505 Games and Remedy invited us to check out a demo presentation for their newly announced game, Control. Previously codenamed as P7, Control was revealed at Sony’s E3 media briefing, giving gamers a first glimpse at the game. Control is a third-person action game from the minds behind Quantum Break and Alan Wake. Using their experience with surreal settings and situations, there is a lot of potential for what Control has to offer.
Players will take on the role of Jesse Faden, the new director of the Federal Bureau of Control. As the new director, she quickly discovers that an unusual entity known as the Hiss has taken over the members of the Bureau. The Hiss have altered reality to a crazy looking world, feeling somewhat fractured and abstract. As far as the gameplay, Remedy describes the experience as a sort of Metroidvania in three dimensions. While players explore, they’ll gain access to areas that were previously closed off thanks to new abilities gained.
Through the course the game, Jesse gains access to new powers that allow her to manipulate the objects around her. She’ll also have the ability to wield the Director’s pistol, which mysteriously transforms and gains power throughout the campaign. Playing through the game, the members of the bureau that are corrupted by the Hiss will attack Jesse. She’ll have no choice but to fight back using a combination of intense gunplay and her supernatural abilities to survive.
Jesse will have telekinetic abilities that allow her to use debris as a shield, projectiles, and more. She’ll eventually be able to levitate and fly around to outmaneuver her enemies. Not only will levitation be useful for combat, but it will also help Jesse access new areas. Several of Jesse’s new abilities will be used to explore further in the Bureau and players will want to take note of areas they might have skipped before. Many of the paths will lead Jesse to completely new areas, as the Bureau acts as a sort of maze.
Control really seems to take advantage of its environment to play mind games with the player. Not everyone in the Bureau will be a threat, but the ones that are will likely surprise you. Whether they’re staying completely still while floating in the air or acting “normal”, the Hiss seem to have a sense of unpredictability. While the game might not go as far as Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem to mess with your head, it definitely will still play tricks. Puzzles will play certain visual tricks and players may want to take a moment to make sure their path is clear.
It’s worth noting the style of the architecture in the game. The interior of the Bureau feels like a modern art museum as it combines forms and ideas into an aesthetic that works well for the game. Large, open areas show the potential for the gameplay, the rooms filled with furniture and objects for Jesse’s disposal. The game seems to use lighting to set certain moods as well, as it shifts from red to white and vice versa, preparing the player for what’s to come. Control also utilizes shadows in an interesting way, using it for part of the narrative.
The demo we watched showed off plenty of unique combat scenarios. The AI seemed to offer a strong challenge, similar to some of the enemies from Quantum Break. There was no HUD to keep track of Jesse’s health, the screen just reacting to damage as it happened. We’re told that Remedy is still playing with the idea of a HUD, so it may not be absent in the final product. Seems the goal was to make the experience immersive, which seems to work with the aesthetic.
Control seems to take full advantage of the sound design to immerse the player. The echoes of loud metal shifts and bangs can be heard throughout and a lot of sounds feel filtered. Music seems to have a horror vibe to it, the sound spiking in more suspenseful moments. Voice acting seems pretty good so far, as Jesse seems to sound perfectly fine. Other voices heard in the game come from characters that may or may not be as important to the plot. Some offer sidequests while others seem to offer more exposition to the narrative.
It seems that overall, there’s still plenty of Control left to discover. Remedy was intentionally vague on certain elements in the game, and understandably so. Clearly, there are still plenty of mysteries left to discover as we see more of the game. Either way, Control should be a game to watch as more updates come out. We’ll have more on Control soon, including an interview with the game’s Director, Mikael Kasurinen. Remedy Entertainment’s Control is currently slated for release next year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.