Control is now almost a 14 month old videogame and given all the attention it’s gotten in terms of awards, general praise, RTX looks and everything else. It’s pretty much a game people are worn out hearing about at this point.
However, having just finished it last night, I’d like to point out how I feel about some of the things that I read often when looking into it and that I don’t necessarily agree. In other words, my brief $ 0.02.
“Kind of meh combat, gets repetitive after a while.”
Since I liked the aesthetics and the general flow of the game from the start, as I went further I was already mentally prepared to just accept the possible blandness to come. It didn’t! The game gave me several weapons options, each one significantly different from the others in terms of strengths and weaknesses, strategy of use, mods available, combinations with skills and so on. The skills were also increasingly interesting. Even if melee turned out to be completely useless for me, by the endgame I was efficiently using launch, seize, levitate and shield at every encounter mostly, and there were several approaches to every fight, from cheesing to planning which part of the scenario to use, which enemy to possess, which skill – weapon combo works best. Did I mention that a good chunk of the scenarios is breakable? Walls, rails, tables, cabinets, shelves, lamps and the list goes on. It was like getting the Bad Company 2 vibes all the time, if I can make this “feeling comparison”. That’s a full plate to fight against blandness if you ask me. But you have probably seen those pics with piles of paper and sparks and bricks flying around the room and this is nothing new for you. Let’s move on.
“Confusing map, all over the place, extremely hard to navigate.”
Hey, it is. If I played down this complaint, I’d be getting biased, which I’m trying not to! Instead, let me just tell you 2 things. First, the initial discomfort from getting lost or from struggling to get your sense of positioning, goes away. It does. You do get better at navigating places and most of the time, the map isn’t a problem. Second, the weirdness of the building (not the map itself) is genuinely a quirk, a charm of the game. I kid you not, after a while you start to feel like the damn Oldest House is a being of its own. Also, nothing beats the excitement of the moment you start to feel like you get it. When you unlock new skills and clearance levels and start to connect some old dots together, to explore places previously not accessible, this sense of awe really pays off. In a way, and this is personal of course, it reminded of my years as a kid reading Harry Potter for the first time, discovering new parts of the grounds, exploring a castle in my head, exploring exotic new parts. The universe Control takes place in is huge, is crazy, is beautiful.
“Poorly balanced difficult”
This is maybe the most personal one to address. People struggle with different things, people look for different levels of struggle when gaming, people come from different backgrounds and experiences, so no one’s really to blame here. I’ve read that there possibly are sliders on the menus that allow for some adjusting on the newest version, but I didn’t look for those and don’t have a say on that. All in all, I wasn’t bummed by the game’s difficulty. Progress felt natural, enemies got tougher and better protected as I got new and more powerful weapons and upgraded my skills. By endgame, the player has margin to have upgraded quite a bit of their skill tab, not being forced to put points specifically in the “strongest skills” to exploit game mechanics. Some enemies do seem to be bullet sponges, but those are heavier enemies that act more as mini-bosses than regular mobs. I did die and contemplate rage quitting 10-15 times on the second last area of the game, but it really makes up for one room in one map, really. If you played it, chances are you know I’m talking about one very specific moment, lol.
Story is weird, and I honestly didn’t get a lot of it. I just went on with it. If you’re a believer of strong and cohesive plots, this one might not be for you. It gets crazy, random, really all the time. Boss fights are mechanically simple and nothing to write home about in terms of toughness, but boy are they weird. Every boss was a surprise in terms of “how more bizarre does this get?” I said that already, right?
I played this game on an old 1050Ti and used a mix of low/high settings, yet this looked miles better than 99% of what I played in my life, on the PC or PS4, and played smoothly as butter almost all the time, always above 30 fps, averaging near the 40 mark.
In the end, I guess it really depends on how you look at this game. If you jump in expecting your regular good looking third-person shooter, you’ll probably be let down. I remember being a bit upset at first when I realized there was no cover system. Lol. By midgame I was floating around in the air, knocking down parts of the scenario to protect me from incoming fire as I ran on the walls of a hotel-like maze listening to Old Gods of Asgard – Take Control on the janitor’s headphones. Those 15 minutes felt absolutely awesome. And unique. That’s the vibe people usually get from Control. Be open, and you should be rewarded!
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