Between the primary Max Payne video games, Alan Wake and Quantum Break, Treatment Entertainment have by no means been afraid to experiment with numerous mixtures of motion games and a robust narrative focus. Even if the results typically get awkward (comparable to Quantum Break’s TV present/recreation fusion that principally just resulted in four live-action “episodes” being inserted between chapters), one does need to admire them for making an attempt. And now we have now their newest effort, Management. Taking inspiration from the SCP Foundation, Control sees Remedy doubling down on the paranormal, giving us a science fiction action recreation with the occasional twist of horror. So, is their latest experiment a hit? Let’s take a look…
Because the aforementioned SCP inspiration might recommend, Management facilities around the Federal Bureau of Management (or FBC), a secret government group designed to research potential paranormal situations described as Altered World Occasions (or AWEs), retrieve any seemingly unusual or altered gadgets that produce unusual conduct and should have the causes of these events, and take them again to headquarters to further research them. Headquarters on this case being The Oldest House, an enormous building in New York Metropolis which you could only discover — and even see — in case you’re deliberately on the lookout for it.
Enter our heroine, Jesse Faden. Jesse has arrived on the FBC in quest of her lacking brother, having cause to consider he’s situated right here. And after an encounter with an odd janitor ally, she someway finds her strategy to the office of Director Trench, the present head of the FBC…juuust as Trench commits suicide. Jesse is urged to select up the Service Weapon, the gun that seemingly killed Trench, and in doing so, instantly becomes the brand new Director for the FBC. And just in time, since a mysterious entity often known as The Hiss has invaded the FBC, possessing several staff and Jesse has to combat it now. All whereas coping with the varied oddities of the FBC. Oh, and the mysterious voice in her head that urged her to select up the Service Weapon within the first place.
I might go into extra detail concerning the aforementioned oddities, however actually, they need to be seen to be believed. But as a style, you will have a bizarre upside-down alien pyramid referred to as the Board that you simply reply to, the Oldest Home itself seemingly being alive on some degree and continually shifting round, mining for alien substances, weird mould infestations and much more. I say that Management has a twist of horror, however it’s the more subdued and surreal selection, such because the mix of creepiness and confusion that comes from a sealed-up division housing an item producing an infinite of clocks simply laying round that staff are freaked out at. Probably moreso than Treatment’s previous games, Management nails down that Twilight Zone-style environment.
It helps that the visuals are a delight, contributing to the surreal feeling. The brutalist architecture of The Oldest House is a deal with, with sharp, clean surfaces and cube-like or squared buildings in all places. The home, nevertheless, does not take to trendy know-how nicely for numerous reasons (akin to not being ingrained in the public subconscious yet), so older know-how is the norm right here, with pneumatic tube delivery methods, CRT screens and VHS tapes, and reel-to-reel audio recorders. The mix of retro know-how, brutalist buildings and numerous office settings makes for a very distinctive visible type that’s sure to seize your consideration. And that’s not even stepping into a few of the distinctive sights in sure departments…
In fact, we do nonetheless have a story happening in this fairly beautiful home, which is properly executed. That stated, while Jesse’s search for her brother and the battle towards the Hiss makes for a satisfying most important story, where Control really excels is in its world-building. Via the primary occasions, numerous aspect missions and collectibles, you begin to study more concerning the varieties of insane stuff the FBC has to go through, including documentations and first-hand glimpses of the varied AWEs and Altered Gadgets, which take the forms of swan boats, picnic baskets, rubber ducks and the like. The true highlights are if you see the supernatural bits collide with day-to-day workplace work, like complaints filed about disappearing loos as a result of sudden constructing shifts.
Control has a shocking humorousness as nicely at occasions, which properly supplies a stability in tone when combined with the looming, otherworldly menace. Jesse can surprisingly snark fairly properly at occasions, the surviving FBC staff is usually a shockingly chipper bunch (especially these obsessed with science), and numerous notes and memos detailing odd events can get bizarre. Not to point out Remedy’s signature bits of live-action footage, together with a present referred to as Threshold Youngsters which…nicely, again, it’s essential see it to consider it. Seeing it, nevertheless, can imply looking for it. Control, you see, can also be partially a metroidvania recreation as properly, and not only does this imply advancing the story by unlocking new areas by way of sure powers and using keycards, however it also means exploring the deep corners of each space for numerous secrets and techniques (including certain aspect missions) as nicely, which are plentiful. So there’s all the time so much to do and meaning spending hours exploring The Oldest House. And even when it simply means finding a single doc about the right way to deal with an Altered Merchandise, it’ll probably be value it.
The Altered Gadgets make up a great chunk of Control’s extra fascinating parts, nevertheless it’s the Objects of Power (or OoPs, because the FBC apparently loves cute acronyms) which are even more essential. Not only are this stuff vastly more powerful and harmful, however additionally they grant numerous talents to those who bond with them. So naturally, Jesse has to bond with various of them in an effort to achieve numerous expertise resembling telekinesis, levitation, thoughts control and more. And with that, we head into the combat, which is palms down probably the most pleasant and satisfying part of Control.
In addition to the skills granted by the OoPs, Jesse also can improve the Service Weapon by way of numerous abstract parts with a purpose to unlock new types for it. All of the sudden, your pistol can now be a machine gun, shotgun and grenade launcher multi functional. Oh, and it has infinite ammo, which simply just recharges. Not only is using all these instruments straightforward to tug off even within the heat of fight, however it’s just so fun. You’ll be able to unload dozens of bullets on one enemy unexpectedly with speedy hearth, then seize a fireplace extinguisher together with your mind and launch it at another enemy whereas waiting for ammo to refill, simply evade an incoming rocket right after with a touch, then float into the air to spot the enemy that fired the rocket and change to another mode that lets the Service Weapon deliver a charged blast at them. It’s clean and satisfying, especially given the detail put into the destructible environments at occasions. As that instance might recommend, the Hiss are quite capable of putting up a nice problem. As the game progresses, several types of Hiss seem, they usually attack in nice and different teams which might be all the time robust but truthful (properly, save for a few low cost moments, just like the one rare breed of Hiss that may flip invisible and drain almost three quarters of your well being with one hit). There are even a couple of boss battles as properly – mainly reserved for the aspect missions – that both make for more fascinating bits of story and a few tougher fights.
Management isn’t good, in fact, and does have some issues. For one, a couple of features just like the generic Bureau Alert timed missions and Countermeasure missions feel superfluous, along with the power to craft random mods. Progress was already clean enough and I felt no have to deal with them, as a result of whereas they could present private mods and weapon mods that can increase things, enemies virtually bleed mods as you advance and crates containing them are all over the place. They could add just a little additional replay worth for some and their addition doesn’t harm something, though. The PS4 model additionally has some notable framerate points in the mean time during a couple of the more frenetic moments. I by no means bumped into any of those issues that brought on hindrances, but if top-notch graphics are a should, chances are you’ll need to think about the PC version.
Control solely had two major flaws in my eyes. The first comes in the type of the map. For a recreation that clearly has metroidvania parts, it’s troublesome to get round typically. That’s because as an alternative of a detailed map that you simply get if you pause the game like in a number of different motion video games, as an alternative you press one button and the map for the current sector seems, overlaying the proper aspect of the display whereas the motion still takes place. And never solely are gadgets and areas you come across resembling locked doorways not marked on the map as you progress, but you possibly can’t even zoom in on the map or change between floors. Sure, the sport encourages exploration and to find hidden secrets and techniques on your own, however one shouldn’t sacrifice efficiency to take action.
The opposite notable flaw comes with the checkpoints. Specifically, the fact that the Management Factors which you access so as to mark your progress and achieve fast travel between them are the checkpoints. Which wouldn’t be an excessive amount of of a problem, besides there are a number of situations the place the Control Factors are spaced out fairly a bit, requiring you to do a fair quantity of backtracking do you have to die. And it gets even more annoying when you must cope with respawning enemies. Sure, I get that the enemies have to respawn for health opportunities and methods to earn mods, however in areas like Central Research where there’s notable gaps between Control Points and missions you need to go to, it will possibly get shortly aggravating.
One might simply make the argument that Management might very nicely be Treatment’s magnum opus. Not only have they managed to craft a enjoyable and insane world filled with surreal delights and impressive visuals, but they loaded it with an enormous amount of secrets and techniques to hunt for and paired it alongside a number of the yr’s greatest fight. The top result is an outstanding third-person motion recreation that you simply shouldn’t miss out on. The game might finish with a not-so-subtle trace at upcoming DLC set to return in the future, however the terrific gameplay leaves one wanting more. Plus, there’s nonetheless a whole lot of The Oldest House to discover, even after the primary recreation ends, so we’ll easily be occupied with extra of Control, and we wouldn’t need it some other method.