Among the dozen of indie titles I managed to demo throughout the course of this year’s annual Penny Arcade Expo held in Boston, Massachusetts, I also got some down time with one of the more anticipated titles that is set to release later in 2019. This being Remedy Entertainment’s Control. For already being a fan of the studio’s previous titles with Alan Wake and Quantum Break, this was already one I knew to grab my interest when arriving to the event.
The demo stationed at the PlayStation Booth along the list of other exclusive/marketed titles available, Control is one that stood out the most as preceding titles held exclusivity to Microsoft’s platform along with a PC release for the two.
For the sake of the demo, the developers laid out one of the more open spaces available in the game’s campaign for players to really explore what the upcoming title has to offer. Even waiting on line, participants were handed a map of what highlighting different sections of the level that can be traverse in the 20-mintue demo of the game.
Easily one of the most impressive parts of the game has to be the game’s visuals and atmospheric effects that really grasps the player’s eye with crisp textures and responsive skin on character models. Already witnessing the potential that Remedy could reach with their Northlight Engine through Quantum Break, we fully experience that in Control.
As I see the previous game more as an test title for how the engine could perform, the Finnish studio puts it on all burners from what we’ve so far. Why I say it as a “test title” is due to the fact that players spend more time watching over playing for the majority of the time-bending action adventure. It is a solid game, but more went into how it looked over how it plays: this is for a separate discussion.
Now for the gameplay, character control is smooth and well responsive: this working well alongside the arsenal of different powers to use at your disposal. From jumping to levitating, players are given a larger sense of verticality thanks to Jesse’s new abilities. Along with telekinesis which you can use to interact with inanimate objects and use them to project at hostiles. And if there isn’t anything to pick up, you can pull a chunk of ruble out from the surface to use also.
This does come in handy for the combat; that I did a lot of throughout the course of the demo. Given for the exhibition I was equipped with an automatic pistol that then changes to a charge weapon that shoots a heavy blow when holding the R2 trigger. Juggling between the two came to be helpful when fighting off the progressing tiers of different hostiles that inhabited the level.
From standard mind-controlled grunts, heavies, shielded soldiers, to flying monstrosities and even zombie-esque adversaries, there’s plenty of diversity for who’s there to fight off. Which can actually be overwhelming as they will fire off on you from all directions and require you to move frequently and to take advantage of your levitation when direly needed.
The tasks given at hand revolve around travelling to three different sections of the map for the player to taste just what the rest of the game has to offer. With trippy changing hallways to condensed offices being some of the few areas that varied when following the set path in the demo. But for the picked area in the demo, a lot condensed into one as the map is painted with a heavy grey which blends in pretty easily and made it difficult to tell areas apart.
But when finding the correct location and other hiding spots revealed upgrades that the player can change in & out to modify both Jesse as well as your weapons. And just for the demo, there were at least more than a dozen which seemed pretty generous for just a public playtest.
Even offered in the demo was Y-Axis Invert which really surprised me since most don’t add it until the full version. This leading to me high fiving one of the nearby developers as he shares the same handicap as me stating that “others at the studio complain about me being the only one”, which I completely understand.
One of the biggest problems I faced here and there was the game’s framerate dropping immensely during some combat-heavy situations for a few seconds. But as this is only a demo, there is still plenty of problems that still need to be ironed out leading up to the game’s launch.
Overall, Control looks to be a title I anticipate even more than before after getting some hands-on time with the title. The combat holds up well with a differentiating cast of enemies, intriguing locations, and mouth-opening visuals left a fairly good impression on me. Assuming Remedy can manage to resolve the performance issue, we should be in good hands for the game which is set to drop later this Summer.
Control is said to release on August 27, 2019 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.