Want to play the most confusing game of this year?
Before we begin telling you about this game, you should know that after completing the whole game, we still couldn’t grasp the storyline. It’s one of those games where if you play an hour or play for the entire day, the outcome will still be the same - you will be scratching your head in confusion.
Having addressed that, here’s why Control deserves your attention.
The story starts with you entering a drab office called the Federal Bureau of Control. Things start to progressively get weirder as you become the Director of the Bureau after finding the previous Director dead in his office. There, you even get acquainted with your service weapon which shape-shifts depending on your fancy and also becomes a conduit for your connection the Board. Which, by the way, is an upside-down pyramid. Ya! Don’t ask.
Moments after you get your service weapon, you come across a supernatural entity called the Hiss. It’s attacking the Bureau and possessing its super-secret-office-going people and turning them into cryptic red-bodied psychopaths.
The building itself is weirder than the storyline. Known as the Oldest House, the FBC office is eerie and ghastly. You’ll be pushed to go around solving the FBC problems and saving people from the Hiss while uncovering “what the hell is happening”.
When its well-written story becomes a bit too convoluted for us simple folks, the combat is where you really start to enjoy Control’s excellent gameplay.
The service weapon, we mentioned earlier, can be shape-shifted into a normal pistol, a shotgun, a submachine gun, and sniper to suit your game style. It works on a rechargeable basis with unlimited ammo.
Infused into the gunplay, are fun supernatural powers that unlock as you progress through the game. Using Telekinesis you can pick up any object, or a slab of concrete, from the office and sling it onto an enemy. You can even create a portable shield with bits of concrete from the ground, levitate like Jean Grey, and even mind-control enemies to turn them into allies.
Being able to levitate and slingshot chairs and tables at the enemies from a distance is extremely satisfying. Things come flying to your command with a satisfying urgency and when you get overrun by red-eyed gun wielders, you can quickly zap in short bursts to evade heavy fire. In combat… you feel like the Director.
The eerie feel and gray walls constantly remind you that you’re in a government facility with more secrets than the last pages of a teenager’s rough book. Everywhere you look, the game is detailed and easily recognisable, even amidst the mundane spots. We noticed the Director’s portrait frame change photos right after you (Jesse Faden) get appointed. It’s in these small, but very significant aspects that the underlying supernatural sense of tension and drama borrow into your thoughts while playing this game.
That is further elevated by the graphics and Nvidia’s Ray Tracing effect that is more than just amazing reflections. There’s an atmospheric mood from the lighting conditions in each area, albeit, most of it is gloomy and oh-so-mysterious. Since the Oldest House is a place of supernatural power, FBC placed their office cubicles and a lot of glass doors to look like a proper American secret agency, which made us PC gamers with an RTX GPU very happy. Reflections on these glass and other reflective surfaces were unbelievably good. You could find detailed reflections of entire sections of the room bouncing off on glass surfaces. It’s crazy realistic and if you have an RTX GPU, crank up the settings.
Character’s faces during dialogue sequences seem very appealing at first, almost realistic, but soon you tend to realise that there were budget restrictions here.
Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X; Liquid cooled by Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
Motherboard: Asus PRIME X399-A
RAM: 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB
CPU Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB
Keyboard: Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
Power Supply: Corsair AX850
From the moment you pick up the controller, Control’s story pulls you into its world. It’s mysterious and unsettling plotline is one of the most intriguing reasons to play the game, but the gunfight and supernatural powers will hook you in like no other.
It’s one of those games where you’ll only be scratching your head after every cutscene, and that might not be for everyone. Our only gripe with the game is the confusing map design and short story, because the game explores its full potential only during the ending few levels. It gets hella trippy, and by the end of the game we had to mop our melted cranial off the floor.
That said, Control is a breath of fresh air among shoot-this-grab-that genre where most shooters tend to linger.