Control Game Hands-On: Feel Like a Superhero

(Image credit: 505 Games)

A little more than two months before its August 27 release, I got my hands on Remedy Entertainment’s Control, a third-person adventure game with some telekinetic powers thrown in for good measure.

The demo, which took place in the game’s third mission, “Directorial Override,” put players in the shoes of Jesse Faden, the new director of a secretive, discreet organization based in New York.

Jesse has some telekinetic powers. I only had the ability to pick up and launch objects, though others, like shields and hovering, are unlockable. She also carries a shape-shifting pistol that seemingly never runs out of ammo.

This made for exciting combat. When enemies, known as the Hiss, showed up, I would first try to launch environmental items at them from afar. But those that approached me would feel the wrath of Jesse’s service weapon in close-quarters combat, or a powerful telekinetic melee smash. It felt like playing a violent version of X-Men.

Jesse is in the bureau’s maintenance sector, which is on lockdown. She meets the janitor, Ahti, who gives her cryptic instructions to fix the power plant’s cooling and power relays. It turns out that the whole plant is powered by the superhuman abilities of a previous director, one whose abilities became too strong to control.

(Image credit: 505 Games)

Control’s atmospheric visuals are arresting, and publisher 505 Games and Nvidia were showing it off as a title supporting RTX ray-tracing. This developer build of the game could turn it on and off with a single keystroke, and yes, the game looked better with RTX on. Used for environmental lighting and reflections, and the puddles in the sector looked more realistic and shadows and low lighting were more immersive.

While we were playing the PC version of the game. The developers didn’t specify what CPU or GPU were at play. When I paused the demo, I saw the game was running at 1440p resolution but rendering in lesser FHD resolution, borderless, with V-Sync on. That’s when a developer politely asked me to exit, as the game may not ship with all of the settings options I was seeing. Because I couldn’t play with them, it’s hard to know if RTX will have a serious performance impact on this game.

Perhaps my biggest nitpick was a narrative one. In many of the cut scenes, Jesse thinks to herself in between dialogue. This happens frequently and becomes a prime example of telling, not showing, and occurs often enough to be annoying.

There is still lots of mystery left after the demo, though, and my interest is admittedly somewhat piqued.

Control debuts August 27 for PC exclusively on the Epic Games Store, as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon