Modern games from major publishers have been lacking recently. Few choose to take risks on crafting new IP, leaving us with iterations on common formulas to an extreme. Even Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, a game I'm very much looking forward to, is just the love child of Ghost Recon Wildlands and Assassin's Creed: Odyssey.
When Control started getting press before release, I was cautiously optimistic. Anthem was the most recent "new idea" I played, and like almost everybody, I got burned. It was fun, but after beating the main story, I found the novelty of playing what is essentially Iron Man growing a little stale (plus, it is still plagued with performance and stability issues).
When Control came out, I watched a bit of gameplay. I read some of the articles coming out. Things seemed.. Good. Really good. Was there really a new IP out that was worth my time?
The answer is yes.
I picked it up this weekend, and have been playing it on and off the entire time. If you want a full review, there are plenty out there; I'm just going to touch on a few reasons why I enjoy Control, and what sets it apart for me (plus a few negatives).
I'm not a fan of ultra-hard games. I tried Sekiro: Shadow's Die Twice, and was amazed at how beautiful it was. I was also disenfranchised by how difficult it was.
I'm not a young, spry gamer like I used to be. I don't have the twitch reflexes needed to really "pwn" anymore. Hell, I have to take frequent breaks because of my severe chronic pain due to arthritis. As well, I've got responsibilities. I can't spend hours trying to get past a section of a game in one sitting. Having to fight a boss more than a few times in order to figure out how to beat it is an exercise in futility for me, because I've got to cook, clean, and work.
Control bridges that gap for me.
It isn't an ultra-hard, but it isn't a cakewalk, either. The first real boss I encountered swiftly owned me while I was still figuring out how to control Control.
Still, I enjoyed every minute of it.
The graphics are amazing. As an artist, I appreciate great visuals in a video game. Control creates a visual atmosphere that is spectacular.
The story is interesting in that it.. Well, I don't really know how to describe it. It's delivery is probably one of the best I've ever seen. The internal monologue, notes left by others in the game world, and interaction between characters is delivered in a sense that's teetering on absurdist. Dark notes over tongue-in-cheek excitement over developments in the Federal Bureau of Control craft a world for you that leave you wanting to read every single note left behind. I get as excited progressing in the game as I do reading those memos, redacted documents, and more. There are a few flaws here and there, but I'm willing to overlook them for the overall beauty of it.
And the main character.. I love strong female leads in games, and this one is a definite powerhouse. She's got her vulnerabilities, but her voice acting and story all tie in so well to the gameplay that I just.. I love it. I don't think I could come up with any way to accurately describe just how well it all fits.
That's the greatest strength of this game. Everything fits. It all works in concert as a cohesive piece of art in gaming.
You almost never see this anymore with large studios.
The game isn't without it's negatives, however; there are performance issues across all platforms, but that is being patched. I do see some FPS drops here and there, but overall it is playable, and when the Sept. patch comes to PC, I fully expect to feel secure in the game's performance.
The map is frustrating. VERY frustrating. It can be hard to find your way somewhere in this game, as there are no waypoints.
As well, enemy visibility is limited at times. This isn't as much an accessibility issue as it is a gameplay issue; You can't always tell where an enemy is (especially the flying ones) when you're trying to avoid getting pounded into the Old House's foundation.
The fact that enemies respawn in old areas is annoying too. I understand the mechanic, as it has been around for a long time, but it's one that I've never liked. If I've cleared an area, let it stay clear, please.
Finally, it took me 4 hours to realize there is a CROUCH BUTTON. It took me an hour after getting my first real power (launch) to learn that I could use the middle mouse button instead of trying to move around while holding the E key. Control, ironically enough, has a control problem. How meta.
Anyway, if you're on the fence, watch some gameplay videos. You'll quickly learn if the game is for you.