Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Get ready to dive into a world where supernatural meets sci-fi
Remedy Entertainment’s newest game, Control, is a supernatural, third-person, action-adventure with unique abilities and elements that should keep you hooked throughout the entire experience. All of us fans already know that when Remedy makes a game, they like to go for big action moments and set pieces. Control is no exception- it is a game where nothing is as it seems. We know very little about the game so far, but what we do know is that Control revolves around Jesse, a woman who was newly minted as Director of a secret agency, just as the agency falls victim to a series of otherworldly phenomenons. Furthermore, Jesse must explore the agency’s building, cryptically called the Oldest House, a place that continually shifts around and moves so there’s always something new to see around every corner. With her trusted transforming pistol at her side, Jesse must fight off this supernatural threat one storey at a time.
As we saw in the behind-closed-doors demo, Jesse is exploring one of the rooms of the Oldest House. This place doesn’t actually look supernatural at all, though. It’s in fact just like an office building. Jesse walks up into the centre of the room with a tall wall and a placard that reads “Federal Bureau of Control”. Everything is quite normal, and as sterile and white as a government building would feel. But there’s no one there, so she turns around the corner, and that’s when the weird stuff begins.
Bodies are floating in mid-air in this office space that’s quickly turned dark and bleak. It’s eerie, not just because of the floating bodies, not that those wouldn’t be eerie enough. The lighting in Control looks almost as though it’s in real time. Lights leaks in through the window shades, over the office furnishings, over the bodies above. Moreover, reflections really seem to shine, bouncing lights off of the cold floor. Not every reflection or shine is equal; I can tell that great care has been taken with rendering each item within the game, as well. You won’t be seeing the shininess of a light reflect the same way off of the very reflective floor as you will a wall. Each reflective surface has a soft to a harsh tone, determining what type of light bounces off of it for a much more realistic take.
So, moving forward with the demonstration- there’s a body… it’s not floating, but walking. As Jesse gets closer, she sees that it’s not a body, it’s a man. He’s walking by just a few steps away, not even noticing that Jesse is even there. He’s odd looking, definitely not a normal human, there’s something unusual about his looks- he’s giving off a strange aura. Then in the midst of all the creepiness, he stands still, looks up, and sees Jesse watching him. He pulls out what looks like a shotgun. This is where we get to witness the combat and see what Jesse and the enemies have to offer.
"We see Jesse use her powers to control objects and throw them at enemies; as well as using her transforming sidearm to shoot the enemies to death."
Remedy calls the environments “reactive,” avoiding all together the term “interactive.” They say “interactive” isn’t used because that would mean you can take down whole buildings and really destroy the game. But “reactive” allows the game to let Jesse select certain items from around the battle to use against her enemies. But she isn’t going over to the closest desk and throwing a stapler at her enemy. She uses a Force-like ability, something you’d see in Star Wars, where she grabs pieces of the floor and office debris around her and forms them into a makeshift shield used to block enemy fire. Her shield blocks what looks like all of the shotgun fire from the oncoming crazy-looking man. She also grabs an office chair, that she uses to toss at the enemy to kill him instantly.
The further she goes into this government building, the quicker it changes form. It’s no longer a sterile office space, but fragmented, abstract; walls are no longer two-dimensional, but protrude outward in massive, oddly-shaped black blocks. Very sci-fi looking and not exactly supernatural, though some bodies still float up above. A red light glows from above, off deeper in the room, giving it a bit of a scary look, like something isn’t quite right. Its ambient hue glistens against the blocky walls. So that’s where the enemies come from… the bodies fall from above, instantly ready to attack Jesse. We see Jesse use her powers to control objects and throw them at enemies; as well as using her transforming sidearm to shoot the enemies to death.
There isn’t much we know about this transforming sidearm. It looks like a pistol but a bit larger and longer. At its tip, the gun can move, expand, break off into pieces that can float around and deal devastating blows to Jesse’s enemies. It’s a pretty cool concept, but I’d like to see more of what it’s capable of than just shooting; I mean, it can disassemble and move around like the walls… it has to be capable of other things, right? Jesse also begins to levitate across a bridge deeper in where more enemies begin to bounce around and attack. She can also use the hovering mechanic to her advantage. It’s pretty cool, and though it looks like she can fly infinitely, there will be a limit gauge, as the helpful Remedy team have told me.
"I left the hands-off preview session of Control with plenty of enthusiasm, but I’d like to see a lot more to know if it has my full interest."
We also saw a person locked behind bars along one of the many long halls Jesse travels down. We were told it was a side quest, one of many. But we didn’t get to see it in action this time.
Those odd, protruding walls I mentioned earlier? They’re transforming again; going back into place, turning back to that cold sterile government building-look. It’s all white again, not creepy anymore, just cold. Jesse has completed part of her objective. It’s time to move on to find some other room to tackle.
I left the hands-off preview session of Control with plenty of enthusiasm, but I’d like to see a lot more to know if it has my full interest. It fully looks like a Remedy game, there’s no denying that, from the shooting elements to the weird supernatural abilities. It takes pieces of Quantum Break and Alan Wake, and uses those pieces in an entirely new property. Remedy fans should be excited for this game, but as for me, I still want to see more.