THE E3ODUS [E3 2019 Preview]: Control.

Robert “The DCD” Workman

CONTROL (Remedy Entertainment/505 Games – X1/PS4/PC – 2019) – Remedy is one of those developers that isn’t afraid to take risks. And as a result, players reap the rewards. Max Payne and its sequels paid off big time with its combination of shoot-em-up thrills and slo-mo dives; Alan Wake managed to pay off with its spooky storyline and solid gameplay; and even Quantum Break packed innovation around every turn, as well as a fun little miniseries that went along with the game. Watch the NEW E3 Teaser Trailer here…

Now we have Control, which could be the company’s biggest and most innovative game to date. It’s because it gives players an unprecedented amount of, well, control, as they can literally do all kinds of crazy things with the main character, a federal agent by the name of Jesse Faden. And that’s going to make one big highlight at E3 this week…

The Federal Bureau of Control has some big stuff going on. It’s not just another day at the office, as some spooky things are happening. Not Alan Wake style things either. Like some weird “what the F!” sort of things, with people flying around and not moving. And it’s spreading like wildfire. So now, with her boss dead and very little to go on, Jesse takes the helm and must find out what’s going on, taking on a deadly force known as the Hiss and trying to save whoever hasn’t been taken control of.

The game has a lot of elements similar to other third person shooters, including the ability to shoot with a trusty sidearm. However, there are some tweaks. For instance, you can now charge your shots for better firepower, and you can actually “mod” your weapon with little tweaks here and there over the course of your adventure. You can even find ones that aren’t so common, which will prove helpful over the course of your game.

And, like Quantum Break, you can actually use abilities that give Jesse sort of special abilities like her enemies. This includes flying in the air ala Superman, and being able to fly towards enemies. She can also slam into the ground, with an authorative pound, should the situation call for it. What’s more, she can use the Force (not the actual Force, mind you) and grab objects to throw at enemies, in case she wants to reserve her bullets. This is handy when foes fire things at her, as she can chuck them right back like they’re nothing.

But then comes Seize, and this is probably the most entertaining of her abilities. Once she becomes surrounded by her adversaries, she can take control of her enemies once they become low on health. As she does this, they fill back up and she can take full control of them. Think of it as Jedi mind control, but not actual Jedi mind control. (You get my drift.) This allows her to stay safe and even replenish her health for a few while a secondary gun works on her behalf. It’s a useful ability, and one that’s very, very cool. But you can only use it so often, so save it for when it really counts.

The game has a wide open world to explore, as well as an Astral Plane where you’ll have to track down the Hiss and its allies. So you’ll need to watch out for secrets and other places where enemies could be afoot. This makes the game wide open with its appeal, probably the biggest in Remedy’s library. Yes, even bigger than Quantum Break and Alan Wake – and those were whoppers.

Remedy has gone all out with the game’s visuals thus far, really representing great design within the world. What’s more, they called in a number of their veterans to fill out the voice cast, including James McCaffrey – Max Payne! – as Zachariah Trench, the former Federal Bureau of Control director, as well as former Alan Wake voice actor Matthew Porretta as the head of research, Dr. Casper Darling. And there’s also Courtney Hope, who previously worked on Quantum Break as Beth Wilder. Remedy knows its veterans, and they’re delivering quite well thus far.

Control could easily be one of this year’s sleeper hits. And we’ll be keeping a close eye on how well it performs at E3 next week. Needless to say, the developer – and its publisher at 505 Games – is in, ahem, control of its own destiny. EHHHH?!

-Robert Workman

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