In the dark clouds of the Hiss, the Next-Gen version of Control has caused much ink to flow. Offered at a high price even to owners of the original game, it caused a noisy wave of protest at a time when Smart Delivery is being emulated. Far from this problem rooted in our harsh reality, Jesse takes off on the new consoles on the market. With the same question on everyone's lips: Was the wait worth it?
Control finally arrives on the new consoles with two display modes, performance, and graphics, which can be activated on the fly in the options. As usual, the performance mode allows you to play with a very pleasant fluidity thanks to a framerate at 60fps, while the graphics mode adds raytracing for a framerate at 30fps. DualSense in the hands, it is obviously very pleasant to walk the aisles of the Office with a nice fluidity, especially since the title sometimes requires good reflexes as well as a certain precision in aiming. Raytracing enabled in graphics mode, while pleasing to the eye, takes a heavy toll to function: dropping 60fps. The advantage of this mode is present but it seems difficult to perceive in normal playing conditions. The reflections and some effects gain in precision, but no gain in resolution is noted: Remedy announces 1440p for both modes (with 4K upscale). This is why I tend to advise living the adventure in “performance” mode.
Regardless of which render option, you select, the world map is finally displayed instantly. This is nice for an action game with a strong 3D Metroidvania component. Charges are shorter in the event of death, and the features of the DualSense are used. Yes, the trigger does encounter resistance when deciding to pull the trigger to shoot an opponent. A little more sympathetic that does not upset the experience, as well as the support of the Activities (to see the progress of the mission, the estimated time to finish, to get help, etc.). The improved graphics, unfortunately, do not remove the "uncanny valley" effect during the various dialogues, the fault of facial animations which would have deserved more care. As a reminder, this edition includes the base game as well as the “Foundation” and “AWE” expansions, thus adding approximately 8 hours of gameplay to the main adventure. If you already have Control on your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, unfortunately, no save transfer is possible. You will also have to start a game from the beginning.
THE COMPLETE CONTROL TEST
As far back as I am in my thirties, Remedy Entertainment has always held pride of place in the video game scene. Many of their games are cult today. Through the Max Payne and Alan Wake franchises and the cross-media attempt, Quantum Break, the Finnish studio has never stopped reinventing itself. Control, the result of collaboration with the publisher 505 Games, is thus pursuing an interactive and narrative quest that began nearly a quarter of a century ago. But can this supernatural TPS claim an extraordinary fate?
AN EXTRA-DIMENSIONAL INVESTIGATION
Control begins in New York on Manhattan Island. Jesse Faden, until then a simple civilian, crosses the threshold of the Federal Bureau of Control (or FBC) in search of answers. The Control heroine suspects this underground government agency of being responsible for the captivity of her brother Dylan, who disappeared 17 years ago. Locked in the mazes of the Old House, Jesse Faden takes over the leadership of the FBC despite herself and faces an extra-dimensional threat ... The Hiss (The Hiss) against a backdrop of mysteries surrounding this singular place.
Remedy Entertainment doesn't just unravel Jesse's simple story but takes a keen interest in the stories of the Federal Oversight Office and its employees. Control remains in many ways a linear adventure motivated by the successive discoveries of the Director. However, the meetings with the NPCs (non-playable character), the few scattered cutscenes, and the rain of documents to collect weave in the background a complex and captivating story. The scenario is thus based on the player's progress and his desire to learn more and more.
Curiosity then becomes the engine of a disjointed narrative thought by and for the gameplay, but knowing at certain key moments to regain control to strike a truth and advance the main plot. The Finnish studio seems to devote a cult to collectibles and renews its vows with Control. The latter has exceeded the limits in the past by concealing certain information essential to understanding in a specific document (Quantum Break), but avoids this pitfall here. Remedy serves us a supernatural investigation requiring no less than fifteen hours to see the end and needless to say that finishing Control in a straight line goes against the very essence of the title.
Finally, those who are resistant to English will be delighted to learn that Control has dubbing and subtitles in French of good quality, even if the quality of the acting rarely reaches that of their English-speaking counterparts.
THE MYSTERIES OF ASTRAL BRUTALISM
If the first visuals are necessarily reminiscent of the studio's previous production, Control quickly broke away from it and forged an identity of its own. Remedy Entertainment is building an Old Home that transcends the laws of physics and even time. The dimensional alterations butcher and recompose an architecture made of simple geometric shapes and monochrome surfaces. The brutality and the apparent simplicity of the place coexist with the strange to give life to a vast and majestic maze of rooms and corridors with varied atmospheres. Laboratories, machinery, stone quarry, open space, interior gardens ... a change of scenery awaits you several hundred meters below the surface.
Control has fun with our senses and our altered perception of reality in this complex that reorganizes the rooms in front of our eyes at will. The Hiss reshapes the Federal Control Office in real-time to better disorient us. It is easy to move around and get lost in it. However, the visual indications, the variety of the decorations, and the map of the places facilitate the progression of Jesse Faden within this mass of concrete and steel. But this reality is only the tip of the FBC. This place opens up to many dimensions, including the astral plane that Jesse visits on numerous occasions. These extra-dimensional journeys spice up an adventure that is quick to surprise by the places visited and the situations encountered.
To regain control of the Old House, Jesse Faden purifies the place one area after another by pushing back The Hiss which then allows him to travel quickly to the four corners of the map. From then on, the discovery gave way to efficiency ... the heroine teleporting from point to point without real hindrance. Control ultimately only got from Metroidvania its progression structured around obtaining certain powers and security keys unlocking once-closed doors. But then again, the adventure seems far too linear. Other natural barriers that the Director has to face… the mysteries of the Office. Several puzzles punctuate the story and force the heroine to rack her brains to move forward. Far from the impossible puzzle, these "puzzles" add a very appreciable touch of reflection in this third-person shooter. During these sparingly distilled sequences, the sense of observation proves to be the most lethal weapon.
BEYOND THE SUPERNATURAL
Remedy Entertainment is second to none when it comes to adding a little action to its formula, and Control is no exception. Right after stepping on the floor of the Federal Oversight Office, Jesse Faden finds the body of the former Director and comes into possession of the Service Weapon ... a living weapon. From simple pistols to shotguns and loaded shots ... the latter can take six different forms on request in order to adapt in real-time to the challenge offered by a bestiary of humans possessed by The Hiss. These enemies do not shine with their intelligence, but make up for it with numbers and unfailing aggressiveness.
Jesse Faden unlocks several paranormal powers essential to staying alive and progressing in the Old House. The latter dodges levitate, shields herself with rubble clusters, and rips / use the scenery to make deadly projectiles. The enemy can be extremely useful. The “Seize” ability allows the Headmistress to bribe a possessed soldier into a suitable ally. The bewilderingly easy grasp of paranormal abilities and the Service Weapon instills an intoxicating sense of power and mastery. It is truly exhilarating to swoop down on The Hiss under a shower of debris and visuals emphasizing the violence and the supernatural of the clashes as the destructible environments are shattered. The lack of self-regeneration still requires a certain amount of caution in combat, even if the Headmistress’s natural ease encourages us to rush headlong.
Remedy Entertainment also incorporates several role-playing mechanics. Jesse Faden builds up her strength on a journey that knows how to get tough without ever falling into the trap of frustrating difficulty. Eliminated missions and enemies bring their fair share of upgrades through points to be distributed in a skill tree and mods to increase the effectiveness of the Service Weapon and the heroine's abilities. The ability to craft these mods concludes Control's RPG spectrum. Without revolutionizing anything and simply applying the classics of the genre ... the studio creates an inalienable bond between the player and Jesse.
Control Ultimate Edition Game Review, the conclusion
Control returns in a more technically accomplished version which benefits from the multiple advantages of the PlayStation 5. Despite the precision of the reflections provided by the “graphics” mode, I especially appreciated a “performance” mode capable of bringing an epic to life in 60fps. Thus, exploring the Office and the many clashes becomes more enjoyable than ever. The included DLCs extend an adventure that retains the same qualities and flaws as in 2019. If you're still new to Jesse Faden's story, it might be time to catch up.
For more information about this game, I invite you to visit the Control Ultimate Edition official website for more details.