Yes, Remedy’s first multiplatform game since Max Payne 2 shares a lot in common with their ambitious 2016 cinematic action-adventure, Quantum Break. No, that’s not a bad thing. It’s most welcome, in fact, as it feels like a spiritual sequel, but with a tighter focus. Oh yeah, and supernatural powers too.
Telekinetic abilities like Shield, which pulls clocks off of walls and chunks of nearby columns and holds them in front of her defensively.
You play Jesse Faden (played by Quantum Break’s Courtney Hope), the new director of the Federal Bureau of Control. She’s been promoted there in the wake of the death of the previous director, and with that promotion comes certain…abilities, which will be useful in defending against The Hiss, a strange force that has invaded our reality and corrupted Bureau workers. She can use telekinetic abilities like Shield, which pulls clocks off of walls and chunks of nearby columns and holds them in front of her defensively, as well as Launch, which does the same but turns that debris around as an offensive weapon (at one point later in the demo, Faden flung a forklift at a target). She can also levitate, which became more useful the longer my demo went because the physics-defying three-dimensional transitions that got more and more outlandish the deeper inside the Bureau headquarters Faden went — a space called The Oldest Place. And she even becomes the keeper of a nifty transforming pistol that only the Director can wield.
Walls that twist and fold, M.C. Escher-style…
You’ll encounter rooms that are far bigger than they logically should be, possessed bodies floating lifelessly in the air (until they decide to come alive, drop to the ground, and attack you), walls that twist and fold, M.C. Escher-style, strange white or red lights that beckon you forward, numbered holding cells that contain things ranging from damaged cars to babbling men sitting sadly in front of an old refrigerator, begging for your help. It’s definitely got a bit of Inception flavor to it, albeit with a lot more mystery involved.
Gameplay-wise, Remedy describes Control as an “open-ended sandbox experience.” Evidently there will be main missions as well as side missions, the latter of which will contain some of Control’s toughest challenges. Remedy also said that “the Director’s work is never done,” which is a cheeky way of basically saying (I think) that you’ll be able to keep playing even after the end credits roll. And Jesse’s Director abilities can be upgraded as the campaign progresses too.
So yeah, Control is a third-person cinematic action-adventure with a strong, mysterious sci-fi narrative that happens to be powered by Remedy’s same proprietary Northlight game engine — thus giving it a family resemblance to Quantum Break from a sheer technical perspective — means you can’t help but draw parallels between Remedy’s last effort and its new one. But a more tightly focused, TV-free Quantum Break that gives you superpowers to play with? Sign me up.