- Developer: Remedy Entertainment
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Release Date: August 27, 2019
- Platform: PC (Reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
- Genre: Action, RPG, Shooter
Control is Remedy unleashed. It's the best game Remedy has ever made, hands down, and serves as the studio's magnum opus. It's everything Alan Wake and Quantum Break could've been, and it taps the full potential of the team's finesse, prowess, and skillset.
Remedy are sorcerers who weave a magic spell that makes you think. In a world full of live games with repetitive content, Control is a welcome surprise. It's the kind of experience that lasts with you after you beat it, the kind of game that permeates your mind and makes you think.
Control is a pure evolution of Remedy's finest talents: explosive gunplay, immersive storytelling and worldbuilding, immaculate graphics, tremendous in-game physics, and a truly bizarre and unique style. In a way, the game redefines Remedy while also underlining its expertise.
It's a mesmerizing escapade in Remedy's bizarre imagination, creating one of the most exotic and visually striking games in the last decade. It might be the best-looking game of 2019. The graphics are spellbinding, and the lighting is vivid, realistic, and finely tuned to each scene--it looks like a cinematic feature, but plays like a hardcore action game.
Remedy's art direction is second to none and Control is beautiful, haunting, enchanting, and incredibly strange, igniting that deep well of curiosity within all of us.
It reaches to the darkest corners of our minds, those weird abysses Serling and Lovecraft and King call home and pulls the bizarre and weird right into the limelight. It's clear the team put thousands of painstaking hours into this project and that it's a pure labor of love. Every area is oozing with flavor and creativity, crafted with perfect precision like a work of art.
Set in The Oldest House, a kind of ever-shifting haunted building that's between multiple worlds, the game has this eery vibe straight out of a horror movie. It's a fascinating feeling that never goes away, and the game is all the better for it.
Control is something new, something different, completely original but also extremely familiar. It's a Metroidvania with crafting, grinding, and Remedy's best shooter mechanics yet, all wrapped in dynamically destructible environments and a surreal condensed world. This blend is exceptionally hard to mix, but Remedy does so with the deft grace of a master developer.
Jammed full of pop-culture references and themes, Control borrows from some of the most intriguing sci-fi and fantasy media of our time. You'll find doorways directly to the Twilight Zone, strange canvases of the macabre right from Night Gallery, Twin Peaks' dash of quirkiness blended with its mind-bending dimension-jumping and parallel worlds, and X-Files' covered-up government operations and conspiracies.
There's even shades of Men in Black and Ghostbusters too. The Federal Bureau of Control is basically like a mixture of MiB's secret government ops with The X-Files and a splash of ghost activity right out of Ghostbusters. But in Control, you're taking on forces worse than the undead.
The game is like a surreal Outer Limits episode and has all the trappings for a big-budget film or a mega-popular TV show like Black Mirror. It captures all the right feelings and hits all the right beats, keeping you guessing the whole time.
That's really the magic of Control: it's intriguing.
The game never really reveals its full hand. It keeps you wondering, feeding you only enough answers, so you have even more questions. Remedy finds creative ways to do this visually without having to say anything; the entire game world exudes mystery and breeds this intense feeling of curiosity and makes you want to explore.
What's that giant inverted black pyramid? What's with these horrid tainted monstrosities and their sinister red light? Is a haunted refrigerator really that dangerous? Why is a jukebox locked up like it's killed someone? What happens if I levitate over to this ledge...hey, why's the room suddenly morphing and shifting??
These are all questions Remedy makes you ask using visuals, not words. It's an immensely powerful mechanism for immersion and storytelling.
But you don't always want to explore by floating around or teleporting. Sometimes you simply want to explore with your mind by gallivanting across its bizarre landscapes, taking in the warped M.C. Escher geometry or admiring the astral plane's marbled towers.
From the moment you jump into the last segment, the game has a grip on you. It slides its weird scarlet tendrils in your mind and has you second-guessing reality, looking at everyday objects like a refrigerator or a balloon and wondering if they're actually from another dimension and have secret powers.
PC Performance Notes
This Control PC review was conducted on the following hardware:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (4GB VRAM)
- Intel Core i7-4770K
- 16GB DDR3-1600MHz
- Acer 1440p 144Hz monitor
While playing Control on this setup, I was able to hit roughly 22-30FPS in 1440p at High preset while rendering in 2560x1440p with V-Sync on, and roughly 55FPS in 1440p at High preset while rendering in 1920x1080p.
All of the screenshots in this review are stamped with FPS indicators, GPU usage percentages, and GPU temps to help gauge what kinds of performance you may get.
Also here are Control's PC spec requirements for good measure:
You'll need at least an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU or AMD RX 580 (or equivalent), an Intel i5-7500 CPU or an AMD Ryzen 3 1300X CPU, and 8GB of RAM. To use ray-tracing, you'll need at least an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060.
Remedy wants you to have an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or an AMD Radeon VII, Intel Core i5-8600K or an AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, 16GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti for ray-tracing.