Remedy Entertainment have long been known for creating interesting and engaging narrative experiences in gaming. From the original Max Payne through to Quantum Break, everything they’ve worked on has intrigued and excited, even when they haven’t quite been perfect. Control was the epitome of this. Filled with tons of atmosphere, a narrative filled with mystery and mechanically engaging psi-abilities, it missed the mark somewhat on technical performance, a lack of creepier SCP-style moments and some encounter design. With Control Ultimate Edition on PS5, those technical issues have been largely ironed out, while other mechanical additions have been added to the mix without addressing the wider problems with the game.
Control has you step into the shoes of Jesse Faden as she enters the mysterious Oldest House, the base of operations of the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC). The FBC, which investigates paranatural occurrences such as Altered World Events and situations caused by Objects of Power. Think of the occurrences, entities and objects described in SCP stories on the internet. Standing as the barrier between the paranatural and the mundane reality regular people know, the FBC is an integral component to peace. Now, they’ve been invaded by the mysterious Hiss and Jesse has suddenly found herself appointed as the Director of the FBC, all while she has her own motivations for her sudden arrival. It’s a mysterious narrative that, while interesting, doesn’t quite manage to tie up in a satisfying way.
Conversely, Control is fantastic in its additional and incidental writing and lore. Documents detailing Altered World Events, Objects of Power and just general mysterious or strange events. There’s plenty of redactions, fitting with the game’s SCP inspirations, leaving just enough ambiguity to allow your imagine to run wild. The best of this comes in the form of the game’s television shows and live action recordings. Threshold Kids, an in-game puppet show aimed at the children of FBC employees, was legitimately horrifying and left me severely unsettled on more than one occasion. It would have been amazing if more of that energy had come through in the game’s main story.
Where Control feels its most satisfying is in its gameplay loop. Both your paranatural abilities and service weapon (the form changing gun employed by the Direct of the FBC) rely on pools of energy/ammunition that replenish automatically when you’re not using them. Both can run out quickly, so the main gameplay loop of Control involves constantly swapping between using bullets or abilities. This is heightened in Control Ultimate Edition on the PS5 thanks to the game’s usage of the DualSense controller. Gunshots come with satisfying clicks and thuds from the DualSense’s triggers, while subtle vibrations flash through the controller’s haptics as you use your paranatural abilities. This takes a game that already felt fantastic to play and adds an extra element of immersion that elevates it further.
Visually, Control was already a fantastic looking game on last generation consoles, but the Ultimate Edition takes that to another level on PS5. The brutalist designs of the Oldest House, with its glossy surfaces and straight lines, are perfectly heightened with the addition of ray traced reflections and transparency. There are plenty of moments where they’re on show, with perfect reflections of Jesse, the Oldest House’s architecture and enemies. It simply looks amazing. If you prefer high framerates over raytracing, flipping over to the game’s performance mode flips the game up to 60fps and adds another level of fluidity to the game’s already fluid combat and movement. Both modes ran incredibly well in my time with the game.
Speaking of performance, there was one frustrating issue that was the bane of my existence in Control: the stuttering issues that occurred after closing the game’s pause menu. This is largely fixed in Control Ultimate Edition on PS5, however the game does still freeze for about half a second after closing the pause menu. On the other hand, I had numerous issues with the game crashing after attempting to resume it after putting my PS5 into rest mode. I eventually stopped relying on the game resuming from Rest mode, instead fully closing the game after each session and resuming main missions from the Activity Cards in the PS5 homescreen.
The main frustration I had with Control that simply can’t be fixed by this re-release is some of the game’s worse encounter/mission design moments. While some missions and combat encounters are interesting and varied, such as the utterly transcendent Ashtray Maze, there are some absolute stinkers as well. This is best on show right at the pointy end of the game, as multiple combat encounters turn into utter slogfests that you have to slam yourself against over and over. While they don’t kill my enthusiasm for the overall game, they certainly blunt it. This is balanced out somewhat by the additional content you receive from the game’s expansions, which provides a bit more variety overall, even if it doesn’t set the world on fire.
Control Ultimate Edition on PS5 is the definitive console edition of the game so far. On top of the already fantastic story and mechanics, the addition of raytracing, and the exclusive DualSense support elevate it even further. There are still a few niggles here and there that hold the experience back somewhat, but overall you’re unlikely to be disappointed by it.
Control Ultimate Edition was reviewed on a PS5 console with a review copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available PC , PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X. For more information, check out the official website.
- Raytracing implementation is fantastic - DualSense support elevates already fantastic gameplay mechanics - The Ashtray Maze is still amazing - Solid framerates
- Multiple crashes when resuming from Rest mode - Some combat encounter design is a slog