Control Xbox One X Review

Control carries the tone and atmosphere fans of Remedy Entertainment titles love and will make newcomers into a fan of the developer as well.

By Grayshadow, Posted 26 Aug 2019

In the world of Control, the supernatural is very real and the government knows about it. In this Metroidvania style adventure, you must prevent a global disaster after having being placed in a precarious situation. Taking on the role of Director of the Federal Bureau of Control protagonist Jesse Faden must slowly claw her way through hostile forces, gain new powers, and attempt to stop the supernatural force called the Hiss. Despite some issues, such as audio errors and bullet sponge enemies, Control constantly entices the player with new discoveries. It carries the same tones found in other Remedy Entertainment games while establishing its own identity as a great new IP.

Control,NoobFeed,Remedy Entertainment,

Control stars Jesse Faden, a seemingly normal person searching for her brother who was taken by the Federal Bureau of Control. An organization charged with studying and containing the supernatural. You learn early on that her hometown of Ordinary was the site of a Bureau investigation that ended in her parent’s death and the Bureau taking her brother. Somehow Jesse gains supernatural powers after the events and has spent years searching for her brother. Eventually, she infiltrates the HQ of the Bureau called The Oldest House during a lockdown. Things get crazier when Jesse is given the role of Director after finding the former Director, Zachariah Trench, dead. Then things get worse when you learn that the entire building not only houses dangerous supernatural items called Objects of Power, capable of massive destruction, but the building has been overtaken by a dangerous life form called the Hiss.

The Hiss serves as the primary antagonists in Control. Taking control of the people inside the building, some serve as soldiers who kill any humans on sights and others chant an unnerving hymn that infects anyone who hears it. Those with a special device can avoid infection, with the exception of Jesse who doesn't need one. Now it's up to the remaining survivors to contain the Hiss, find out where they came from, and for the protagonist Jesse to locate her brother.

Remedy Entertainment has done a great job in the story’s narrative. With the information regarding the overall plot and world provided at a constant rate that keeps things exciting. Why  Remedy has done a good job developing Jesse into an interesting protagonist, the supporting case falls short. Emily Pope, who serves as Jesse information hotbed for everything about the Oldest House, rarely goes beyond being an information kiosk. In fact, she sits in a chair for most of the adventure. There’s rarely any conflict from the humans within the Bureau, I would’ve expected someone would’ve gone homicidal or lost hope during this takeover. But everyone seems focused on their objective. With only a few moments where someone acts frazzled.

The voice-acting is well done for each of the characters. Courtney Hope does an exceptional job playing Jesse, with the actor actively conveying Jesse’s annoyance, glee, and hope in each situation. Despite the supporting cast falling short in terms of personality, all of them were well-performed. 

The collectables in Control are extremely high but very rewarding to collect. Some offer detailed information about the people who work at the Bureau and others are a bit more mundane. There’s a lot of them and while not all of them are interesting, they gave great insight into the world. Just be prepared for a lot of redacted documents.

Combat in Control operates like a third-person shooter. Jesse is equipped with a weapon called the Service Weapon. A unique weapon that can be altered into a pistol, high-powered rifle, grenade launcher, and shotgun. Jesse can only equip 2 of the Service Weapon’s firing mode at a time The weapon doesn’t have any ammo but instead has 1 recharging meter. In addition, Jesse cannot take cover in the traditional sense, like in Gears of War or Mass Effect, but can crouch to get behind lower forms of cover. It takes some getting used to but combat is meant to keep players mobile. Since Jesse cannot regenerate health and must pick up dropped health from enemies you’re expected to keep moving.

Jesse and the Service weapon can be equipped with various mods that boost certain attributes. Mods come in a lot of variety and you can equip them on the fly regardless if she’s in combat. Jesse can further power herself up by gaining new abilities and increasing their power by earning ability points. These special abilities allow Jesse to throw objects, levitate and create shields. All are linked to a one energy meter so you cannot spam it. During the harder challenges, you have to constantly juggle between using the Service Weapon and Energy abilities. Since energy attacks do more damage against shields and Service Weapon projectiles are great for health-based damage. Jesse can become a glass cannon with the right build but her defenses are always kept low, regardless of mods.

Control is teeming with Hiss to kill. Most come in your standard cannon fodder, suicidal bombs, upgraded foot soldiers, and heavy brutes. Some enemies use telekinesis to fly, throw objects, and create barriers. The enemy variety isn’t unique but it’s healthy and constantly kept me on my toes. Although, sometimes you can trick the AI by keeping it at a certain distance. In addition, some enemies are total bullet sponges and can take an absurd amount of punishment. The boss fights, while exception in style, can become frustrating due to the ample use of 1-fall deaths and infinite respawning enemies.

Control is constantly feeding you new objectives to take part in. Even after completing the 7-9 hour campaign you’re given more objectives to complete. Unfortunately, there’s no New Game Plus and starting a new game means the old save is erased. I learned this the hard way when testing this, losing all my progression when starting a new game.

The main story does unlock the more critical abilities and areas but you’re given enough room to explore. Some areas house more bosses, dangerous Hiss that go beyond the core adventure’s power, and missions to earn special material for more powerful mods. There are some story elements that are only answered through optional tasks. However, as you explore The Oldest House you’ll quickly notice that the map isn’t ideal. The most common glitch I encountered is when looking at the map only the name of the locations would show. When the actual map appeared navigating it was still problematic. Your primary objective is always highlighted when selected and you’re given ample fast travel points, which is great, and the areas are separated into sections that can be easily accessed by elevators.

Control does do the Metroidvania genre justice, both in its strengths and weaknesses. You’ll have to backtrack through certain areas to collect and accomplish everything. Fortunately, this is only for side content, the main story doesn’t require any backtracking. Instead, it flows in a linear path.

Graphically, Control looks great. Despite being limited to exploring 1-building Remedy has included an array of locations that complement the supernatural themes. Twisted areas and lots of reality-bending environments are littered throughout Control. The color palette does get a bit old but given you're in an office space for the entire game expecting a field of wildflowers would be a bit much. 

Control did have its share of technical issues. The odd animation error and drops in the frame rate were common. During specific end-game scenes, the sound would cut off completely during my 2nd playthrough. In one instance, one of the final battles were cut in half due to a glitch. Allowing me to bypass a certain part entirely after I was forced to restart the game since Jesse refused to move but enemies could still attack.

Control,NoobFeed,Remedy Entertainment,

The sound design for Control, especially the soundtrack, is noteworthy. Poets of the Fall return for a few musical scores that help amplify a specific situation and the original soundtrack complements the overall atmosphere and tone of Jesse’s adventure.

Control constantly pushes you forward by enticing the player with great bosses to fight and learn the hidden secrets of the Bureau. Each chapter peeling back a layer that reveals secrets that you can’t help but want to know more about. All while Jesse attempts to make sense of why her brother was taken and things she may not know about herself. The bullet sponge enemies and occasional cheap death can become frustrating but overcoming these challenges and obtaining your reward outweighs these frustrations. Gaining new powers and mods to deal death against the Hiss. Control is a dark and unnerving adventure through the supernatural that will encourage many players traveling throughout the Oldest House in search of all its secrets.


 

Adam Siddiqui,
Senior Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Control

90/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): 505 Games
Developer(s): Remedy Entertainment
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Supernatural Shooter
Release Date: 2019-08-27

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