First Thoughts: Control
You know what would be just dandy? Strolling into a high-level corporation, heading straight to the CEO’s office and being declared the big boss by an otherworldly object on the spot. Who needed a CV anyway? Sounds sublime, until you realise you know nothing about the company. Its headquarters is currently being attacked by hostile supernatural forces and the only thing that can stop them is you, and that object that got you the job. Gee, thanks.
That’s pretty much the life of Jesse Faden in developer Remedy Entertainment’s bonkers third-person action game Control. Funnily, it doesn’t look like players or Jesse alike will have any control over what’s to come, and that’s fine by us.
This (stingy) object we’re on about is known as the Service Weapon, an ‘Object of Power’ which determines who leads the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC). Poor old Jesse didn’t realise it was a secret government agency that literally contains and controls abnormal phenomena when she walked in, especially at a time when the agency wasn’t doing their job very well.
The building, known as The Oldest House, has been taken over by The Hiss, and how will Jesse (i.e. you) take them down? The Service Weapon of course, a shapeshifting pistol that has five different forms. In other words, five different ways to shoot – from a rapid-fire gattling-type gun to a high-powered rifle. It also gives her the ability to levitate, and pick up Hiss-infested humans and fling them at other foes. It makes players a powerhouse to be reckoned with, but you certainly won’t feel like it when you come to face those hard-as-nails otherworldly creatures and traverse the multi-dimensional maze that is The Oldest House.
Oh, did we not mention the interiors of the building defy the laws of reality? Control isn’t as linear as Remedy’s last few games, as it’s created a Metroidvania-type space so players can not only explore the weird and wonderful mix between grand, man-made structures and cosmic settings, but to take on side missions to upgrade their abilities. They’re by no means compulsory, but let’s be honest, who doesn’t take on missions not part of the story? The abilities to gain are worth the effort, especially if Jesse wants the upperhand in even more difficult battles. Some might say you have no control over them.
That said, Jesse probably did have control over entering the headquarters of terror in the first place, but we wouldn’t get a reality-defying, marvellously action-driven experience then, would we?
Available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. August 27.