Since releasing last month Control has skyrocketed among my favorite games of the year. Remedy’s sci-fi romp boasts a fascinating story, an alluring and memorable world, along with an awesome suite of supernatural abilities. I think it’s the most wholly satisfying game the studio has produced yet but that doesn’t mean it’s infallible. As wonderful as it is, there are few improvements that would turn Control from a great experience to a near-perfect one. In fact, Control would be a better game if…
Boss Fights Could Be Instantly Restarted
Control’s checkpoints, dubbed Control Points, feel dated in that you have to restart from the last one you used after each death. Although progress is preserved, this means having to retrace your steps back to the point where you died. Boss fights increase this mild irritation into a full blown headache since losing means having to traverse the often lengthy path back to them just to take another crack. Sometimes these paths are littered with enemies taking potshots that whittle your health away before you even reach the big fight. After getting trounced by a possessed anchor for the umpteenth time, would it really hurt to give players the option to either try again at the start of the fight or to return to the last checkpoint?
It Didn’t Lag After Every Pause
Unless you’re playing on PC, Control’s biggest universal drawback is how sluggish it can perform on consoles. I’m playing on an Xbox One X, easily the best console option, and while it performs fine 95% of the time, it has a nasty habit of lagging for a second or two after every trip to the pause or menu screens. It’s especially irksome how it freezes up the weapons screen typically the first destination in the menu. I can never tinker with my loadout immediately. I must first swipe to another tab, then go back to the weapon menu in order to “wake it up”, so to speak. Though a minor quibble compared to the folks suffering more widespread framerate drops on base PS4’s/Xbox’s (God help you), this frustration adds up when you realize how often you’re entering the menu to change gun mods or check documents.
The Map Loaded Instantly
Consider this an add-on to the previous complaint though it deserves its own entry. Control more or less a Metroidvania in that you’re exploring a labyrinthine building filled with locked/hidden rooms that are inaccessible until you obtain a key or superpower later on. This means you’ll be pulling up the map A LOT, but due to the aforementioned lag, the game almost always takes several seconds to fully load the complete layout. Before that it does, all you can see are the labels for the key areas. That’s not exactly helpful when you’re trying to pinpoint a specific room or pathway. On a related note, it would also be dandy if multiple floors where illustrated more clearly–as in at all.
Critical Clues Couldn’t Be Destroyed
Control’s fantastic destruction engine makes it so that Jesse can sneeze and send a room’s worth of objects flying. This has led to some visually stunning moments, but I’ve also had a few instances of unintentionally annihilating key environmental clues. These typically lie in illustrated documents on the walls hinting towards the game’s cube puzzles. You can very easily destroy these without realizing you’ll need to stare at them later. I do appreciate the attention to realism in making these clues as vulnerable as anything else, but maybe we could digitally super glue some of these puzzle-pieces down?
Once again, these are small annoyances in what’s easily one of 2019’s best titles. Give Control a shot if you haven’t yet, but maybe play on PC or an upgraded Xbox or PlayStation 4 if you can.