There’s a superhero game renaissance that’s only getting bigger. Between the excellent Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the ongoing Marvel's Avengers, traditional superhero stories are as popular as ever. Even within the strange world of Fortnite, you can see Harley Quinn and Batman face off against Wolverine and Iron Man in a single match. It’s rare, however, that we see a totally novel superhero video game come along to establish what feels like a cinematic universe that can stand up to the likes of Marvel and DC.
Remedy Entertainment's Control is one of those gems. Control was free to claim by PlayStation gamers with a PS Plus subscription in February 2021, but it’s also been in the Xbox Game Pass library since December 2020. As one of the best games of 2019 that can be beaten in around 15 hours, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Control is a cerebral experience where you play as Jesse Faden, a young woman seeking answers to her brother’s disappearance years ago. She’s drawn to the Federal Bureau of Control, an agency that investigates the paranormal, only to find that it’s in the midst of a violent invasion by the Hiss, an interdimensional destructive force that could consume everything if left unchecked. So it’s a good thing that Jesse quickly develops a vast array of superpowers she can use to combat them.
The FBC headquarters isn't your average office, by the way.
The agency is responsible for containing and researching phenomena that defy the laws of reality, and for one reason or another, Jesse is appointed the new Director and given a magic gun to wield in her executive role. She doesn’t even do an interview or anything, and the diverse array of superpowers she acquires makes for a very intriguing benefits package.
Jesse fights paranormal with paranormal by gradually unlocking new superpowers unlocked over time. By the end, you're basically a god with an alien-magic gun, flying around and tossing enemies around with telekinesis.
As you march through Control's roughly 12-hour campaign, Jesse unlocks various telekinetic abilities that allow her to pull and push almost anything around her. She can hurl boulders and groups of enemies or suspend rubble in front of her to block incoming fire. Top that off with a shapeshifting gun, and it's hard not to feel like you're the entire X-Men squad rolled into one badass bundle with red hair.
The experience very cool, especially when coupled with the mind-bending nature of the Hiss as weird sci-fi beings that possess people and objects from our dimension.
Control's setting might seem dull and dreary from the outset. The FBC's HQ, known as "The Oldest House," is an almost featureless skyscraper full of gray walls and cubicles, but Remedy imbues its brutalist setting with enough intrigue and mysteries to keep it compelling from start to finish.
Each cast member has something to hide, especially Jesse. Each revelation is highlighted with mind-bending cinematic cutscenes that transform Control into a trippy arthouse film that will keep you at the edge of your seat for the entity of its plot.
Even after its narrative, Control can provide up to 26 hours of endgame entertainment that will push you to explore every room and levitate every stone the game has to offer.
So what are you waiting for? Join the FBC.
Control is out now on Game Pass for Xbox consoles and PC.
A previous version of this article was written by Danny Paez.