Remedy Entertainment has always been a company that makes quality games with a whole lot of heart and passion dating all the way back to the late nineties with titles like Death Rally. Later on, names such as Max Payne and Alan Wake have even taken their place as true video game icons.
Still, the star-studded cast and largely very competent time-travelling action of 2014's Quantum Break didn't quite reach the sky-high expectations set for it by publisher Microsoft. Now as their exclusivity deal has reached an end, Remedy's brand-new action-adventure Control will also see light on Sony's PlayStation 4.
During our studio visit, we got to play the game in its gold state, meaning the final code. It was an intense few hours of diving into the Oldest House to figure out more about Jesse Faden, the Hiss and everything else that goes on beyond the tall walls of the mysterious Bureau of Control. It's a fascinating world, but is it enough to keep you glued to your seat?
From a visual standpoint, the brutalist architecture supports the new weird genre of the narrative extremely well, confidently drawing you in. The adventure kicks off without dillydallying or too much exposition as Jesse Faden's seemingly ordinary bureau visit. Things are never quite what they seem, and it won't be long until our protagonist is knee-deep in the mystery of The Oldest House and its Remedy-esque original cast of characters.
The at-times overflowing weirdness of the game is still not too hard to follow, but rather very intriguing as the pace keeps ratcheting up nicely along the way. Tonally I would say that Jesse Faden's unique adventure into the heart of the Bureau of Control draws a lot from the goofy scientists of Portal's Aperture Laboratories, and the constant mystery of Lost's Dharma Initiative rather than the self-aware weirdness of David Lynch. There's a method to the madness here.
Uncharacteristically for Remedy, the basic philosophy behind Control's design is to let the player experiment and advance at their own pace. The Oldest House is a vast and open place, that begs to be explored. Also, during combat, the player isn't really funnelled to a certain playstyle as the protagonist's service weapon can be customized to suit many different approaches.
You receive this special weapon very early, and it's possible to tweak it into a shotgun-like blaster, a high-powered energy gun or just your trusty revolver. Mixing things up will be the key to success and good times. The basic evil henchmen enemies go down rather easily with just a few shots, but it won't be long until you're faced with shielded and more challenging bad guys as well.