Over the subsequent few days, we are going to reveal what we imagine are the 10 finest video games of 2019, organized by launch date. Then, on December 17, we are going to reveal which of the nominees will get to take dwelling the coveted title of GameSpot’s Best Game of 2019. So remember to come again then for the large announcement, and within the meantime, comply with together with all of our different finish-of-the-yr protection collected in our Best of 2019 hub.
Remedy Entertainment excels at creating deep worlds with every of its new video games, however none is sort of so fleshed-out and thrilling to discover because the developer’s newest, Control. Set in a authorities workplace constructing that homes a division particularly geared at investigating, containing, and understanding paranormal artifacts, Control drops you in an odd and shifting world stuffed with mysteries, and one which’s extremely effectively-realized–the results of a confluence of writing, gameplay, visible artistry, and singular imaginative and prescient.
From the primary second you set foot within the Oldest House, itself a probably-sentient construction whose corridors and rooms change and mutate of their very own accord, Control revels in its sense of the supernatural uncanny. Its influences are instantly obvious: As a lot as it’d draw on actual science and historical past as a grounding for its extra-extraordinary occasions, it additionally pulls concepts from the net creepypasta database SCP and leans into Remedy’s lengthy-working fascination with the works of David Lynch. As the brand new director of the Federal Bureau of Control, Jesse, you are tasked with each saving and exploring this world that even the characters of the Bureau do not actually perceive. That offers Remedy loads of room to make Control remarkably bizarre, however in a pleasant way–it might be unusual, fascinating, horrifying, and hilarious in equal measure (and typically concurrently). It’s all due to effectively-drawn characters and robust writing all through, which makes looking for out the inter-workplace memos and information that make clear the internal workings of the Bureau a motivation to play the sport in and of itself.
From a gameplay standpoint, Control usually is a full realization of Remedy’s model of motion, culminating concepts which have been kicking round in its different video games for a while. As you discover numerous supernatural Objects of Power scattered all through the Oldest House, you achieve quite a lot of new skills, like choosing up and tossing objects at enemies along with your thoughts, levitating round big rooms, and utilizing chunks of concrete partitions and flooring as shields. Control is a quick-motion third-particular person shooter at its coronary heart, however the gunplay takes a again seat to the mixtures of skills you need to use to get the higher-hand in your opponents. And it is usually a blast, particularly as you achieve increasingly ridiculous energy. It helps that, graphically, Control is beautiful; each digital camera motion appears like a deliberate little bit of cinematography as you play, and shredding the Oldest House in fight is a delight of flying papers and bits of concrete that make the powers you are wielding really feel all of the extra fantastic–and plausible.
Though Control’s gameplay lends itself to chill moments, it is all the things surrounding the motion that basically makes the sport particular. Every step via the Oldest House reveals one thing new concerning the sport’s world, whether or not via Jesse’s inner monologue musings, her interactions with the opposite characters, or the various tidbits of story you uncover via the information and paperwork that litter its halls. Remedy units its sport in a model of actuality full of a vaster and fewer comprehensible world hidden simply beneath the floor, and it is bursting with concepts that beg to be explored.
There’s the otherworldly motel full of locked rooms, which hyperlinks sections of the Oldest House collectively like a metaphysical conduit–and whose bodily location cannot be pinned down. There’s the standout Ashtray Maze part, during which you struggle via an ever-altering Overlook Hotel-like locale that expands and contracts in not possible methods, set to a kick-ass soundtrack. You’ll enterprise to the Astral Plane and have interactions with The Board, the vaguely menacing extradimensional presence that appears to information the Bureau. All the whereas, you are coping with the Hiss, the evil presence that threatens to take over all the things by actually possessing the Bureau’s workers to meet an unknowable agenda.
Just as attention-grabbing are the tidbits Remedy throws in that give Control a uniquely uncanny really feel. Hidden all through the workplaces are movies created by the Bureau’s lead researcher, Casper Darling, during which he excitedly explains the paranormal entities and artifacts the company specializes in–while continuously revealing how little anybody really is aware of about what they’re coping with and the way harmful it’s. There are the Threshold Kids episodes, a sequence of low-constancy puppet present movies meant to show kids residing within the Bureau about its intricacies, all of which have an undercurrent of horror flowing via them. Even memos and messages despatched between characters that you simply uncover alongside the best way are continuously difficult you to make connections and fill in gaps on the earth your self. Remedy’s persistently glorious writing makes every of those worthy causes to cease and browse in the course of a sport about flying round and utilizing telekineses to smash monsters. It all works collectively to compel you to repeatedly discover the Oldest House and attempt to perceive its secrets–even as the entire level, made clear time and again, is that the folks of the Bureau are in over their heads, fumbling away at one thing they’re going to by no means sufficiently perceive or, ahem, management.
More than some other sport this yr (and lots of others), I misplaced myself to Control. Its expertly crafted world is extremely deep, huge, and intriguing, stretching out from the Oldest House just like the gnarled roots of an historical tree. Every time I booted up the sport, I found one thing new, from Control’s hyperlinks to Remedy’s previous works that create an intricate universe of tales, to little tidbits that gave new insights on simple-to-miss story beats. Control is amazingly dense and lovingly constructed by a group that knew precisely what it wished to make. It’s a sport that’s actually greater than the sum of its components, and also you completely ought to wander its shifting, perilous corridors to see what you may uncover.