functions on dream logic and magic, and it seems to be true. To advance, you need to create a symbolic link between actions and intent. In the demo, Jessie had to flip a switch three times, the mere act of which fulfilled a ritual ("the rule of threes"), and that suddenly and shockingly altered reality.

All in all, Control looks like Remedy at its best. The striking visuals, intriguing plot, spooky monsters and satisfying-looking gunplay all combine to create a horror-adventure experience that stands on its own — even in the early stages. Assuming it gets the same sense of stylish polish as Remedy's other games, Control should be an incredibly intriguing experience. Control will be coming out in 2019 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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