Control is probably the most mysterious game we’ve seen at E3 2018. Remedy’s new project made its debut during Sony’s press conference with a very stylish trailer, but didn’t tell us much at all about what it actually was. This year, we got to take a peek at the game through a closed doors presentation, and we have at least some idea of what Control is about.
The game puts you in control of protagonist Jesse Faden, who works for the Federal Bureau of Control. When the Director mysteriously passes away, she assumes the new position, and with the job comes a few added perks and powers. What we’re really trying to say here is that she now has the ability to levitate and move objects with her mind. In the world of Control, the Bureau is trying to fight back a mysterious force known only as the Hiss, and it’s up to Jesse to face this threat head on and prevent it from corrupting even more of her fellow agents.
As seen in the game’s debut trailer, Jesse’s main weapon of choice is this neat little revolver called the Director’s Pistol. The gun’s barrel can change its shape and form, and while the Remedy reps were rather tight-lipped about it, they hinted that this was the primary way of upgrading and modifying the weapon so that it can serve different functions as you progress. Control isn’t satisfied with just being a third-person shooter, however; Jesse also has telekinetic abilities that allow her to manipulate objects in the environment. She can manipulate debris to form a protective shield around her, or use them to attack her enemies. Control’s visual design is rather impressive, with every enemy encounter looking beautifully chaotic as trash starts flying all over the screen.
The demo showed off the Bureau headquarters, which has been overrun by corrupted agents. As Jesse moved from room to room, we saw that the Hiss wasn’t just messing with the humans, it was also messing with the structure of the building, bending it in ways that shouldn’t be physically possible. You’ll see bodies levitating in the air, strange corridor structures and geometric shapes that don’t make sense, and all this comes together to create a dreamlike atmosphere that almost feels Inception-esque. It’s intriguing, and it certainly made me interested in seeing even more of what the game had to offer.
At one point in the demo, Jesse also got the ability to levitate, further enhancing the ethereal (yet also oddly structured) nature of the game. According to the Remedy reps, Jesse can obtain new powers and enhance them through side quests available throughout Control. They made it quite clear that this wasn’t an open world game, but rather an open-ended one with some sandbox elements. In the demo, we walked past an NPC who was seen staring very intently at a refrigerator. When he caught sight of Jesse in his peripheral vision, he started calling for help, as he is forced to continually stare at the refrigerator, lest it “deviates” and becomes a real threat to him. Unfortunately for him, the presenter didn’t have time to help, and Jesse left the man to panic on his own.
Control is really weird and mind-bending, but in the best way possible. It’s hard to really make sense of what it is, but the game’s unique setting and self-assured attitude has left me wanting more.