With its mix of a cavernous setting and electrifying gameplay, Control builds momentum fast. I was floored by this combination, and said as much in my review. It has a lot of moving parts, and you may be curious how best to approach the insurmountable mysteries of the Oldest House. Should I read all the files I come across? What paranatural powers should I focus on upgrading? How worth my time are the side missions?
Lite spoilers follow, so if you want to stay pure and unblemished as you tackle the Oldest House, here’s your chance to abandon ship. Let’s go!
Don’t worry about getting all the answers.
The setting and story of Control is complex, dense and strange. So many odd little things happen that you might think you missed something. You didn’t. Drawing inspiration from the niche, David Lynch, to the popular, X-Files or Stephen King, some things will make sense at the start and some things will take time. Others may even remain a mystery. Strap in and trust Remedy as they take you on one hell of a journey.
On the other hand, you may want to read, watch, and listen to the logs you’ll find.
You are gonna come across a ton of logs, be they audio, video, or written. All of these give texture and definition to Control. Never did I feel as if my time was wasted, always coming away with another interesting wrinkle to add to the situation I was in. If you really wish to get the most out of Control, I’d encourage you to dive into what you find. It’ll always expand your understanding of what exactly is going on, and you might even get a little guidance as to your next steps.
Use (and love!) your map.
At the outset, the map in Control might not seem as useful as it could be. It’s not part of the HUD, requiring a button press to pull up. It shows the Oldest House as a flat blueprint, so telling whats above or below is challenging at times. Don’t be deterred by the immediate shortcomings though! It kind of gives you an idea of where you need to be without straight up telling you. Remedy trusts you, the player, to get it! Its also a very cool feature that its an overlay, so you can see the direction you need to go in as you move. This map adds so much to the exploration of Control and doesn’t clog up the HUD with stuff. I found that Control shines as a result.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.
Control does not have a cover mechanic. Combined with the highly destructive environments, cover you do find does not last! I summed up Control with one word: momentum. Keep this in mind as you enter any combat scenario! Your enemy, the Hiss, will overpower you if you sit around. They come at you hard and with both grounded and aerial types, fire comes from all directions. Keep moving and manage both your Service Weapon energy and your Paranatural energy well! When you down your foes, they drop health pick ups, and the only way to get back your precious life is to get in there! Running into the chaos feels great. Momentum is always encouraged and you should really lean into that. Running, shooting, dodging, and telekinetically throwing everything at the enemy will become second nature quick!
Seek out extra combat opportunities if you want more upgrades for the Service Weapon.
You’ll have plenty of opportunity for combat, but upgrading your various weapons doesn’t come as frequently on the main path. I would encourage tracking down side missions for more upgrade materials. Being able to increase firepower will come in handy as you approach some of the later encounters.
Paranatural Powers are wild, and some are entirely optional, so upgrade where you see fit!
No need for hesitancy when upgrading. All the powers are great, and the one’s you absolutely need will be a main part of the campaign. Its absolutely possible to succeed without the full arsenal (I missed an entire skill tree!). So when it comes time to upgrade, trust your instincts, and know that you got this!
Pursue side missions.
Momentum defines Control, especially so for the main campaign. It really keeps you focused. Requests for assistance from NPCs will pile up fast though. Don’t be like me and put off those cries for help. Some of the best stuff is hidden, just off the critical path. You never what you might find: a new enemy, upgrade materials, maybe even a new paranatural ability. Check in on your available missions from time to time or you might forget about them.
If you do forget, you’ll get to circle back.
I neglected so many side missions on my initial run. I was really happy to find a post game waiting for me. Most side missions are open for pursuit after you finish up the main campaign, and the setting of Control is so good, sticking around to clean up is a tantalizing prospect.
With its Metroidvania roots, Control hides things all over. Keep your head on a swivel and take note of areas that look just of reach as you go. Chances are you just might be able to figure out a way to get there later on. “How do I get up there?!” is a fun question in Metroidvanias. Wait till you see how fun the answer is.