GameCentral gets to play the new game from the makers of Alan Wake and Quantum Break, and discovers a pleasingly odd 3D Metroidvania.
Considering how much major publishers whine about the difficulties of creating brand new franchises its odd how smaller companies never seem to have as much problem with the concept. Following the lukewarm reception to Quantum Break, Finnish developer Remedy wouldve been excused for playing things safe – making a sequel to Alan Wake or perhaps doing contract work for a big publisher – but instead theyve created Control, and it may well be the best thing theyve ever done.
Weve seen Control a couple of times now, after its debut at last years E3, but this month was the first time we had a chance to play it. In gameplay terms Control is a relatively easy game to explain: a third person Metroidvania with similar third person combat to Remedys previous games and an expanding range of what amounts to Force abilities. Weve seen hands-off demos that involve levitating and firing what seem to be magic missiles, but since our demo was from early on in the story telekinesis was the most significant ability available.
The much more difficult thing to explain is whats going on in the game, which is… complicated. Control boasts of being part of the new weird genre of fiction that mixes Lovecraftian horror with more modern themes. You take control of the new head of a secret U.S. government agency called the Bureau of Control, whose Brutalist headquarters has been overrun by an entity, or entities, known as Hiss – which has corrupted many agents and infected the reality-shifting innards of the building.
Netflix movie Annihilation has been a clear influence on the game, in terms of both narrative and visuals but what we didnt realise until we played it is that, according to Remedy themselves, the shadow of Dark Souls also looms large over the game. But although we were warned that death would come often, we didnt actually find Control especially hard. Were certain that wasnt because of any great skill on our part, although it may have been that the mere mention of Dark Souls immediately made us play more defensively than normal.
The influence is very obvious when clearing out areas of enemies, which requires you to cleanse a certain spot from which you can then fast travel and upgrade your character with earned experience. A bonfire in other words. Theres an element of Metroidvania already in Dark Souls though, so the mixture makes sense. Although to be honest the mission we were playing, apparently only the third in the game, was fairly linear and revolved around fixing a broken generator in the bowels of the building.
We were able to tackle the various broken components in whatever order we wanted, which involved clearing out an area of enemies and then getting the machinery working again – achieved by levitating control boxes back onto pumps and, in one disgusting instance, destroying a clogged up sewage monster from a pipe. The majority of enemies were essentially mind-controlled humans, although there were other, weirder ones, which seemed to float on their back and exploded whenever they got near you.
One of the primary means of taking on enemies is with your magical transforming Service Weapon, which at this early stage could change into what is essentially a pistol and a shotgun – although neither needed ammo, just a few seconds to recharge. Each mode can be customised with collectable mods, as indeed can your character, while enemies drop strangely-named resources which we assume will be used for crafting of some sort later in the game.
Or alternatively you can use the levitation ability, which is extremely powerful and allows you to pick up any medium-sized object not tied down and throw it at enemies. A short side quest, taking place in an abstract, platform-filled spirit world, allowed us to unlock a dash move; while theres also a shield you can find a little off the beaten trRead More – Source