Remedy Entertainment has delivered us another great title with Control launching on PC, Xbox One and PS4 in 2019. Fast forward to 2021 and the Control Ultimate Edition is now available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PS4, PS5 and even Nintendo Switch in certain territories via an online service.
For those who haven’t played Control, Sam Lake of Max Payne fame has penned the story and while Control might not be everyone, it certainly is one of the best games we’ve played and we’re here to tell you why
In Control, players will take on the role of Jesse Faden. A seemingly innocent civilian Jesse enters the mysterious Oldest House and things go awry as per the norm in video games. The Oldest House is the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Control. What exactly is the Federal Bureau of Control? That’s for players to find out throughout the course of the game.
Playing as Jesse, players will soon discover that there’s a lot more going on that meets the eye despite the rather normal surroundings they find themselves in. Players will collect documents with blanked out and censored text. Recordings will explain the paranormal events and the mystery deepens itself within 15 minutes of launching the game when Jesse becomes the new Director of the Bureau of Control.
To say things escalate quickly is an understatement. Control tosses you into the deep end and works its way backwards bringing you up to speed as to what’s going on in the Oldest House and in the game’s world. As you progress through the game you’ll gain more insight into the story and more complex game mechanics will slowly unlock.
The story of Control is told from the perspective of Jesse. There’s a lot of internal monologues that you’re privy to and there’s a mysterious psychological “effect” of sorts that she talks to which provides guidance to her. More of this is revealed later in the game as you get through the various sections of the Oldest House and discover more about Jesse and the Bureau’s past. If you dislike games with a lot of text or you’re not a fan of reading in video games, this game is probably not going to appeal to you as much as it did to us. When the mystery pieces itself together, Control’s story is a masterpiece.
The game’s setting is the Oldest House and while it looks like a typical governmental building with offices and various staircases and floors, the Oldest House is a paranormal hotspot that can shift and change itself. Players will encounter enemies known as the Hiss and their invasion of the Oldest House is something Jesse is tasked with resolving.
There are various different types of Hiss enemies to fight and since they are human beings that have been “Possessed” by the paranormal, Jesse will have to make use of the Director’s special weapon to dispose of them. The Service Weapon as it’s called is an object of immense power and one that can shapeshift later in the game and allow Jesse to use different types of attacks. This coupled with Jesse’s “psychic” powers makes players a formidable opponent to the Hiss. That said, there are various encounters throughout the game where you’ll have to take cover and hide from enemies or make use of proper strategic gameplay to survive their onslaught. There isn’t a difficulty slider in Control so players will have to adapt their playstyle to survive. Running in guns blazing with the Service Weapon will only get you killed. Especially since it takes time to recharge once it’s ammo is depleted.
The gameplay in Control is therefore based on third-person shooter elements interspersed with what could be described as superpowers. Jesse can choose to gun down Hiss enemies or melee them with her psychic powers and it is incredibly enjoyable either way. There’s a layer of customization in the game too with mods for weapons as well as a level-up system which unlocks new weapon forms for the Service Weapon to take on. Additionally, you can also choose to change Jesse’s outfit at specific points in the game.
Graphically, Control was one of the best looking games of 2019 and Control Ultimate Edition still looks absolutely amazing. With support for Nvidia’s ray tracing, the game looks breathtaking and there are some points in the game where the photorealistic aspects of its graphics engine lighting the environment are truly mindblowing. Even with ray tracing switched off and on lowest settings, Control Ultimate Edition is a gorgeous game
The soundtrack used in Control Ultimate Edition is filled with some great tracks as well as some licensed music which can be muted in the options so as to not get into trouble with copyright laws, especially if you’re streaming or recording your gameplay. The voice acting in the game is also excellent with all the major characters sounding convincing throughout. This helps drive home the narrative story the game sets out to deliver with its mixture of story and gameplay.
Control Ultimate Edition features The Foundation DLC which explores Control’s expanded world of The Oldest House even more by introducing a range of new areas to explore.
Players will take on the role of Jesse Faden once again in this DLC and this time around, she’s been buffed with some brand new abilities. The Foundation can only be accessed upon completing the main game and reporting to the hotline in the executive sector of the game. The Board get’s Jesse on the line and tells her to immediately head down to the Foundation to investigate what’s going on down there.
Upon arrival at the Foundation Jesse discovers a stone doorway of sorts. Upon touching it, she is thrust even further down into the Foundation where she eventually encounters a broken monolith known as the Nail. However, things are obviously not as they seem and soon enough she’s tasked with repairing the broken Nail. This is where the story really grips you since Jesse is upgraded with a brand new ability by the Board. The Board allows this upgrade in order to assist her with repairing the Nail.
Jesse has a new region of the Oldest House to explore in the Foundation which involves a substantial amount of exploration and collectable gathering. As players explore, they’ll pick up notes and other collectables which explain some of the Oldest House’s mysterious past. There’s a lot on offer here and fans of the base game will be glad to know that the same level of intrigue maintained throughout the base game is still present here. Why was the Nail damaged? Who damaged the Nail? Why doesn’t the Foundation shift around like the rest of the Oldest House? These are all questions players will be asking as they continue to press on further and try to repair the Nail.
The gameplay in The Foundation DLC is rather unchanged from the rest of Control. Jesse has access to Foundation DLC specific abilities and these are front and centre throughout this DLC. Without spoiling too much, players will be able to interact with crystal growths and this is key to solving numerous puzzles and getting through platforming sections in the DLC.
The Foundation DLC follows the tried and trusted formula established by the base game and does it well enough to keep you entertained from start to finish. There’s one section in the DLC that particularly stood out thanks to its execution and gamers will be in for a treat when they get to play through it. Especially since it was quite challenging. The overall story of the DLC is great and has an adequate ending that still leaves some questions unanswered.
Graphically, The Foundation DLC is gorgeous. The DLC features a lot of dark cave environments but this has been contrasted quite well with the bright white light of Astral Plane itself so as to not be too dark. The rust-red sand looks gorgeous and the particle effects are as beautiful as ever. The soundtrack of The Foundation DLC is exceptionally good too with a specific new track that is flat out amazing to listen to.
Overall, The Foundation DLC is worth every cent for fans of Control and we’re glad that it’s a part of the Control Ultimate Edition. It expands upon the already great base game and will keep you entertained for around 5 to 6 hours or more depending on your play style and speed. Highly recommended that you play through this.
Control Ultimate Edition’s journey comes to an end with the final paid DLC expansion, AWE contained within it. The final expansion, AWE, has been the most anticipated DLC for Control since it ties another Remedy game, Alan Wake, into the Control gameworld, or rather the Remedy shared universe. Does AWE deliver on its ridiculously high expectations? I’ll get into that shortly.
First, we need a short history lesson. Alan Wake launched a decade ago. It followed the tale of Mr Wake himself as he tried to unravel the mystery surrounding his wife’s disappearance in the sleepy vacation town of Bright Falls. Things escalated quite quickly and the presence of an evil force of darkness complicated matters. The base game ended on an intense cliffhanger with Wake trapped within the “dark place”. Fans of Alan Wake have got more of the franchise over the years but nothing that resembled a fully-fledged sequel.
Back to Control though, AWE brings the events that occurred at Bright Falls into its game world as an altered world event or AWE. Jesse Faden, after taking on the role of the Director receives a vision from Alan Wake himself to investigate a part of the Oldest House. Jesse ventures down an elevator into the previously sealed off Investigations Sector of the Bureau and this is where the game really kicks itself into high gear.
Players will explore the investigations sector and find collectable tidbits of information which bring them up to speed with the events of the Bright Falls incident and how the Federal Bureau of Control got involved. Fans of the original Alan Wake game will be glad to know that the story is well written throughout. Without spoiling too much, this DLC is definitely worth playing for its content.
Gameplay in the AWE DLC isn’t as radically different as it was with the Foundation DLC. Jesse can unlock a new weapon type for her service weapon but doesn’t get any new contextual powers this time around. You won’t be visiting the Astral Plane this time around and certainly won’t be bending or breaking any crystals to your will. There are a few altered items that are present in the AWE DLC but these are rather lacklustre compared to the major one that featured quite memorably in the Foundation DLC.
Interestingly though, the AWE DLC does introduce an arcade cabinet altered item which effectively brings a boss battle mode and challenge mode to the game. Players will be able to fight off hordes of Hiss or face the game’s bosses in one on one battles or in a row if they really want to challenge themselves. It adds some longevity to the game but unfortunately, this isn’t exactly brand new content and feels like padding.
The major antagonist of the AWE DLC is a darkness twisted monster which brings with it globs of darkness that Jesse will have to deal with. Throughout the DLC players will have to use their telekinesis powers to use light sources to eliminate the darkness, much like how Alan Wake would have done in the game that revolved around him. Eliminating the darkness is a key part of the AWE DLC and players will have to solve some puzzles using the light to their advantage.
The environment of the AWE DLC features more of the Oldest House’s standard interior design and isn’t as open or cavernous as the Foundation DLC was. This assists with maintaining the creepy atmosphere though since there’s plenty of dark corners and lots of moody lighting to keep the theme of light versus dark going on throughout the DLC.
The best part of the AWE DLC is the darkness creature itself. It is immensely terrifying and coupled with the excellent use of sound effects and lighting throughout the DLC, players will be creeped out when facing off against this monster. Remedy has tied Alan Wake’s lore into this DLC quite well and fans of the original game will be quite pleased.
The AWE DLC for Control delivers a solid 5 to 6 hours of gameplay. It brings with it a tonne of in-game lore from Alan Wake itself and weaves it into its own complex story web. If you have Control and haven’t picked up the DLCs yet, the AWE DLC delivers a solid experience that adds quite a lot to Control even though it felt less impactful than the Foundation DLC was in terms of story.
Overall, Remedy has done a stellar job and have created a game that will etch itself into the memories of many gamers as something truly worthwhile much like Alan Wake did before. Control Ultimate Edition is definitely a must-play title and one that will surely keep you entertained throughout its 25 to 30-hour long story across the base game and the two DLCs included.
Grab Control Ultimate Edition on your prefered format within the links below;
Xbox Can be purchased here for £34.99, Minus any discounts at the time.
PSN Can be purchased here for £34.99, Minus any discounts at the time.
PC can be purchased through Steam here for £34.99, Minus any discounts at the time.
Then you have the Switch version which is streamed from the Cloud, which again is £34.99 and can be purchased here, Minus any discounts.
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