There's few games that instantly grip me from the moment I see them. However, since it's very first trailer last year, I was in love with Control. In fact, I loved it so much I gave it game of the show. So when I heard that I could not only see it again, but play it as well at E3 2019, I jumped at the chance. It was a chance well worth taking.
Putting me in the role of Jesse Faden, the demo started off with a seemingly simple mission: go and find the janitor. Easy, right? I mean, he's just a janitor after all. Yet not all is as it seems in The Oldest House, the shape-shifting setting that Control takes place in.
Between me and the janitor were several security guards. Normally this isn't a big deal, but these guards were possessed by a mysterious being known as the Hiss. While it's impossible to tell what these things are from the demo, they're quite the problem. The Hiss give these guards the power to survive several shots, and fly in the air. Some would plummet from their positions, smashing into the ground ahead of me. Others would toss up shields that needed many bullets to bring down. A few I ran into were so overloaded with Hiss that they'd explode on contact. It was nice seeing all these different enemy types and having to figure out ways to bring them down.
Thankfully I always had those ways to take them out. Jesse has her service pistol, a gun that seemingly has the ability to transform into whatever it wants. In the demo I got to experiment with two modes, once which served as your typical pistol, and another that worked like a shotgun. As I fought enemies, I could collect items I could use to craft mods and firing modes for the service pistol. While I didn't see the crafting system in my demo, I did see items that let me shoot faster, reload quicker, and pack more punch.
There's also another important aspect to Jesse's arsenal. She has access to several supernatural abilities. In my demo this was mostly limited to telekinesis, which was used to pick up and throw chunks of the environment. It's one of the most entertainingly simple yet surprisingly satisfying abilities, and ripping out a chunk of the environment and smacking someone to death with it made me smile every time. She also had a melee attack that would use TK to give everything in front of her a hard shove, which can be used to push enemies into explosives or off of ledges.
She needs these skills, as combat is a surprisingly difficult affair. It's fast paced and fluid, and every fight saw me engaging in a dramatic dance of bullets and chunks of the world. While there may be a duck button, this isn't a cover shooter and I couldn't just sit behind a chest high wall and wait. Also doing so is a great way to die, as the environment would break apart and shatter in combat. The effect is fantastic to watch, as firefights become a fascinating mess that would make John Woo proud. Each bullet chipped off chunks of pillars or walls, and I couldn't help but spend a few minutes looking over the mess I created once I made it.
The demo I got to play also gave me some time to explore, which I appreciated. The Oldest House sprawls out in various directions, and I couldn't always get to all of them right away. Early on I came across a firing range which apparently has some sort of mysterious supernatural object, known as Objects of Power in the game world, causing problems in it. However, without a level 4 access card, that's something I'll need to come back to later. Another section saw me stumbling across the furnace, and I noticed I had a side quest to use my TK to toss the radioactive barrels into it. There's plenty to discover in Control and I'm excited to find it all.
At the end of the demo we got to see a quick cutscene that gave us a little more of a look into Jesse's history. We learned that one of the real reasons she was at The Oldest House was to look for her missing brother, which she's pretty sure the agency has. We also learned that she had a run-in with an Object of Power back when she was a child, something that may be the cause of her powers. Whatever the case, there's still a ton of mystery here to discover.
If all of this interests you, then you don't have to wait much longer. Control will be launching on August 27th, 2019 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2019 Coverage Hub.