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Is Control Any Good?

FBT fears a lack of control while TheMorty is in Control

With the news that Remedy are developing not one but two sequels to Control, FBT and TheMorty replay the original to argue if the first game is worth taking control of.

FBT - Remedy are the hipsters of gaming. They seem to deliberately subvert genres and expectations as too mainstream; Control should be amazing - a woman searching for her lost brother in a self-aware building under attack by an interdimensional being called ‘Hiss’ while investigating everyday objects imbued with trickster-like powers? Yet Control is so derivative it has to be some sort of comment on the generics of gaming. Bloody hipsters.

TheMorty - Gaming isn’t what it used to be in FBT’s golden era. Multiplayer doesn’t mean split screening or attaching two Atari’s together using a data cable. Now every game is made as an MMO with a campaign thrown in as an afterthought. Even games standalone single player narratives like Destiny or The Division force you into teaming up to complete missions. So, when gaming ‘Hipsters’ like Remedy stick to their roots and continue to avoid mainstream trends, well, they can just shut up and take my money.

FBT - It’s like being reminded of better games. We’ve got the wise janitor, multiple realities and universes, the guy who knows but won’t tell, an unexplained evil zombifying folks, random unexplained superpowers, a small open world, it feels like your Steam Games list on shuffle. It’s acting as if it’s mind-bending but really, it’s just patience breaking.

TM - Buying a Remedy game is no different to buying a novel. The style and structure of an auteur is often so unique that you can judge a book by its cover and know exactly what you’re getting into just from the name on the spine. So, if Max Payne and Alan Wake weren’t your cup of bourbon then what on Earth are you even doing reading this article?! Sam Lake doesn’t want to be ground-breaking or re-invent the genre. He doesn’t want to sandbox or help the company diversify its portfolio. He wants to tell a story that takes you along on one hell of a ride. Control is no different.

FBT - Jesse infiltrates the Bureau of Control, who investigate unnatural events. They’re based in the ‘Oldest House’ which can shift and alter but the house behaves itself the entire time we’re here, other than blocking routes because the narrative demanded it. Why isn’t it like Layers of Fear, altering to keep us off-balance, shifting mid-battle, letting us use changes or shifts to our advantage and jazz up the fights? We should be in fights like the hotel scene in Inception, but instead we just wander around a 1970s council office block.

TM - The ‘Oldest House’ has an eerie aura, sure it’s dark and drab but the lack of colour mixed with a menacing soundtrack gives you a worrying feeling that once you enter a room you might just turn around to find the entrance is no longer an exit. Don’t get me wrong – it’s no Evil Within or Alone in the Dark where you might struggle to sleep playing after the sun goes down, but it’s not supposed to be a survival game. Control equally balances action and drama so that you get a wonderfully tense build-up followed by an action-packed climax.

FBT - You’re having the same fights over and over and over. Every time you enter an area, the same group appears. You fight, move on, return later and look who’s back! Worse, they’re not fun to fight with. They’re like Doom Imps trudging toward you no matter how twisted looking they might be, and because health regenerates and the gun recharges there’s absolutely zero loss or gain to the encounters. Yeah, you pick up upgrades, like a mod that increases firepower by 1%. Woo. Jessie gains supernatural abilities but can only manage two attacks before recharging and they’re boring sub-Skyrim shouts for powers. Getting into a firefight with the same guys you just put down in similar hallways while waiting for Jessie, her gun and her powers to recharge is depressing. Die and you’re sent miles back to the nearest fast travel point, where everyone’s repopulated.