Control: Perfect Mystery and Madness
His position as one of the developers with a single player game that is able to present a strong story, especially with the mystery elements in it, indeed makes the action of Remedy Entertainment so anticipated. Some may know him better than the Max Payne series, but younger people may have fallen in love with the enchanting Alan Wake era. Their latest project – Quantum Break for Microsoft’s platform is indeed counted strong presence in the gaming industry. But armed with the same engine – Northlight, Remedy finally released their latest game – Control.
So, what exactly is offered by Control? Why do we call this the legit layer of mystery? This review will discuss it deeper for you!
Without a lot of prologue that is presented to give a little picture about the universe of Control itself, you are immediately confronted by the figure of the main character – Jesse Faden who managed to find one of the most mysterious organizations in the United States government – Bureau of Control. Faden who did not hesitate to go straight into the office that looked “ordinary” was immediately confronted with a fate that he had never predicted before.
With the motivation to look for his younger brother – Dylan, whom he believed was detained by the Bureau of Control for a very long time, Faden was faced with a chaotic office situation. Something supernatural is happening here, with so many employees’ bodies floating stiffly in the air. Assisted by the janitor named Ahti who was absorbed in carrying out his duties, Faden managed to find the Bureau Director’s room which should not be any more perfect to explain the position and condition of the younger brother. But what did he find? This director has lost his life.
But as can be predicted, this is only the beginning. Slowly but surely, Faden found a variety of oddities that happened to him and the environment around him. He began to hear the voice of the previous director who was clearly dead, he could enter into the Astral world which was slow but sure, making himself stronger. He also met with various other phenomena in the Bureau, such as everyday objects that turned out to have strong supernatural energy, which usually ended up being called the Object of Powers and Altered Items. With more and more exploratory processes he undertook, he also discovered that along with the entity that continued to reside within him – Polaris, Faden also found that the vast endless Bureau was also a door for another dimension.
So, what really happened to this Bureau of Control? Can Faden find the younger brother? What kind of super weird challenges does he have to go through? How deep will this mystery end in diving? All the answers to these questions, of course, you can get by playing Control itself.
Mixing a mysterious story and universe is not an easy job. On the one hand, there is a great sense of responsibility to present a world that is either creepy, unreasonable, or just has a design that is ready to make the hairs on your back crawl when you see it. While on the other hand, it does not have to be strange, it also has to load another layer on the side of the story and gameplay to be able to “trap” the attention of gamers who are interested in continuing to dismantle it. The great difficulty, which was amazingly successfully executed by Remedy via Control.
Remedy’s ability to mix the world and fantastic stories really shines through this Control. From the very beginning you enter the game, the mystery immediately hits you quickly, intensely, without giving much room to breathe. That the Bureau that you dive with in an effort to find your beloved sister is no longer the real world that you have known. Together with Faden itself, you will begin to learn that this is a world that works beyond reason. Not only because of the existence of an entity that is indeed moving behind the scenes, but how the “rules” in working.
This strong impression is not only presented through the world design and lighting games that you find throughout the game, but also through the interaction of the various cool NPCs you encounter. The dialogues, interactions, and reactions that seem normal to each of them seem to imply that all the terror and horror that occur within the Bureau, is something that has become acid for their daily lives. The deeper the mystery you dive in, the more questions arise. All of them are usually merged into everyday objects and activities that look and feel harmless.
While from the side of the game that we will discuss more deeply later in the session, Control also managed to present a more dramatic battle sensation thanks to the effects of environmental destruction that also deserves to be thumbs up. It gives a strong impression that the attacks that you throw or receive, do have a big impact. You can see broken walls in pieces, flying paper, broken objects in sections, to giant poles that you can use as “shields” slowly but surely, eroded thin. You like enjoying the iconic Matrix scene in a more interactive format.
The side of the presentation that we never thought would be charming? Music. Believe it or not, Control executes this element quite well, by presenting various genres of music according to the situation you are facing at the point of the story, which of course makes this moment even more evocative. There are able to lure your adrenaline to the maximum level, but not a few others that make the atmosphere of mystery that exists suddenly thickened. The sound side effect for The Hiss that will consistently “chat” inside Faden’s head also produces effects as if you were in a hallucination of schizophrenia that felt real.
These combinations ended up falling in love with Remedy’s style of presenting Control itself. We call this the legit layer of mystery, not only because so many layers of elements are thought through to make the sensation so strong in the beginning, terrorizing you consistently, and just linking your interest, but also because of the fantastic execution that makes it taste “good “. The world of Control is a world full of mysteries built with solid lore, not something half-heartedly prepared.
Unique Weapons and Telekinesis
Control is also not an action game that is relatively easy, especially at the beginning of the game. That unlike other shooter games that make you feel like a walking tank that only has to think about limitation of the number of bullets, Faden is positioned as a vulnerable character in Control. Therefore, instead of moving still, it is recommended that you continue to move actively to avoid the attacks. Believe it or not, your negligence to execute this will end in death. It only takes 2-3 attacks to kill Faden if you are not alert.
Because the enemies that Faden faces are indeed diverse. We are talking about various variant soldiers, from “just” shooting you with machine guns, with missiles, sniper, to those who carry grenade launchers who continue to spew out several grenades every second. You will also be confronted with The Hiss monsters who are ready to hunt you from various angles. Some are just trying to approach you and blow yourself up, you are able to float in the air and keep throwing objects towards you, some are able to disappear and appear to spit waste into your face, so that just protect themselves with a vortex of ruins, all of which need strategy alone. On top of that? Monsters from other dimensions are creepy in terms of design, type of attack, and damage at the same time.
Fortunately, Faden is armed with two things – Service Weapon and Telekinesis Capability. Service Weapon itself is just a name and a beautiful designation for the firearms used by Faden, which does have unique properties. First, he doesn’t need bullets at all. How many shots you can throw up does come with a limited amount of weapons in general. But you don’t need to pick up bullets at all. This weapon is equipped with a cooldown system that will automatically be loaded as long as you don’t use it. Second? This weapon can also be transformed into weapons with other attributes. If Grip – which is actually a standard mode is like a handgun, then Scatter is a transformation like a Shotgun, and Spin ends up feeling like SMG. Faden itself is only allowed to use 2 types of transformation in the existing equipment system.
Interestingly? Control counts successfully forcing you to always combine these two types of attacks – weapons and telekinesis constantly in every battle there. You will not be able to rely solely on Service Weapon or Telekinesis. Slowly but surely, you must learn to use them in specific situations or in the right timings, as best as you can. Coupled with a non-regenerating HP system that requires you to collect blue scattered orb to recover? You have to master it faster.
Unfortunately, Control also has a two-edged sword mechanism that can end up annoying or even saving. That’s right, he has a checkpoint system! So instead like most action games that will immediately revive you in the area a few seconds before you die, either in one room or when fighting a boss for example, Control will return you to the last Checkpoint you came from. The system is similar to bonfire in Dark Souls, with just that, without resurrecting enemies that you have killed before.
Why save? Because a system like this prevents you from being trapped in an inevitable “cycle of death”. That you could accidentally end up fighting an enemy who is stronger than you now because you accidentally met them during a prankster, for example. With a bonfire-style checkpoint system like this, then you will always have the option to repeat the same battle directly or avoid and strengthen yourself first. Why annoying? Because most of these Checkpoints are located in quite remote locations. Combined with a map design that can end up confusing if you are not careful, your death and revival can lead to an effort to find back which path needs to be passed to arrive at the same point. Given that Faden is quite vulnerable, this will often happen.
The action side of Control does feel satisfying. Although the weapon used by Faden is something that you encounter in sci-fi, firing every bullet that is there ends up strengthening the quality as an action game. The same thing happened in the Telekinesis action which he could access. The key lies in the feedback and reaction of the enemy which is impressive that what you do, does have a deadly impact. They stopped because of a shot, thrown far because of the throwing of your object, to “disappear” because of the effects of the explosion. Every battle feels like an achievement in itself, especially with its dramatic environmental destruction effect.
Control appears as an action game that is a pity to pass up. It tastes like a sweet and tempting layer of cake, which when you bite it turns out to be more delicious than it looks. The difference? Instead of flour and sugar, each layer is a mystery and madness.
Control ended much cooler than we expected, a product that exceeded expectations. The fact that it is not a linear action game, but rather a semi-open that carries the main and side mission system in it, is one of the main reasons behind this sense of surprise. But what ended up being a sweetener was the fact that Remedy managed to build an interesting, mysterious, and crazy world at the same time as Control. Oddities that they make are not designed to be “just weird”, but the foundation for a lore that is indeed tempting to continue to dive deeper. Everything combined with an intense and satisfying gameplay, complete with OST which is equally fantastic. Control ended up being an action game with a quality far above average.
But that does not mean, this game can be called perfect. As we talked about earlier, we hate his checkpoint system which is similar to bonfire Dark Souls. Indeed, a system like this has its own benefits, but it always has to come back to life in a location far from where you died, especially for the fragile character of Faden, will begin to arouse their own feelings of annoyance. One other complaint is also rooted in the ending which is not exactly satisfying. That you who want a definite answer to the many mystery packages offered by Control can end up feeling disappointed. Extra notes also deserve to be presented for the map system, which doesn’t help much.
But this deficiency does not prevent Control to appear as an action game that is unfortunately not to be missed. It tastes like a sweet and tempting layer of cake, which when you bite it turns out to be more delicious than it looks. The difference? Instead of flour and sugar, each layer is a mystery and madness.