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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, 2019

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Control'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on July 15, 2019 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Control is a third-person action-adventure game combining Remedy's trademark gunplay with supernatural abilities.

Pre-order Control

Remedy has done a pretty good job throughout its time developing games in taking a normal idea and subverting it just enough to make something fresh. Based on my playthrough of a demo area of the game at E3 2019, Control seems to keep this tradition alive. It's a damn weird game that does well to distance itself from being just another shooter, and I'm real curious to see how the full title builds upon this.

You play as Jesse Faden, the newly minted Director of the Federal Bureau of Control. The agency's purpose is to investigate strange phenomena and the paranormal, which becomes more pressing when the agency's headquarters are invaded by a paranormal force called the Hiss. In the gameplay demo that I played, Jesse is clearly coming to terms with both her new status and with the scope of the invasion.

Jesse is armed with her service weapon, itself a seemingly paranormal firearm of its own right. Seemingly composed more of floating geometric shapes than of traditional moving parts, the weapon can transform between different forms. In one mode, it behaves like a handgun, flinging accurate shots at decent range. In another form, the weapon converts into what is basically a shotgun and is capable of devastating force at close range. Jesse also uses the weapon as a keycard of sorts, inserting it into receptacles to trigger their purpose.

The weapon has no ammo but has a heat bar, so rapidly firing it will potentially overheat it and make it unusable for a short time. Thankfully, Jesse also had telekinetic powers in the chunk of the game that I played. Popped off a couple of enemies, but there's a third drawing a bead on you and your weapon is overheated? Chuck a filing cabinet at his head. Effective combat in the game means you can't rely on just your weapon or on telekinesis; Jesse is at her best when she is weaving the two together.

It's worth noting that the weirdness level of the game never lets up and frequently gets truly bizarre. The Hiss is already otherworldly enough when it manifests itself as tactical soldiers shooting at you with firearms after basically materializing out of thin air. It's another thing to walk into a room and see a bunch of them just floating there, heads down but their very presence still menacing. Cleansing their control points from which they spawn is even stranger still, with chunks of the environment pulling away to reveal new areas to proceed.

In the gameplay that I experienced, Jesse is barely holding the place together, running around to fix some coolant systems for the building's power plant while fending off the Hiss. The building still has plenty of friendly faces in it, such as other members of the agency doing their best to stop the invasion. However, they are counting on you to delve deeper into the Hiss-controlled areas of the building to get things done.

After playing about a half-hour of Control, I remain very curious about to what the game will end up being like. The chunk that I played answered a lot of questions that I had, but it seemed like a carefully curated section of the game to leave a lot more teased but unexplained. I've seen videos of the game where Jesse is straight-up flying around. Certainly, Control has a lot more up its Cthulhu-esque sleeves than what I saw at E3.

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