Control Impressions

E3 2018 Control Impressions: Remedy Unleashed

Another really intriguing title I was able to check out at E3 2018 was Remedy’s Control. Originally known only as P7, this game was officially unveiled during the PlayStation E3 2018 showcase. I was invited to check out a hands-off demo behind closed doors with some other press. As a huge fan of previous Remedy titles, I had to check it out. The demo we were shown took place right before the halfway point of the game. In Control, players step into the shoes of Jesse Faden, the new Director of the Federal Bureau of Control. You can check out the cover art featuring her below:

Control Impressions

Now, here’s my Control impressions!

Control Impressions

In the game, the Federal Bureau of Control handles all mysterious or paranormal artifacts, keeping them away from an unsuspecting public. Their base of operation and the setting for the game, is the Oldest House. The Oldest House is a massive, labyrinth-like place that is biggest on the inside and is constantly shifting, with the rooms evolving and new paths emerging before the player’s eyes. Recently, the Bureau has been invaded by a mysterious force known only as the Hiss. The Hiss have strange powers, appearing to paralyze and possess different people, turning some of them into Drifters with dangerous abilities.

Remedy’s Northlight Engine tech was put to good use in Quantum Break and it’s only got better since. The textures inside the everchanging rooms are super-detailed, different light sources play off each other and even random office clutter looks unique. While the only character we get an extended look at is Jesse herself, her character model is incredibly high-quality and the image presentation as a whole is crisp and clean.

With the Hiss on the loose and perhaps other nefarious things at work, it’s fortunate that Jesse has a variety of powers at her disposal. She can instantly form a Shield, levitating nearby rubble and debris to block gunfire. She can also float up into the air, maneuvering to reach otherwise-inaccessible areas. Remedy explicitly stated that Control’s level design is far more Metroidvania-esque than their past titles. She also has some firepower in the form of the Service Weapon, the personal firearm of the Director. The Service Weapon can adjust to alternate forms, such as the short-range Shatter form, which functions something like a shotgun. Remedy confirmed that Jesse will have access to more powers and Service Weapon forms but they aren’t talking about them right now.

As the demo went on, Jesse passed by a man in a room, sitting down and watching a refrigerator. While she didn’t linger, Remedy confirmed this was one of multiple sidequests that players can choose to pursue.

After the demo ended, I asked the developers about how Remedy has always blurred the lines with other forms of entertainment, such as the cinematic style present in Max Payne, the episodic nature of Alan Wake and the TV show within Quantum Break. They confirmed that Control would also be pushing the boundaries with new elements, such as quick full-motion videos layered into cutscenes or while the player is walking.

As I mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Remedy’s past work. I loved Alan Wake and while it wasn’t perfect, I thought Quantum Break was a fantastic, unusual experience. Based on the demo I was shown, Control could easily be Remedy’s strangest, most interesting game yet. It’s certainly their most ambitious and I can’t wait to find out more. Control is releasing sometime in 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

If you’re interested in checking out any of my other E3 2018 impressions, here’s the list of coverage so far:
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