Control gives the idea of being a game out of the ordinary: with each new video or information disseminated by the development team, we realize how the work represents a sort of summa of the poetics that Remedy carries on since its origins. In this new production there are both the spectacularity of the shootings already tested in Max Payne and the manipulation of the scenario for playful purposes tested in Quantum Break and there is also a taste for a cryptic and suggestive narrative like that of Alan Wake.
Insomma, Control seems the quintessence of the philosophy of Sam Lake, probably the most visionary and complex game ever conceived by the Finnish author. If our impressions prove to be correct, we will know it only during the summer, when the project will see the light, ceasing to populate our dreams and materialize in our hands. Meanwhile, while we wait to be able to test it firsthand and test all its potential, we try to summarize everything we know about Control, in order to keep our hype under "control".
A "strange" narration
That Remedy has a special eye for the narrative sector is a fact established by years of honorable service: in every product of the study, storytelling has always adapted to the subject of the story, taking on characters and connotations perfectly in line with the vision of Sam Lake.
In Max Payne for example, the noir and graphic novel cut went perfectly with the nocturnal and tormented adventures of the protagonist; in the same way, the atmospheres à la Twin Peaks with that surreal touch typical of Lynch's television series, served as an impeccable frame for the writer's nightmare; and finally the transmedial experiment of Quantum Break tried to revolutionize the videogame narrative hybridizing it with the live-action, through the presence of moral choices that shaped the unfolding of events just as the protagonists controlled the passing of time.
And now it's the turn of Control : we still know very little about the method with which Remedy intends to lead the plot, but from the team's words it is certain that the story will play a role central, cloaked in a mysterious aura and not always easy to understand .
The focus of the script revolves around Federal Bureau of Control an agency that deals with studying and containing paranormal phenomena: the head of the department is Jesse Faden , new director who shortly after taking office is faced with a serious danger that threatens to undermine the very foundations of the organization.
Within the walls of the Bureau an intangible entity has infiltrated, known as The Hiss or " the hiss ", which has the ability to take possession of the bodies and control them at will, turning them into lifeless shells or into aggressive and murderous beasts.
Jesse seems immune to the power of the supernatural presence, and clearly it will be up to her to end her threat. Courtney Hope the actress who lends features to the protagonist, talks about her character as a problematic woman, often treated as an outcast because of her strangeness, probably linked to her superhuman abilities: that is why, when he arrives in The Oldest House – the headquarters of the Bureau located in Manhattan – Jesse feels, in his own way, "at home".
The events she witnesses, the absurd situations she observes with her own eyes, make her understand that there are realities in the world that go far beyond rationality.
As an outsider he was, now Miss Faden becomes the only person able to bring order back to chaos: based on these premises, it is possible that Control proposes an intimate and existentialist in which – through the collision between the human and paranormal dimension – we will also probe the psyche of the director. A journey halfway between the material and the dream plane, discovering Jesse's past and his role in the plot of destiny. The intention of Remedy, in any case, is to build an extremely multifaceted, complex and evocative narrative context: in this sense, two single-player DLCs have already been announced which will expand the scope of the story, entitled Altered World Events and The Foundation . Based on what has been revealed by the team, it is not a question of content forcibly removed from the Control plot, but of additional add-ons connected to the history of a rather stratified universe.
A weapon pleased to be able to serve
To what apparently, the roots of Federal Bureau of Control sink back in time, many years before Jesse's arrival. This is demonstrated not only by the name of the headquarters, called " La Casa Vecchissima ", but also by the presence of the so-called Service Weapon the weapon that the protagonist picks up in the early stages of game.
It is a protean object, which has taken many features in the past, serving all the predecessors of miss Faden. In the period in which Control is set, Service Weapon manifests itself with the appearance of a gun capable of changing its composition: on what are the origins of the weapon, at present, we do not know something, and we are certain that the discovery of its function will be one of the narrative cornerstones of the plot.
At the moment, it is certain that the gameplay of Control is based precisely on the combined use of Service Weapon with the abilities provided to the red-haired heroine. The pistol, as we anticipated, has the faculty to change its appearance and become other types of guns, each characterized by different effects and range of damage. Each conformation can also be improved during the experience, so as to give further variety to a gameplay that seems orchestrated with undoubted expertise.
Inheriting the dynamism of Max Payne with the scenic virtuosity of Quantum Break, Control's shooter phases appear as a concentration of dynamism, speed and a touch of tactics . Jesse's abilities allow her to manage the space around her through the wise use of telekinesis: the director can then collect any object to hurl her at her enemies, create shields of debris around her body to protect herself from attacks, and even mix the power of levitation with other talents to create large-scale lethal combinations.
Observing the battlefield from above, dodging shots in the air and counterattacking from a safe position is just one of the strategies the player has available to free himself from the threat of the creatures that infest the Bureau.
If a this we add the different types of fire that Service Weapon is able to operate, we will find ourselves in front of a gameplay that makes experimentalism its strong point. As if that were not enough, among the qualities of Jesse there is also the faculty of mentally controlling the weakened targets in such a way as to induce them to fight alongside him for a limited time. Remedy explains that such capacity could have significant repercussions on the management of the clashes: for example, if among the opposing ranks there is a creature capable of restoring the health of his companions, recruiting her among our hosts we will obtain a curative support during the battle . They are small solutions that should give the gameplay of Control a strategic twist without a doubt fascinating, useful to balance the apparently pyrotechnic, bombastic and somewhat chaotic spirit of duels.
A changing world
Jesse's skills will not only have an offensive function. In fact, levitation will allow you to fully explore the scenarios, following a vertical progression. From what we know, the whole adventure will be set solely within The Oldest House but this in no way affects the variety of the game setting.
The Federal Bureau of Control is indeed a multi-faceted place, like Service Weapon which constantly changes architecture, showing a more realistic and "ground" design, now a dreamy and enigmatic vision, in which the lesson of a master like Escher echoes. To give the game world greater importance than in the past, Remedy has chosen to abandon the linearity that characterized the previous works in order to embrace a more free progress, more similar to that of a metroidvania .
In this way, the evolution of the powers of Faden will move hand in hand with the discovery of the map, which from time to time will make available previously precluded areas, depending – obviously – on the abilities obtained by the protagonist.
The changeability of the Bureau and the unpredictability of its structure also bring a renewed system of artificial intelligence management, which has been completely rewritten: the hordes of enemies possess less scriptate routines, and their number and their danger should adapt procedurally both to the area of the building in which we will be and to the qualities of the heroine. In short, an adaptive mold difficulty, fully in line with the key feature of all production, namely change. Everything in Control is subject to mutation, from the scenario to the supplied weapon, passing through the level of challenge and the tactics that the player is able to use to his advantage. In the midst of all this pot-pourri of possibilities, the development team is always pulling the strings of rhythm and storytelling: the attention given to the construction of the universe and to the script translates into a series of very important secondary activities to the purposes of narrative, which do not obey the logic of randomness or the functionalities filling up with trivial fetch quests. Any mission that deviates from the main path will somehow still be connected with the background of the Bureau and will therefore help to enrich the context in which we will move. Or, rather, in which " we will float ".