Once Remedy Entertainment was mainly associated with the Max Payne series and Rockstar Games. Then it came a few years later, side by side with Microsoft. After the premiere of Quantum Break came the time of separation. Finns went in the direction that might have feared some people. First it was announced that Remedy would develop a single player campaign for Crossfire X, and then the cooperation with a small publisher 505 Games was announced. One could have expected much more from such a team. As a studio fan from northern Europe, I was nothing to worry about. In my head there was even an image of Control as a smaller game, tailored to the modest capabilities of the Italian publisher. Finally, I am surprised. Positively and not only in terms of the quality of the game.
Let's start with history, because it always plays a key role in Remedy games. The fun begins in the hallway of a large building, the seat of a mysterious Bureau. There is practically no one there, only a caretaker with a horror movie-like appearance who washes the floors. Our heroine, Jesse, is heading towards the director's office, as if for a reason unknown to us, she was drawn to it. She finds the body on the spot. The man just shot himself in the head and our heroine grabs his mysterious weapon. From now on she is the new director. However, it is necessary to establish what happened in the headquarters of the Bureau and to achieve Jesse's personal goal. It is because of him that he is in this mysterious place. Does it sound strange? In fact, it is. While over time, Sam Lake, the screenwriter and director known from Remedy's games, skillfully explains what's going on around him, the beginning may actually be a bit confusing.
The story in Remedy has something extraordinary in it that is difficult to describe unequivocally. The whole world, sometimes a bit surreal, seems normal to the main character. Seeing more and more amazing things, she changes her mind as if it were all easy to accept. The creators have completely eliminated from the game the element of a confused hero, who must first be amazed at the surrounding incredibilities, and then get used to them. This is a feature of the whole presented world. Quite quickly we meet one of the employees of the Bureau. The woman reveals a few secrets to us, but she also learns from us what is going on around her. She also does not seem surprised or surprised by our information.
The above description may not be fully understandable, but as I mentioned, it is difficult to describe this specific feature of the world. What is important is that this is not art for art, but the intended action of artists. Initially, Control actually gives the impression of a distorted game, where you don't know exactly what it's all about. However, with time it becomes more and more meaningful. It is a logical story in which there is no intro explaining the basis of the plot. Sam Lake, however, gives the players a certain narrative tool, which will make it a little easier to discover the intricacies of the script. Jesse talks to other people, but different thoughts pass through her head. We can hear them, so we know what the heroine is thinking at the moment. It is a simple, but rarely used solution in games, which adds some depth to the protagonist. It is very interesting to observe what the heroine thinks and what she says. You can see that in many moments she plays a role and does not always want to tell her interlocutors what her main motivation is. After all, she is in the office for the first time, for unexplained reasons she suddenly became its director, and this is a normal situation for everyone around her.
If I had to attach myself to something in Control's story, it was first of all a difficult beginning. I like the script to outline at least the basics of the world from the very first minutes. This time, however, Remedy decided to throw the player into the deep water and not to tell him anything. Question marks appear every few minutes. Nevertheless, quite quickly I manage to catch enough to feel comfortable in this story. That's good, because the scenario prepared by Sam Lake is at a high level. I'm not going to put him on a par with the story in Alan Wake, because this is an absolute mastery for me. After all, Control is not a disgrace to Remeda. On the contrary, it is another production confirming the high level of this team. Everything is in place here - an interesting and unusual world or characteristic characters. For the future, however, I would prefer that the plot in Finns' games is more about twists and turns (as in Alan Wake) than about discovering the contrary rules of world physics (as in Control).
In the title of the review I mentioned two games, which fans will feel at home playing Control. Let's start with a more obvious example, that is Quantum Break. Control shares with the previous production of Remedy not only the graphic engine. The malicious will say that the recycling of assets was at a high level. Even Jesse's skills are reminiscent of what the hero did in the title created for Microsoft. So there are similarities and probably I wouldn't be surprised if Control is a spin off Quantum Break. Spoiler - it's a completely different world. Alan Wake's fans will also notice some delicacies. There was a norm for possessed household appliances, which attacked the title hero. Something identical is not present in the latest production of Remedy. During the game, however, you can see that both games were made by the same people. If a game about a rebellion of refrigerators, TV sets or toasters were ever to be created, it is obvious who would be responsible for it.
For a longer time I would like to stop at comparisons to Resident Evil 2, which due to this year's remake is certainly fresh in the memory of many players. Control of course is not a horror movie and there are no zombies, but from the production of Capcomu draws the way to build the world. Remedy closed the whole story in one building, whose nooks and crannies we are gradually discovering. Initially we have access to only a small part of it, but over time we gain new access cards or skills, which allows us to visit new locations. Control, of course, is not a sandbox. It's a bit closer to metroidvania. However, the comparison to Resident Evil 2 is more appropriate, because there is less backtracking. Personally, I was a bit surprised by this solution, but I must admit that it works quite well.
Despite the little diversified locations, boredom does not sneak into the game. Remedy diversifies the fun by adding a lot of additional mechanics, which we haven't seen in their productions before. The first thing that stands out are the additional tasks, which appear from time to time. There is even room for small, temporary tasks, in which we usually have to eliminate enemy forces. There are also challenges (e.g. kill 50 enemies without dying on the way) or a lot of improvements collected from killed enemies that can be used for character and weapon development. So unless the story itself is too long to lick walls and do most of the additional tasks, Control will last for a dozen or so hours of fun. Let's emphasize this - very good fun.
At this point it is appropriate to go to the fight, which in Control plays a very important role. As I mentioned above, there are many similarities to Quantum Break. This time, however, the creators decided to make a few changes. First of all, the basic ability of the heroine became raising objects and throwing them. In the second half of the game most enemies kill themselves this way. It is fast, effective and extremely effective. It also perfectly matches the very dynamic pace of action, which forces you to stay in constant motion. The lack of a shielding system only helps in this. Thanks to all of this, fights in Control give you a lot of fun. Gun play is definitely better than I thought it would be, and Jesse's skills give the skirmishes an incredible charm. In terms of combat system Control is therefore the best Remedy game ever. Strong words, but in my opinion true.
The time spent with Control is definitely a success. This is a very good game, which skillfully combines the climate of Quantum Break with the construction of the world with Resident Evil 2. However, a few of the above mentioned problems makes it the weakest AAA production (Finns also made two mobile games) from Remedy's portfolio. I consider their other titles to be brilliant (and in the case of Alan Wake even outstanding), so even a slightly lower level of Control does not make it not worth to play it. On the contrary, I strongly encourage you to try this production. Especially if someone likes linear games with a strong history. For such players Control is a must-have position.