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Letters from the Front

(Editor’s note: This was written on August 30th. Reason why I haven’t been writing that much and less content has been going up on the site is because it is officially videogame season. I’ve been playing a lot of videogames recently and here is one of many. Please enjoy the read and the review should be up soon!)

Control is the latest game from Remedy Games, esteemed developers of Max Payne and 2016’s Quantum Break. It’s a twisted, haunting odyssey through a building that is being invaded by otherworldly beings. You take control of Jesse Faden, a loner with paranormal powers who’s trying to find her brother, Dylan. The search for her brother brings her to the Federal Bureau of Control, a secret government department that s hold up in a post World War II building. She believes that the FBC kidnapped her brother as part of its mission to safeguard the United States from otherworldly beings. However, it’s not a walk in the park, as the FBC housed in a building called The Oldest House is under attack by the Hiss, a hive-like entity that it infects others and bends them to its will.

The Oldest House is under lockdown and the director has been killed. His service weapon attaches itself to Jesse, making her the next director of the FBC and leaving her responsible for bringing what’s left of the Bureau together to fight the Hiss. It’s a very interesting premise.

The game’s main story progresses at a nice pace. It’s told through cutscenes and dialogue through different characters. It’s heavy narrative drivem, which starts out great enough and continues to be great, kind of slows down and slowly becomes into a workplace drama. Something that I hope changes but something tells me that it won’t which is kind of a disappointment. It’s weird because despite everything that she has gone through, Jesse doesn’t seem to question it at all which is weird. Wouldn’t you question everything that’s around you if you were in her situation? I definitely would. Jesse just rolls with the punches and it’s completely off as the situation is very abnormal.

While Jesse keeps the game very grounded, it’s the Oldest House that’s the star of the game. It’s a sprawling mid-century building with offices and long hallways. You begin at the executive level and as you travel through the house, it expands into maintenance tunnels, an underground network filled with atomic age technology, a research center, and much more with the enemies becoming harder as you progress.

The Oldest House is linked by control points, points that you are able to fast travel throughout the different levels. When you encounter a control point, Jesse purges the surrounding area of the Hiss’ corrupting influence and can use these control points for a variety of different things like upgrading her weapons, changing outfits, and fast traveling. Technically, it’s a very Metroidvania-style of game in where new abilities and reaching new sections of the narrative allow you to go back and explore old areas. The points that connect the different areas of The Oldest House also connect to a different plane of existence, an otherworldly dimension including a familiar hotel and all of this is a very unique spin on the all too familiar fast travel system.

The Oldest House is a very unique game space or habitation. It has a sinister feel to it, one of government secrets. It is a mysterious place to be in. There are secret rooms, secret passageways, rooms that metamorphoses, passageways and entrances to another dimension and other planes of existence affirming manifestations that acknowledge the weirdness of what the scientists were trying to study. As you unlock more abilities, the Oldest House begins to open itself up to you in ways that are fascinating. Post-it notes litter chalkboards, maniac handwriting on the wall, lore and history can be found scattered across each wing is as interesting as everything else in the game.

The gameplay is usual Remedy which is nothing new. Modifications can be found around the world and Jesse’s weapons are also hidden around the world or its dropped by multiple enemies. You can also craft your own equipment but they’re all random. Additional resources you gather can be used to upgrade your weapons, your powers, and much more. This feels almost like filler in a lot of ways when compared to everything else.

So far, Control seems like a complete rush and you’re going to have a good time. Stay tuned for my review.

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