Control's gunplay is explosive, chaotic, and just plain fun. I think the game could've survived based around its third-person shooter elements alone, which are a clear evolution of Remedy's Max Payne days.
There's five different types of guns that all do some serious damage. There's Grip, your basic accurate pistol, Shatter, a handgun-shotgun combo for short-range kills, Spin, an awesome gatling gun with rapid shots, Pierce, a great charge-up weapon that eats through shields like a hot knife through butter, and Charge, a supernatural grenade launcher that annihilates Hiss. All the weapons are basically modular forms of the Service Weapon, an Object of Power that never runs out of bullets (but has to reload) that's only accessible by the Director.
Players can swap between two weapon types on-the-fly.
And every weapon has up to 3 mod slots that can boost damage, reload speeds, blast radius, and ammo consumption. You can find these in the world, craft them, and/or upgrade them to build a powerhouse armament...but you'll need to seriously grind for materials.
Remedy also throws some powers in for some of the most satisfying--and challenging--combat I've experienced in 2019.
Control is all about manipulating the world around you to decimate foes and traverse the weird shifting environment, but it's also about creativity and synergy. Using your guns and powers together is essential for progressing and taking on those heavy-hitting Hiss bosses, and Remedy gives you some nifty options.
Throughout the game, you get access to four powers that open up Control in exciting ways. There's Levitate, which lets you float, hover, and rise high in the air for a period of time (great for combat and finding hidden boxes of loot), Seize, which takes control of an enemy for a small period of time (this is fantastic during boss fights), Shield, which literally breaks the world around you to form a shield of debris from oncoming attacks (useful in all situations), and finally Launch, the first telekinetic ability which blasts nearby objects at enemies.
Powers take Energy, so the game becomes a careful management simulator during dire sequences like boss fights. That's where the personal mods come in. You can equip Jesse with passive mods that boost her health, energy, recovery speeds, and even dash speeds/energy costs for improved efficacy in battle.
Using these skills in conjunction with one another, is the key to Control's amazing combat.
Every skill can be leveled up and boosted with modifications, too. Control has light RPG elements where you find, craft, and upgrade mods using materials gathered from slain foes or from completing missions. You really don't have to go too heavy with the mods to get good at Control, but prioritizing certain skills is important (go with Shield first, and Launch second).
I didn't like this at first, and I pretty much am tired of crafting in every game. But Control isn't heavy-handed with its mods, crafting, or grinding. A lot of the time, you inadvertently grind by killing things because you don't know where to go next. It's both frustrating and entertaining at times, reminding me of Metroid
The bad thing about the abilities is that they aren't given to you all at once. You have to find Objects of Power and complete their trials to unlock them, and there's no set order to doing so. In true Metroidvania fashion, it's possible to get through a big portion of the game without unlocking some of the powers--I spent a long time without the Shield power--and it'll get you into trouble. Without Shield, the Salvador boss fight was tremendously difficult.
At the same time, this is also good as it promotes organic exploration and discovery, which is a true hallmark of Control's magic. The game pretty much lets you run around and experiment and try to find the way out based on the process of elimination. The more you play you get wiser to the game's tricks, and it's harder to pull a fast one on you.
The enemies themselves keep combat fresh. You'll always find new methods to take on certain Hiss foes, and experimenting with Jesse's abilities is vital to innovating and surviving. Bosses can be pretty tough until you find that one perfect strategy, that conjunction of skills, mods, and weapons that tears through hives of sinister baddies.
There are enemies that shoot rockets, enemies that float around in chairs and fling debris at you, huge bosses that blast out clocks, enemies that fly up and self-destruct, and even shielded enemies that fire grenades at you in volleys. Crowd control is a must-learn skill in the game simply because you'll be inundated with all types of enemies all at once--and each of them requires a certain tactic to take down.
Last updated: Sep 24, 2019 at 12:29 am CDT