Control: Ultimate Edition - PS5 and Xbox Series X|S Review
The definitive way to play one of 2019's best games.
Control took us for a wild ride when it came out on August 2019, and we loved every second of its crazy story, weird environment, and exciting gameplay. The base game was then followed by two expansions, The Foundation and AWE, and while we were a bit disappointed by both (specially the second one, as it made a connection with the Alan Wake universe), they were still good excuses to return and 'take control' of Jesse Faden. Well, we just got another one, as Remedy released the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions of Control: Ultimate Edition.
In terms of content we're talking about the same Control: Ultimate Edition that came out for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch - a package that includes the base game and both expansions. The big attraction is then the improvements, which allows the game to take advantage of PS5 and Xbox Series X's vastly superior hardware (the Series S... not so much, but we'll get back to that). We're talking about a version of the game that's far more fluid, beautiful, and engaging then the PS4 and Xbox One versions.
On the base consoles, Control regularly drops below 30 frames per second, resulting in laggy and irregular gameplay. On PS5 and Xbox Series X|S you can choose between playing in a performance mode at 60 frames per second, or in a graphics mode with ray-tracing at 30 frames per second. It is a significant improvement, especially in the performance mode, which allows you to enjoy Control with a fluidity far superior to that of previous consoles. In fact, between the two modes, performance is undoubtedly our choice, as it considerably improves gameplay.
But considering that the overwhelming majority of console games up until this gen were played at 30 frames per second, you can perfectly play Control: Ultimate Edition like that, and if you do, you'll enjoy the introduction of ray-tracing. In practical terms this means that you'll be presented with realistic reflections and shadows within the game world especially in mirrors and glass. Considering the amount of mirrored surfaces in Control's world, we're talking about a significant improvement in game graphics, although we still prefer the performance mode, that uses reflections and shadows based on SSR and SSAO, and those are also great.
The improvements don't stop there, as there's also a brutal increase in resolution. On Xbox One Control runs at 720p, and on PS4 it runs at 900p. Well, on both PS5 and Xbox Series X, the game runs at 1440p (the S Series runs at 900p at 60 frames per second, without ray tracing mode, somewhat disappointing). In other words, Xbox Series X's performance mode doubles the frames per second and the resolution compared to the base Xbox One. It's really impressive.
A word also for the specific PlayStation 5 improvements, as this version of Control supports DualSense's haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, as well as the extra cards that offer assistance for puzzles and trophies. Nothing that makes a big difference compared to the Xbox Series X|S version, but still, nice touches.
There are other elements you should know about Control: Ultimate Edition. First, the price, € 39.99, which seems quite reasonable for what's included (and it is being offered to Plus members during February). Then, the fact that it is possible to transition for free from PS4/ Xbox One to PS5/Xbox Series X|S through the Ultimate edition, although the original edition of Control has no free upgrade. And finally, the impossibility to share progress or saves, which means that you will have to start the adventure from scratch on the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions.
We're not fans of some of the decisions Remedy made regarding Control's upgrade to new gen, and their communication in the matter has been terrible, but putting that aside, what remains is a high quality game, with two decent expansions, which presents considerable improvements over last-gen versions. With great fluidity and high quality graphics, Control: Ultimate Edition on PS5 and Xbox Series X is the best way to play Control, second only to a very high end PC that allows for 4k/60 fps/ray tracing, but good luck getting that.
8 / 10
Having the option to play at 60 frames per second is fantastic. Great visual improvements. Includes the two story expansions. Good price.
We expected more from the expansions. Free upgrade to next-gen doesn't apply to the base game. Series S version is far less impressive.