This kind of came out of nowhere for me. I adored Alan Wake but didn’t really follow the developer due to Quantum Break not catching my interest. Control seem to come out with little fanfare, it was only after accidentally buying PlayStation Now instead of PlayStation Plus that I discovered it.
What awaited me was the mysteriousness of Alan Wake on overdrive. It turns out that the events of Bright Falls was just one supernatural incident out of a great many, and there’s a secret government division dedicated to investigate them all.
You play as Jessie, who has been searching for the Federal Bureau of Control after her brother was taken after an “Altered World Event” she was part of. Upon finally arriving at their headquarters, it in itself a very mysterious building in the middle of New York (that nobody notices unless they know about it), something has gone terribly wrong:, nobody is around other than a strange janitor. You discover the director’s office only to find him dead, and the gun he was holding chooses Jessie as the new director – or more specifically The Board, a group of entities living in the Astral Plane (a white world with floating structures and a large upside-down pyramid you can see from any spot).
Throughout Control, you will encounter many mysteries both large and small. Some can be figured out, some will remain unsolved, with only some clues. Some brilliant moments involve dealing with “Objects of Power” or “Altered Items” (random, everyday objects with supernatural properties – objects of power can be controlled, altered items can just be contained. You can end up chasing a rubber duck, or playing traffic light against an actual traffic light. One of my favourite moments is the Ashtray maze, a section that feels like you’re in a music video, with amazing music from Poets of the Fall.
Your main ways of fighting is with your special gun (which can turn into different forms based on your preference) and psychic powers. Gliding around and throwing objects is always immense fun, and even though the challenge grows, it feels like you’re getting more powerful throughout the game.
There are a ton of secrets to find, often with extra background information, which I found interesting enough to try and hunt down everything (even returning to all previous locations after getting a new power/keycard). From memos between staff to a creepy puppet TV show, each document adds to the eerie lore.
Add in lots of frantic action, some fun but strange characters, a nice visual style and Control is a magnificent experience.