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    Control, Remedy's New Weird

    Who I am
    Marie-Ange Demory
    @marie-angedemory

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    Have you ever left a object on the table and then find it somewhere else? Have you ever thought that your strange neighbor is hiding something in the oven, to which he addresses as if it were a person? Or that yours mirror doesn't reflect things exactly right? But don't worry! It is for this type of problem (and for other far more serious ones) that the Federal Bureau of Control (hence “FBC”), an agency founded with the purpose of remove the veil that hides the strangeness of our world and, at the same time, not to allow the aforementioned oddities to destroy us all.



    Remedy Entertainment, after the excellent Quantum Break, returns to be talked about with a new title, this time cross-platform: Control. Strengthened by their extraordinary ability inart of fiction, the Finnish team has set itself the goal of creating a product that is as refined in the plot as in the gameplay. Will they be able to keep their promises? Having consumed the title for the past four days, we of Gameplay Café we are ready to give you our personal answer!

    When Worldbuilding is a philosophy of life

    For the uninitiated, "worldbuilding" is the narrative process necessary to create a fictional universe, characterized by a series of physical, structural and cultural rules such as to be able to project the user of the product within the story we want to tell. The boys of Remedy they have always been very good in this area, but with Control they are undoubtedly surpassed.

    In the course of the game we will interpret Jesse Faden, a girl who after years of research finally manages to go back to the headquarters of the FBC, but who, despite herself, she will find herself forced to face a mysterious entity known as the Hiss, the hiss. This is all we would like to tell you about the plot of Control, as each additional sentence could ruin one of the strengths of the title: the discovery. Although the narrative plot of Jesse's main adventure does not turn out to be revolutionary, it is precisely the precise dosage of information that keeps the player glued to the pad, which will hardly be able to get bored for all about fifteen hours needed to reach the end credits (in case you decide to leave the secondary missions apart).



    As the development of the storyline progresses through the ten game chapters, drop by drop we find ourselves submerged in a sea of ​​mysteries, supernatural elements, bureaucratic paperwork, testimonies, video and audio files that make the narrative universe of Control a real drug. digital. And we drug addicts in withdrawal.

    In the course of our adventure we lived in the hope of turning the corner and stumbling upon a new document to read, to learn more about the deeds of the Federal Bureau of Control e to add a piece to the gigantic dream puzzle set up by the Finnish software house. Remedy, in fact, managed to create an overflowing title of files to read, but thinking carefully about making them all very short, so as to never trigger the thought "oh well, I'll read it later" in the player's mind. The issues addressed, of course, help to keep the player's attention high, fishing heavily from the undergrowth of the SCP. For those who did not know it, the SCP Foundation (if you don't know it click here immediately) is a fictitious organization that contains an interesting online collective writing project and which assumes, just like in Control, that there is a corporation aimed at overseeing the numerous supernatural events that populate our world. A praise to Remedy not only for not copying any of these files (all strictly open source), but also for being able to insert some elements from your own past titles, going to outline what seems to be more and more a real one shared narrative universe.

    Nature medroidvania of Control also allows him to have a vast number of side missions, with hidden boss fights and areas to go through over and over to uncover all of their secrets. Precisely these secondary missions are the ones that most remain in our hearts, thanks to a series of stories that seem to come directly from an episode of "At the Borders of Reality" or from some genre film. This is also reflected in the presence of a real direction, which, never as in this title, leaves its mark on the player and demonstrates the passion of the developers for authors of the caliber of Lynch, Kubrick and Nolan. In short: having abandoned the Quantum Break cross-media experiments, the Finnish software house has put heart and soul into creating a narratively more classic product, but perfectly structured and balanced.



    Don't blink!

    From a purely playful point of view, Control is presented as an improved and enhanced version of Quantum Break.

    In the first hour of the game, Jesse will come into possession of the Service Weapon, a special Object of Power which will allow her to face the Hiss and which will constitute the only gunshot of the whole adventure. But don't be scared, because not everything is as it seems: the service weapon, in fact, has the extraordinary ability to change shape, transforming itself into a real arsenal that, among "shotguns", "machine guns" and "grenade launchers", will be able to please everyone. To this must be added the ability that our protagonist will conquer during the game, allowing her to collect objects with the telekinesis to throw them at enemies, create shields, glide and own minds of their opponents to make them fight alongside you. The incredible environmental physics and the enormous destructibility of the environments contribute to a tremendous feeling of power in the player, transmitting every single impact and staging battles that are nothing short of spectacular. Each fight, in fact, will turn out to be frenetic, intuitive, devastating and capable of keeping your eyes wide open for its entire duration, allowing you to return to breathe only when opponents are eliminated.

    The level design of the Oldest House is simply fabulous (the base of the FBC), which presents a rhythm marked with the metronome between linear corridors where you can advance to face the enemies with impetuosity and perfectly balanced areas where to play more defensively, using columns and parts of the scenario first as covers and then as bullets to hit our opponents. Trust us when we tell you that it won't be long before you succeed memorize the game environments even if they were the rooms in your home, allowing you to reach any location you want in the shortest possible time. A due applause to a particular game sequence, which we do not spoil so as not to spoil the experience, but which has been able to excite and amaze us as it hasn't happened for too long.



    There are also a number of proven mechanics, which, however show how Remedy has learned from past mistakes and has worked hard to create a title in step with the times and updated from the point of view of gameplay. Here then we find the Checkpoints, or checkpoints through which it will be possible to upgrade your weapon, increase your powers through a simple and convenient skill tree, change your clothes, teleport to the other Control Points with the rapid journey and heal your wounds. Well yes, in Control, health will not reset automatically, but you will be forced to collect shards of energy that will fall from your killed enemies along with a series of useful modifiers to upgrade your weapons and Jesse herself. In fact, there is a loot system which, while never being invasive, manages to give a pinch of additional variety to the whole and helps to create a complete product in all respects.

    As already mentioned in the paragraphs dedicated to the narrative, in Control there are secondary missions that add pieces to the world created by Remedy. Beyond the more classic types, the "Agency alerts" and "Council countermeasures". The former are none other than of the timed missions which, if completed, will provide you with useful materials to upgrade your weapons; the others, on the other hand, are gods assignments that you can select (up to a maximum of three) to eliminate certain categories of enemies in a very specific way, with the aim of earning modifiers for your trusty Service Weapon.

    A staged by videogamingallday.com, with a few frames less

    Control is pure visual poetry. Not only i polygonal character models are convincing from all points of view, but it is above all the environment that has left us completely entranced. Although the whole title is set within the Oldest House, the Finnish team has managed to stage always different environments, strong of a stratospheric architecture, capable of guiding the player's emotions based on the location. Narrow environments, large areas, labyrinthine corridors are never random and even manage to merge with a refined sound design like not seen for a long time now. Every sound, music or dialogue, in fact, is perfectly balanced within the Remedy production, resulting simply superb.

    Unfortunately, however, not everything is perfect.

    On PlayStation 4 Pro, Control manages to hold up very well 90% of the time, but it suffers gods heavy frame drops in situations where the physics simulation engine is squeezed to its full potential. Quite different speech for the standard PlayStation 4 which, on the other hand, struggles to keep the frame rate stable. Surely these are defects that can be corrected with future updates, but it still seemed right to let you know. As previously communicated by Remedy, the title was not dubbed in Italian, but it obviously remains subtitled. Too bad, however, that subtitles do not always do their job, speeding up or slowing down in some cases, skipping a few lines of dialogue and, in the final part, also presenting a couple of translation errors. Nothing tragic, mind you, but a little extra care would surely have pleased non-English speakers.

    Finally, let us close with a renewed applause to the director, capable of enhancing every single element of the production and establishing itself as the most successful element of this new effort by the authors of Max Payne.  Control is the sum of all the good things Remedy has achieved over the years. Strengthened by a frighteningly well-kept narrative sector, especially in the creation of a cohesive and fascinating narrative universe, the Finnish team has returned to embrace a passion for fast-paced, muscular gameplay, drawing heavily from their past to create their own game of the present, in view of future projects. Take Quantum Break, add the care behind Max Payne's gunplay and an atmosphere in the wake of Alan Wake and here you will have in your hands Control, the splendid new work of a team that is increasingly valid and convinced that video games must be produced. playful, but without forgetting the importance of a solid narrative base to support everything. Brava, Remedy: you made us fall in love this time too!

     

    USEFUL INFO

    We played Control on PlayStation 4 Pro, completing it 100% before writing this review, so that we could analyze the Remedy title in every single aspect.

    Duration
    • The main campaign can be completed in about fifteen hours, depending on how many side missions you decide to undertake.
    • By completing all the side missions, Control can reach a total longevity of about thirty hours, doubling the hours of the main story alone.
    Structure
    • Control is a metroidvania title characterized by four macro areas, within which it is also possible to move through fast travel.
    • Just like in Quantum Break, in Control we will find ourselves alternating the use of firearms with our own powers, to try to get the better of our opponents.
    • Despite the main storyline having a small number of boss fights, the secondary quests manage to compensate for this lack.
    • Beyond the more classic missions, there are the Agency Alerts and the Council Countermeasures, events without narrative elements, but useful for strengthening Jesse Faden
    Collectibles and Extras
    • There are almost two hundred collectibles, including archives, case files, correspondence and multimedia files.
    • During the game we will also be able to find the recording room of the musical group Poets of the Fall, inside which it is possible to listen to My Dark Disquiet, a single linked to the latest effort by the Finnish team.
    • The game hints at being set in the same narrative universe as Alan Wake, which bodes well for an upcoming return of our favorite thriller writer!
    • A Season Pass has also been announced which will contain two new DLCs and which, if booked, also gives access to a new secondary mission.
    Game Card
    • Game Name: Control
    • Release date: August 27 2019
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
    • Dubbing language: English
    • Texts language: Italian
    Review by Luca Mazzocco
    Graphics

    Excellent polygonal models, environments never so beautiful to look at, particle effects treated at a maniacal level and a great work on the concepts of creatures and objects. What more could you want? Probably the title will remain at a more stable frame rate (especially on the regular PlayStation 4), but nothing that can't be fixed with a couple of updates.

    88
    SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

    A sound design that does not just act as a background, but that is conveyed to convey emotions from the first to the last minute of play. Each sound is functional to the narration and we are sure that you too will be kidnapped by the chants of the Hiss and by the always excellent and at times even masterful soundtrack. A praise to the Poets of the Fall who, as usual, have returned to collaborate with Remedy for the official Control soundtrack.

    92
    GAMEPLAY

    Quantum Break meets Max Payne, elevating Control as the most comprehensive product Remedy ever developed. The fights are frenetic and satisfying as in few other cases and the game structure, consisting of a skilful mix of narrative quests and others more functional to the development of the character, manages to keep hands on the pad of any type of player.

    90
    Total Rating scale
    90
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