My Early Thoughts On… Control

I’m a few years late to this party, but I was waiting for a chance to play Remedy’s 2019 action game, Control. As soon as it was a free game with PlayStation Plus, I had no more excuses and I dove right in. Without further ado, here are my early thoughts on… Control.

  • I don’t much care for Jesse Faden. I realise fully that I’m early in the game, but she is hinting at people or events from her past that I don’t know about, and this doesn’t come across as foreshadowing. Instead, I feel like I’m out of the loop here, and it’s hindering my attachment to Jesse as a character. Her voice work (by Courtney Hope) is fantastic, however, and it’s almost a shame she is speaking such nonsense. I give particular praise to her inner monologues, which when played through my fancy-pants headset, made it sound as if she was literally in my head. Visually, she reminds me of Lauren Cohan (aka Maggie from The Walking Dead) if someone were trying to draw Cohan from memory and had done so quite poorly.
  • On base PlayStation 4, it plays horribly. A near three second lag between exiting the pause menu/collectible screen can mean life or death in a combat scenario, and it has meant exactly that at least a few times. I am reminded of playing Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor on an Xbox 360 Slim back in the day, and how this is just not a good fit for the scope they were aiming at, on the hardware they have.
  • The combat itself feels weighty and responsive. I’m only as far as the first boss (or first named boss, at least) and have received three or so abilities, but the explosions from your melee attack, and the various forms Jesse’s primary weapon can take make for a varied approach to each situation and enemy type. Thus far, I’m sticking with the weapon in Shatter form (ie. a shotgun) for close range enemies, and yeeting things across the room at them for ranged attacks.
  • I love non-Euclidean geometry, especially the stuff that changes when you’re not looking at it. That momentary questioning of your own memory makes for an incredibly engrossing time exploring. Combat encounters taking place almost exclusively in open rooms with various chest high walls is a bit of a bummer, moreso by the fact Jesse doesn’t stick to cover.
  • This is basically a SCP Foundation game. For those not in the know, the SCP Foundation is a open source online wiki where anybody can add in objects, creatures or locations and give them a sinister, supernatural or mystical backstory. I was a very big followed back in the day, when it was still in its infancy, and many of the “AWE”s described in Control feel like they could have been taken verbatim from the site.

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