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Control

Developer: Remedy Entertainment Publisher: 505 Games
27 August 2019
Control - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.55 / 5.0
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1,199 Ratings / 11 Reviews
#1,031 All-time
#38 for 2019
Jesse Faden is looking for her brother Dylan, who has been missing since a supernatural event destroyed their hometown. Her search leads her to a mysterious place known as The Oldest House, which serves as the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Control - a shadowy government organization committed to investigating and containing the many inexplicable threats to humanity, and making sure the general population never finds out they even exist. As Jesse quickly learns, FBC is in the middle of a crisis, as The Oldest House is being invaded by a corrupting force, and she may be the only person capable of stopping it.
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Title
The Oldest House Is Prettier From Without Than From Within
Although very visually impressive, Control is hampered by a foundation that isn't complex enough to fully utilize the media that inspired it (SCP, X-Files). A stunning world will have you looking into the background rather than at the main character and her story.

The first steps into the FBC are very cohesive & gripping. Armed with very little information and your service weapon, the architecture and layout of the Oldest House is, simply put, familiar yet otherworldly. Walk a few more steps however and it becomes much more mundane, like your morning coffee.

After a few hours Control's gameplay does grow rather dull. Even at its peak, when you're done spewing bullets and throwing objects at corrupted enemies from every direction you're left with a rather confusing set of RPG elements that feel needlessly tacked on. I personally stuck with the starter weapon form and slapped on the two weapon mods that fit my style of play the most. The lackluster RPG elements play a large part in how fatty and bloated Control feels. It wants to be a very linear, surreal action-adventure game but it also wants to chase the RPG carrot with resource management, character upgrades, weapon modifications, level scaling & side missions that simply shouldn't be there. They outright hurt the quality of the game more often than not. There are several side missions that give you more reasons to explore the labyrinth as well as giving you more backstory for the side characters, but even they feel unnecessary.

To be blunt, Control's narrative spends far too much time examining the main character, Jesse Faden, and her reason for being in The Oldest House than it does examining the why or how of Control's world. Jesse has a lot to say but not a lot of it matters. Neither does the dialogue for the side characters who just exist with little reason outside of giving you missions. That's the main issue with Control. It's the Jesse Faden game and not a game about the surreal & at times maddening world that it takes place in.

Even the ending misses the mark, with very little to say or do outside of being very ambiguous, leaving room for Control's two expansions and a potential sequel. If a sequel ever hits store shelves, Remedy will hopefully expand on the world of the first game and realize that's what makes this game so good and the lack of a focus on it is what makes it so disappointing.
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MalkavianOwl 2022-06-12T22:13:22Z
2022-06-12T22:13:22Z
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I wanted to like it
Everything smells of.... *inhales deeply*.... s i g n i f i c a n c e

...and it's purposefully opaque and vague in an annoying and boring way. Its lore/tone puts it on the same shelf as LOST and Stranger Things in a lot of ways, which theoretically should make it more enjoyable/nostalgic for me, but... nah.

The main character (even if her voice wasn't a grating one) talks too much, about too little. All of the acting feels separate from the characters/animations in general, more than is normal even. Some of the FMV cutscenes are out-of-place and jarring. Not the 'Dharma Initiative' -style videotapes, I kinda love that stuff. It was one FMV sequence in particular where Jesse's having a mental break or something.

As much as I enjoy the combat (which is enough to more or less completely ignore the needlessly overwhelming and unclear upgrade menus, as they tend to kill momentum and flow), I don't think encounters should respawn every single time you re-enter a room you very recently completed. Especially since,

It's too easy to get lost, and find yourself backtracking by accident rather than for the purpose of exploration/progression.

Game crashed a time or two. Load times take too long, longer than other modern games it seems. Framerate drops often.

The haptics/rumble and sound/music design are pretty much top-notch. One of the things that keeps the game fun. INSIDE seems like another influence throughout the game, in more than just its music perhaps.

My computer (and probably yours too) just isn't new enough to get the absolute most out of this game. Despite its risks deserving some reward, I can't in good conscience let it waste away in the bottom of my Steam library for $20 or $30. I'll probably pick it up again for $5 or $10 bucks someday, when I've got a machine that plays to the game's strengths, and every last kink has been ironed out.
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A really promising game with too much bloat to keep it from reaching greatness.
Running and gunning through the main game is fun for a bit. But every time the game asks me to go off on a side mission the whole experience often grinds to a halt. The combat is too repetitive and limited for all the side-biz and it often left me bored. It does not help that the main character has the most plastic, emotionless, resting-bitch-face ever. I could not care less about her or any other character and the story... no, let's not even go there.

There are also very fundamental issues with the main resource system. Let me explain.
Here's my idea of how game design should be done: every system you put in should work to increase the fun and entertainment of the experience. If a system encourages and rewards exploration and trying out new things; then it increases fun and is a good system.
In Control, the main resource system works in the complete opposite direction.
You loose a percentage of your main resource upon death, which meant that instead of repeating a particularly difficult side quest until I could eventually beat it, I just left it. It is actually better for my progression to skip that content and not die to keep the resources.
That is so incredibly backwards. The game should instead encourage me to try again, to become better, then reward me for the effort.

And it gets worse. You can also spend this resource to essentially re-spec ability points. But because this resource is so precious and volatile, I'm not incentivized to re-spec and try new builds. The game actively punishes me for wanting to try new things because it costs resources.
Do not put a cost on re-spec. You should encourage the player to try new builds.

Lastly, since upgrading weapons costs this resource, you are again best served by just choosing two guns and sticking to them the entire game.
The game should instead encourage you to swap between all weapons often as an actual viable strategy.
You know, like how having a limited ammo supply for each weapon means you'll eventually have to change. You then need to prioritize based on the situation.
In Control, just pick a gun and pew-pew forever.

The in-game solution to the resource problem is to grind out more random battles, which loops me back to the main issue: combat gets repetitive and boring. So the self-sustaining loop does not work for me.


That was a lot of text to basically just say: not all games need RPG-elements. Control would have been a better and more focused experience without all the side-missions, upgrades, resource management and other bloat. Why do the enemies need to have increasing levels? Combat does not become more fun because you have to shoot the same guy three times in the face instead of one.

It could have been a more classic style game where you find new abilities, guns and strategies naturally as you play through the game. It would shorten the overall playtime and maybe even encouraged a second playthrough.
The level design also falters because you mostly see the same thing over and over again, in the same god-damn grey color, over and over again.
So yeah, this could have been some of the best 6-8 gaming hours in recent years but it drags on needlessly.
When the sepia scene started after the "credits" and I was asked to do office chores I just hit ALT+F4 and uninstalled the game. I don't even want to know what happens next. There was 0% will to continue at that point.
Ugh, what a waste of potential.
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Como todo jogo da Remedy, Control tem algumas arestas a aparar, mas mais do que em qualquer outra obra do estúdio, os pontos altos deste compensam os fracos.

Control tem uma ambientação e narrativa fascinantes, que sugam o jogador já na primeira hora por meio de todo o seu mistério e estranheza. E, por incrível que pareça, a equipe de roteiristas e designers consegue dar sentido, causa e consequência a praticamente todos os elementos principais, não é uma história estranha por ser estranha. E a forma como começa a amarrar toda a mitologia do estúdio é nada menos que brilhante.

Control também tem o melhor combate e travessia já criados pela Remedy até esse ponto com muita sobra para o segundo colocado. Não só atirar é satisfatório, como explorar todas as habilidades da Jesse torna a experiência dinâmica e permite até certa expressão do jogador, longe do combate limitante de Alan Wake ou da monotonia de Quantum Break. Também é muito interessante como o jogo esconde por trás do tiro em terceira pessoa uma progressão que lembra um metroidvania.
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gabrielctps 2024-05-25T23:54:18Z
2024-05-25T23:54:18Z
4.5
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A romp through the annals of the SCP wiki, rendered as a brutalist third-person metroidvania. Compared to Alan Wake and its series, Control makes the player feel very powerful-- you wield a handgun with the spirit of Excalibur and toss the bodies of enemies as a mentat railgun on a negligible cooldown. And this really takes away the game's ability to generate any fear, or even anxiety, despite the game's horror style. It has the hallmarks of a game which wishes it were a movie: long cutscenes, lots of mocap, a couple of big, grandiosely-soundtracked setpieces that consist mostly of walking forward. That filmic narrative straitjackets the game, which becomes far more linear than it otherwise could be. Each floor is bookended by story dumps and navigation depends mostly on quest progression. In a few glaring moments, making it to certain areas 'early' conspicuously dead-ends the player until the key item is handed over in another stage of the main quest. This is lethal to the way the player engages with the built space within the game; rather than exploring the Oldest House as a mysterious, living dungeon, players largely beeline for quest objectives, listening in as Remedy tells them all the answers.

Now, a linear and filmic storyline has its theoretical advantages, especially with the type of budget that Remedy spent on its VO cast. But its main character is given the type of generic motivation that you expect from a silent-protagonist CRPG: searching for a lost sibling. In fact, the game seems anxious to prevent the player from questioning the moral standing of its main character, going well out of its way to explain that the poor souls infected by the Hiss mind-virus are beyond saving, and there is nothing for it than to execute them with the satisfying thud of a flying piece of furniture. She is thrust by fate into a position of power, which she neither embraces nor declines, the Chairman position being mostly a bit of tubing that allows the game to funnel Plot into the player's ears. It is not hard to imagine a different version of Faden having the moral complexity to interrogate the themes of authority and paternity beneath the surface of Control-- the titular Alan Wake is treated as far more fallible, and thereby becomes far more human. And having a psychological tabula rasa as a protagonist would be no flaw if it allowed the story to be presented in a more minimal and flexible manner. There is a specific dissonance in the combination of the two, where the game seems to hamstring itself to fit in cutscenes and setpieces that might create some sort of emotional bond with Faden, and then fails to render her with enough depth for it to be worthwhile.

The real 'main character' of Control, though, is the Bureau from which the game gets its title. Taking more or less its entire shape from the collaborative fiction project, the SCP Foundation, the game is centered around a mysterious government bureau that contains and covers up paranormal entities. This universe is something like an American version of the wizard underground of Harry Potter: Rowling depicts British cultural institutions mirrored as magical counterparts, such as magic boarding school or magical parliament; the SCP Foundation is a magical three-letter agency using magic dark money to fund magical ghost prisons. Control seems to understand the Americanness of all of it, and depicts the Oldest House clad in cold-war brutalism, with stylish mid-century furniture and uncountable file cabinets (the file cabinet being perhaps the pure cultural icon of bureaucracy). There is a paternalistic quality to the Bureau-- the country must be protected from the unknowable evils of the paranormal, and the country must not understand the Bureau's responsibility or its sacrifices. Equally paternal is its relationship with its bumbling, faceless employees, mostly dead, and explained to the player mainly with posters and handouts that describe their haplessness. Even prior to the cataclysm which set about the events of the game, Bureau pencil-pushers seemed to die and die and die in tortuous fashion, and every time, there was a note or a poster by management dispensing the wisdom that would have saved their lives. The Bureau is correct about all of this to an unnerving degree. Regular people are mostly depicted as a helpless infant, which should make fewer decisions and cede responsibility to their betters. The mistakes and immoralities of the Bureau's managerial class are never really depicted-- in fact, management itself is never explained, or even depicted, save for the story-relevant named characters which have leadership roles as nothing more than a way to denote their specialness. Managers and management speak as if channeling the paternal spirit of the Bureau itself. It paints such a grim view of regular Bureau employees that it seems deliberately dehumanizing, especially since the managerial class in a lot of SCP Foundation webfiction is depicted both as fallible and cruel, appropriate for a secret police which regularly sends its members into incomprehensible horror-movie meatgrinders. And this paternalism is never interrogated within the story of Control, either. The ultimate good or evil of the Bureau sits there for the entire game as an unaddressed question, an extradimensional elephant in an amorphous concrete room. If anything, the final events of the story reiterate the fascist necessity of all this. The inability of Jesse Faden to ever ask serious questions about the nature of her own authority further undermines the stakes; she spends the entire game listening uncritically to a benevolent voice in her head, which spends the entire game being correct and remaining benevolent. And if you ever wanted to ask if the game suggests a sort of relativism between the primordial forces of harmony and dissonance at the heart of the game's metaphysics, don't bother-- one is ontologically good and the other is ontologically evil. You can tell, because the latter acts really mean to you in an extended point-and-click cinematic setpiece late in the game.

Ironic, then, that the game's main flaws lie in dissonance-- dissonance between the game and its narrative, dissonance between the emotions the game engenders and those it wishes to evoke, dissonance between its style and its substance. Perhaps if Respawn were headed by an omnipresent alien gestalt, it would have the singular vision necessary to make all of its elements sum together.
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BindTortureIll 2020-01-07T10:48:01Z
2020-01-07T10:48:01Z
5.3
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I've been thinking about playing all of the games that Remedy has released ever since Alan Wake 2 released. I decided to play this one first, it's pretty short, relatively new game that looked like an easy platinum.

My enjoyment of the gameplay fluctuated a lot. I'd get into the groove of it for a while and then it becomes a chore. I never found myself using the other weapons outside of the pistol and shotgun (unless i need it for a board countermeasure which is a whole other can of worms), they're either too slow or barely do any damage which is fixed by adding weapon mods to it but the pistol and shotgun are strong enough that I really don't need to mess around with it. Another thing about the mod system is that you have a limited amount of space for them and since you'll be getting a ton of them it will fill up quite quickly, which is incentivizing you to scrap them for source, but due to me never feeling like I need to use the mod system that much by the late game my inventory was filled with a lot of low level mods.

Much like the weapons, I rarely found myself using the other combat abilities outside of the launch ability, and if i did it would've been on accident. I never used the compel ability cause it was way too slow which I could've made faster with the skill tree but like the weapons why would I if I can just invest all my points on the far more faster and powerful launch.

After a while the gameplay became pretty easy, I wasn't really challenged throughout the main story. It was only until I got into the optional bosses that I found the game to be somewhat of a challenge, for better or for worse. Anchor's (does anyone care that I spoiler the bosses names? I'm pretty sure playstation hides the trophies for them) fight was pretty confusing, it was never that obvious what I actually had to do and I pretty much beat it due to luck. Both of Former's fights were pretty frustrating, mainly due to it's slam attack which is pretty hard to get used to. esseJ's fight was actually pretty good, and was one of the only times that I felt like the game actually tested my skills. Mold-1's fight was pretty easy, I'm pretty sure I did it in one try, though I died right as I beat him which the game still counted as a win thankfully. Mr. Tomassi's second fight was incredibly frustrating to me, I couldn't rely on the launch ability due to him dodging the objects most of the time. There's barely any chances to heal, so he spawns in some enemys halfway, one of them being the really annoying enemy that makes you a one hit kill and then disappears and alongside with the rare health pickups made me the angriest I've been towards a video game in a very long time.

(note to self: talk about the side quest stuff and the Graphics (tm))
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krur Control 2024-06-14T17:03:46Z
2024-06-14T17:03:46Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
paillou Control 2024-06-14T16:28:54Z
2024-06-14T16:28:54Z
4.0
2
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
americanflotsam Control 2024-06-05T14:10:16Z
2024-06-05T14:10:16Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TollGustav Control 2024-06-05T08:13:31Z
2024-06-05T08:13:31Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Goldmoon_Dropoffs Control 2024-06-03T02:51:27Z
2024-06-03T02:51:27Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ggng Control 2024-06-01T20:27:50Z
2024-06-01T20:27:50Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Rippeul Control 2024-05-31T13:24:29Z
2024-05-31T13:24:29Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
GabrielinHELL Control 2024-05-30T23:31:37Z
2024-05-30T23:31:37Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Gelemar Control 2024-05-29T23:03:22Z
2024-05-29T23:03:22Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
blobbb Control 2024-05-29T15:04:02Z
2024-05-29T15:04:02Z
A-
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
BurgurBurgur Control 2024-05-28T04:09:11Z
Windows
2024-05-28T04:09:11Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Backlog
gabrielctps Control 2024-05-25T23:54:18Z
2024-05-25T23:54:18Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
Single-player
Media
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Comments

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  • Previous comments (91) Loading...
  • Innerexperience 2023-12-18 08:55:11.116552+00
    Worst remedy game by far. Felt like torture playing through it.
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  • Randomico 2023-12-30 01:06:09.052107+00
    unreal atmosphere
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  • packtsardines 2024-03-10 06:46:01.99225+00
    playing this after playing alan wake is like a breath of fresh air, wow this is good so far
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  • packtsardines 2024-03-22 00:39:54.699258+00
    okay so alan wake had gameplay i wasnt crazy about with a story i was pretty interested in. control has fantastic gameplay with a story im not crazy about. can alan wake 2 do both???
    reply
    • Actopus 2024-04-08 19:36:55.909215+00
      Playing this right after Alan wake 2 feels like a fresh air as well
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  • blobbb 2024-04-27 07:03:13.505009+00
    My brain was so rotted when I played this a couple years ago every time someone in game said "Jessie" all I could think was "We need to cook!"
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  • Sparlis 2024-05-03 02:14:13.168243+00
    The atmosphere this game evokes is unparalleled. Absolutely fantastic game.
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  • Agus_arg 2024-05-04 14:07:48.752764+00
    one of my favourite games ever honestly. It's not perfect but the gameplay and worldbuilding are incredible
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  • Shepard 2024-06-10 13:34:09.195574+00
    This is basically the Video Game version of a Psychological Thriller
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