Control is basically Inception meets Silent Hill and you need to play it immediately
It is sure to go down as the best hidden gem game of 2019.
You begin by walking into the lobby of a large skyscraper in New York. It is the home to the Federal Bureau Of Control, which is basically the FBI if it dealt solely with The X-Files. It is entirely empty, but you make your way through until a friendly janitor points you in the direction of the main office. In there, you find the Director of the FBC has committed suicide. You pick up his gun, which can only be used by the Director, and since you can use it, you are now the Director.
Thus begins Control, an epic, sprawling shooter that seems to be running on a mix of dream logic (and sometimes nightmare logic) and rock-hard science-fiction that winds up giving us a mix of Inception, Silent Hill (the great games, not the terrible movies), Prey, the best bits of Beyond: Two Souls, and, just for good measure, The Shining.
There is a constant, creeping sense of dread as you wander the halls of the Bureau, which is also known as The Oldest House, a place that has been home to the gateways between dimensions. One of those gateways let something through, known here as The Hiss, which has taken over some of the staff of the Bureau and is using them to stop you from competing your task.
You control Jesse Faden, who was visited by an inter-dimensional being when she was a child and they've been inseparable ever since. That being has directed her towards the FBC, as she hunts down her missing brother, who she believes was taken by the Bureau around the same time Jesse and the being first crossed paths.
Over the course of the game, your Director's gun is capable of constantly evolving and improving, from standard handgun all the way up to rocket launcher. You'll also be gifted with additional abilities such as telekinesis (it never, ever gets boring when you snap a chunk of rubble to your side and then send it flying towards an enemies head) and flight, but the enemies you encounter also increase in strength and abilities, so it never feels like you're getting overpowered.
The Bureau building itself is a bit of a labyrinth, constantly changing shape and twisting your path, as The Hiss changes the physical attributes of the layout until you're able to fight off enough of it to regain control of particular areas. You'll be running all over the map as previously inaccessible areas became navigational once you find the right keycard with the right level of access, but thanks to the equal parts sterile and unnerving style, you'll never get bored of retracing your steps.
Of course, the game is far from perfect, as the current version has some severe frame-rate issues (the PS4 version was played for this review), and whenever the game has too much going on at once, everything begins to chug along so bumpily that you can practically hear your console's fan whirring strong enough to come loose entirely. Additionally, any time you die, you have to go all the back to the last save point, which could have been three-rooms-full-of-baddies ago, which is controller-snapped-in-half levels of frustrating at times.
But you'll power through, just to see where this bonkers plot will take you next. Every new character and new location opens up the world of Control to new levels of bizarre, and anyone who has a taste for all things horror and sci-fi will want to stick it out to the end, and beyond...
Control is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and is available from Argos and all the usual gaming outlets.
Clips via PlayStation