Get ready to lose yourself in the surreal sci-fi strangeness of Control. Remedy Entertainment is back with its most ambitious game to date. And here’s 11 things we wish we knew when taking the fight to the creepy and mysterious Hiss in Control.
It takes a couple of hours to nab the super-handy bullet and projectile-dodging Evade ability. Before then, it’s best to treat Control as a cover shooter. There’s no snap-to-cover, but duck behind the solid stuff. A lot. Switch shoulders to spot enemies around corners. Then step out to pour Service Weapon rounds into them.
Control shuns reload in favour of a streamlined focus on shooting. While snagging ammo isn’t a thing, energy management of your shapeshifting Service Weapon very much is. Shooting your polymorphic pistol dry leaves you out of the fight longer than leaving a round in the chamber and letting it auto-magically rearm.
When you nab it, Evade is most often used as the name implies. But it’s also handy for invading the personal space of the Hiss invaders. Use it to close the gap for a melee attack. Or combo melee with your Service Weapon’s shotgunning Shatter form. Evade is even handy for mitigating fall damage from bigger drops.
With no difficulty mode, Control clashes can quickly prove lethal if you don’t respect the Hiss. Because of this, health management is critical. Duck back to a nearby Control Point to fully replenish. Pour ability points into health. Or stack Personal Mods with health bonuses. It’s also worth tactically finishing foes near cover, then Evading over them to hoover up the precious health shards.
Control’s Metroidvania level design incentivises you to revisit earlier areas later on to access more sweet swag or new missions. Use the map a lot. It can stay open while you navigate. Yellow text, or yellow question marks for unexplored areas, indicates your current objective. If you don’t see a yellow indicator, try the elevators to shift floors.
You can also ignore the main path and explore in the opposite directions. There’s plenty of off-the-beaten-track gains to find. There are security doors that will bar progress until later. But when it’s just the main quest in the opening hours, there are mods and Objects of Power to find by concentrating on secondary over primary objectives.
Using the map might not freeze time, but opening your menu does. Use this to catch your breath in a tough fight. Better still, use it to match Service Weapon forms to your current battle. You can only run two forms at once. And certain forms work better against particular foes. You can and should also switch Weapon Mods to boost damage, speed up reload, and improve overall survivability.
Speaking of mods, get into the habit of managing them early on. Initially, this is a simple case of picking a mod that best matches your Service Weapon forms and play style. Fill up your mod slots, though, and you can’t pick up new ones. You’ll snatch plenty of doubles along the way. Deconstruct the doubles for Source Energy that’s used for building and upgrading new Service Weapon forms.
Whenever you go near a Control Point, check for new Board Countermeasures. Completing this rotating roster of tasks rewards random mods or materials. Some of the challenges are general. While others are specific to particular enemy types, attack strategies, methods of fragging, or even specific areas. Match the area tasks to the sections you’re currently exploring. You can also abandon Board Countermeasures to cycle in new ones.
Control lets you personalise gameplay via upgrade paths. If you’re dying a lot, fully invest ability points in health. Tame a new Object of Power, then start pumping points in its abilities. For instance, the base Shield ability is great for avoiding death or in boss fights. But the more you invest in it and other abilities, the more tactical options you unlock.
Once you have the Launch ability, it’s well worth pouring ability points into it. Hold the Launch button without targeting anything to snatch a random object. With the right upgrade, this will prioritise incoming grenades and rockets. But manually targeting objects lets you fling explosive devices with devastating effect. Line up enemies, by strafing or Evading, to smash multiple foes with one fling. Or grab objects from behind Hiss baddies to flatten one on the grab, then obliterate another with the toss.
Use these starting tips to get the most out of Control as you descend deeper into the engaging madness of the main story.