Twenty minutes. The virtual stopwatch that marked the time during my Control test started twenty minutes ago. It ticked at a steady rate for a thousand two hundred times, until the black screen carried me back from the inside of the Federal Bureau of Control building to the Milanese offices of Digital Bros. Having abandoned Jesse Faden’s shoes, the feelings that pervaded me were of curiosity and desire to continue. Yes, I would have liked to return and immerse myself in the atmosphere of the newborn Remedy’s house, and do it for a few hours, without limitations. A good start, there’s nothing to say.
ALL UNDER CONTROL? FORSE…
The aforementioned twenty-minute phantom works began in an apparently anonymous area of the palace. A few seconds to examine the surrounding environment, and here is a series of enemies ready to eliminate me appear suddenly in front of me. True to the motto “attack first, then ask a few questions”, I plunged into the fray without a clear idea of what would happen. I went into action and… I had fun. I took off, floating in the air as I unloaded the shots from the service weapon, the only firearm available to Jesse. I defended myself using the powers of my mind, turning the objects around me into a shield. I lifted debris off the ground and threw it as violently as possible at anyone who moved. And then, to make sure I didn’t miss anything, once I had properly weakened my enemies, I subjected them to my will, turning them into submissive creatures ready to fight by my side. In carrying out all these actions, I paid attention to two things. The first is a stamina bar, which runs out using special abilities. The second is the life energy indicator, which can not count on automatic regeneration but that requires “essence” (the energy released by enemies killed) to be restored.
This was followed by numerous other clashes that left an impression confirmed by Vida Starcevic, community manager of Remedy who accompanied me in the test. At least with regard to the shooter phases, Control is a game rhythmic, snappy, fast, which does not take into account any kind of dynamic stealth and that caters to those who want intense fighting until the last shot. During the clashes you fly, run and shoot seamlessly, mixing together powers and service weapons in a deadly cocktail. Between a clash and the other, however, there is no shortage of calmer and quieter moments, in which to devote himself to exploration to recover resources, acquire new skills and learn useful information to understand what is happening. Although Control has its own well-defined narrative path, it should be noted that there are no forks that change the course of history, is still given to the player a certain freedom of movement. The structure of the adventure, which in many ways is attributable to the genre metroidvania, allows you to follow different paths, with portions of the building that will become accessible only after meeting particular conditions. Rather classic, as I have seen, the system of evolution of the character, with a canonical screen that allows you to set up enhancements that affect different features of Jesse and to change the functionality of his weapon. Nothing new on the face of it, but you will need a thorough test to understand if among these extra skills will conceal something new or if we are faced with things already seen in dozens of other exponents of the genre action.
OPEN DOORS AND DISCOVER SURPRISES
There is a particularity that characterizes the universe of Control. To be more precise, there is a particularity that characterizes the building of the Federal Bureau of Control. A peculiarity that makes it unique, and that can be summed up in a simple sentence: not everything is as it seems. Seen from the outside, with its architecture inspired by brutalism, the huge skyscraper is also known as “The Old House” is confused in the skyline of Manhattan. Seen from within, it soon reveals nature made up of mystery and surprises. Huge staircases lead to the upper floors. Walls that seem never to end, within which small openings could conceal unthinkable secrets. Goods elevators that lead into the depths of the basement. Doors that open towards what seem to be unknown dimensions. We are not inside a work by Escher, a Dutch engraver who entered the history of art for the use of perspective solutions that led to paradoxical visual results, but inside a structure that proves to be much larger than it may appear from the outside. Exploring The Old House, even for a short period of time, the question that arises spontaneously is: but how is it possible that this is here?
The adventure is spread over several floors, between narrow spaces that open into larger rooms, with aesthetic solutions that give a strong personality to what, in a nutshell, could be catalogued as a simple pile of cement. There is no shortage of variety and, in my brief wanderings inside the building, I found myself catapulted into a small portion that resembled a hotel, with corridors that opened one next to the other, creating a real labyrinth that seemed to come out of a mix between the Overlook Hotel in Shining and a film by David Lynch. It’s too early to make any definitive judgements, the portion of the game I’ve explored is really too small, but the feeling is that Remedy may have managed to dodge one of the main risks of using a closed environment, namely excessive monotony.
READY FOR ACTION
Released on August 27 for PC, Xbox One and PS4, Control seems to have all the cards in place to offer an interesting gaming experience for fans of action games in single player. Remedy has in fact confirmed that Jesse’s adventure will be a strictly personal experience, and that there are no multiplayer modes. It won’t be a quick touch and escape, however, as it will take about twenty hours to solve the mystery that lies in the huge building of the Federal Bureau, and that once you discover every single secret you can still count on post-launch content, with a couple of expansions already planned.