Plot and Characters
In the first half of the game, the plot of Control is a bit hard to digest. Just like QB, things don’t make much sense. As the fog lifts, things get clearer though not all at once. You need to go through the various documents and case files scattered throughout the Old House to get a proper understanding of the world. There are a bunch of Easter Eggs too referencing Remedy’s earlier games so that’s another reason not to ignore them.
The core plot is that the director of the Federal Bureau of Control has been murdered and some foreign entity that whispers strange hymns, driving people mad has invaded the Old House, the base of the FBC. Jesse enters the premises for the first time and without any prior information of the grand scheme of the board, gets appointed as the next director.
Although her main reason for coming here was to find her long lost brother who was abducted by the Bureau after he and Jesse accidentally discovered an Object of Power (an object that can alter reality by breaking the laws of physics). She managed to escape but left her brother behind who was never seen again. Now, out of guilt or love, she has decided to make up for that seventeen year old mistake.
After almost two decades of searching, Jesse finally manages to track down the Bureau but the timing couldn’t have been worse. The entire place is swarming with crazed employees and objects that are more than what they seem: flying Disks, hypnotizing TVs, murderous refrigerators, crazy clocks and a lot more.
This makes a seemingly simple task unnecessarily complicated as Jesse struggles to bring the core departments of the Federal Bureau of Control back online and establish some level of sanity across the premises of the Agency. Overall, Control is a well-written title although, for some, the story might come off as a bit far-fetched and bizarre, but considering that this is Remedy Studios we’re talking about, it’s very much expected.
All the characters are also quite interesting, ranging from borderline crazy and egotistical to excessively devoted. However, Jesse herself isn’t really a compelling protagonist. She seems fixated on finding her brother without any other goals or aspirations (for the most part). She comes off as tired and spent, making her realistic though not particularly intriguing. The main players at the FBC including the former director Trench, Dr. Darling and his assistant Emily are all a treat to behold.
Control’s gameplay largely resembles that of Quantum Break, though it makes several improvements and greatly compensates on its shortcomings. There are five weapons which are analogous to a pistol, machine gun, shot-gun, sniper and the rocket launcher, paired with six abilities that let the player lift, throw and control enemies while also being able to levitate briefly (Just like Jean Grey or Magneto). All in all, she’s nothing short of a superhero and it takes more than a while to get bored of her new-found powers.
Control also features mods that can be used to upgrade the weapons and character abilities. These include (but aren’t limited to) improved use of ammo and powers, damage and health boost, recoil reduction, etc. In the first half of the game, the side-quests are all quite unique and individually designed, but towards the end, they all seem to be fetch quests made to fill an empty void. Regardless, it doesn’t get too repetitive and unlocking the Control points lets you fast travel seamlessly through the Old House.
Visuals and RTX
Control features NVIDIA’s RTX implantation of DirectX raytracing and DLSS to make it playable. Although it’s fairly taxing, I’d say the RTX Super cards handle it well. The ray-traced translucent reflections are the core attractions and drastically improve the appearance of the game. For a detailed technical review and performance guide, click here.
Conclusion: From Time to Space
If we are being honest, Control is essentially a sequel to Quantum Break. Sure the story doesn’t continue and the characters don’t return and Remedy probably wants you to forget about the Xbox exclusive, but the gameplay and story feel largely similar. That’s not a bad thing though. The fundamentals of Quantum Break were solid, it was just the execution that was flawed. Control takes the same building blocks to make a much better structure. It’s not perfect, but it’s still