Control is a supernatural 3rd person action-adventure will challenge you to master the combination of supernatural abilities, modifiable loadouts and reactive environments while fighting through a deep and unpredictable world.
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I would love to give this game five stars. It has incredibly tight gameplay, fun skill progression, and truly outstanding atmosphere; and, what’s more, it just feels like something bold and different, a truly singular experience, a narrative labor of love.
However—on PS4 at least—Control is absolutely riddled with technical flaws. The load times are inexcusably long; the frame rate can slow to a crawl during battles; there’s egregious texture pop in, and some of the textures themselves look smeary and low-res; and, one time, a mini-boss I was supposed to face simply didn’t load, and I spent an hour thinking I was attempting to solve a truly nefarious puzzle.
As far as other negatives, in my notes I wrote: “I find the menu/upgrade interface to be clunky and the on-screen hud elements and text to be far too small. I hate the health regeneration system. Sometimes the game is punishing and obtuse. Sometimes the battle arena design is shit, and there are simply too many enemies to contend with. Missions where you have to shoot hidden mold blobules off the wall: barf...”
Et cetera. But in spite of all of that, this game gets a 4.5, because the gameplay, the level design, and ESPECIALLY what I would call the ‘ambient’ storytelling— the lore, the narrative background— is just that freaking good. Maybe some of the best ever. The narrative foreground—the game’s plot— is not nearly as satisfying. But it’s compelling enough.
The ashtray maze goes among my favorite individual video game “levels” of all time. So good. Looking forward to whatever’s next from Sam Lake and Remedy!
It's not entirely perfect for me (I kinda wish that it didn't explain as much as it did even if it's already a kinda vague game and it also just kinda ends after a giant build-up, but otherwise it's VERY close to being a 5), but god I wish that more AAA games were more willing to be as visually striking as this. And not even just the surreal brutalist architecture and stark colors, but the lighting of the Oldest House tending to be completely and unapologetically harsh, not caring if that means the player isn't able to clearly see everything in combat.
I mean of course the reason there aren't more games like this in the AAA space is just capitalists being capitalists and all but a person can dream