Control: Ultimate Edition (PlayStation 5) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 22.06.2021

Review for Control: Ultimate Edition on PlayStation 5

Control originally released on the PlayStation 4 in 2019, and has been pulled into the current generation with its new Ultimate Edition moniker. Remedy has had a solid track record with games such as Max Payne and Alan Wake, with Control fairing similarly well. This new version is full of extras and next gen features, meaning it should be the definitive version, but is it?

Control sees Jesse Faden entering the bizarre world of the FBC or The Federal Bureau of Control. Somehow passing through a building-wide lockdown, Jesse is thrust into a bizarre twisted world, where things make little sense, and where physics don't necessarily apply. Shortly after arriving she's given the position of director after the previous director shoots himself. It's an intriguing and obscure opening that is followed with twist after twist, as Jesse reveals her purpose for visiting the FBC and what the FBC itself is.

The story is presented with cut-scenes, as well as cutaway dialogue moments with some questions to run through for players who want to know more about the characters whom Jesse works with, with each one having its own motivation and mission. The depth of Control and it's DLC is surprising and most welcome. This might just be Remedy's best story. Supernatural suspense and an endearing otherworldly cast, really make the story something worth experiencing!

Screenshot for Control: Ultimate Edition on PlayStation 5

At its heart this is a third-person action game, as with the rest of Remedy's games that take a similar approach to narrative and gameplay design. The camera hovers behind Jesse either to her right or left depending on what is preferred. This gives a good overview of the action, and allows for some nice snappy aiming of weapons and powers. The movement control is quite loose, with Jesse pivoting instead of snapping into a direction, but this makes sense in terms of the momentum, and is overwritten later in the game with the addition of a dodge move. She can also melee attack with Triangle, which is quite powerful in the early game but later there are enemies who are super resistant to it so adapting her fighting style throughout the adventure is important.

Throughout the sprawling complex that is the FBC building are Control Points, and these are both checkpoints and fast travel points for players to utilise. Unlike many of Remedy's other games this title is not totally linear. Throughout this side missions will pop requesting players to head to other areas of the FBC building, often already cleared in terms of story, to take out key targets or save someone. It lends the entire world an interconnected feeling like an older Resident Evil title. Doing these side quests and gaining new skills gives the game an overall catharsis it would otherwise lack. It is also what partially removes this title from the feeling it's contemporaries from Remedy set up. In other words the FBC building feels massive and crazy, while also building a familiarity through the side content and backtracking.

Screenshot for Control: Ultimate Edition on PlayStation 5

Everything is so surreal. The visual identity of Control is bizarrely authoritarian in style. With sharp symbols, one key colour and brutalist architecture, it can be quite oppressive. It's unusual then that it feels almost comfortable exploring the FBC and clearing areas of their "corruption." There is a lot of verticality to the environment design, even if it's not always used in the gameplay, which when coupled with the scale of everything makes the small groups of humans dotted around feel absolutely tiny.

This when paired with the even odder atmosphere, and the probability of encountering shifting, twisted environments can be quite mind boggling. The Ashtray Maze is a particular highlight, a completely twisted optional area. It's a real challenge. Spinning the area around, morphing walls, shifting rooms and more it's totally insane and Remedy's engine handles it all amazingly.

Screenshot for Control: Ultimate Edition on PlayStation 5

Graphical performance is something of a sore point in this otherwise amazingly executed title. On PlayStation 5 the visual performance comes with two distinct modes: Ray Tracing and Performance. Ray Tracing mode is capped at 30 frames per second, but offers the RayTracing next gen effect. This mode offers enhanced reflections, lighting and shadows, making every aspect positively glow with amazingness. However it comes at a very high cost.

The performance does tend to stick at 30 frames per second, but the reflections, lighting and shadows all update at different rates, like they are lagging by a frame making the whole screen blur and mush when moving the camera. Disabling motion blur makes it playable, but the experience still feels suboptimal even if it overall feels better than the PS4 version. Performance mode is where Control hits its highest point for gameplay with no Ray Tracing; it is mostly a locked 60 frames per second, resulting in much lower control latency, no lagging, blurring scenery, and is probably the best way to play.

Screenshot for Control: Ultimate Edition on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Control is an amazing experience that is befitting of the next gen consoles. It has killer Ray Tracing features, unfortunately hampered by their implementation, and a rock solid performance mode which feels amazing. The truly twisted dystopian world of the FBC is one that will persist in player's memories for a long time with its strange otherworldly places, alongside its humanising story. Highly recommended to all PlayStation 5 owners looking for an action-adventure with some real depth and fun combat!

Developer

Remedy Entertainment

Publisher

505 Games

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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