Control by Remedy Entertainment is out and it’s one our top games coming out this month. It’s been a day and already this game looks to be a contender for one of the best games of the year. But we’re not here to talk about that. Welcome to the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), a secret U.S. government agency tasked with containing and studying phenomena which violate the laws of reality. You’ll be playing as Jesse Faden, the Bureau’s new Director. Prior to Control’s launch Remedy has been pretty mysterious about the whole game and rightly so. This game is a downright mystery. So before you enter the Oldest House let’s get you prepared with your best weapon, knowledge.
Updated June 2021: Control is now free on the Epic Games Store until the 17th of June! With that in mind we’re revisiting this article and updating it with more handy tips and tricks to get you started.
Control puts the A in Abilities
In Control you can’t level up to unlock more ability points, you can only get them from quests. And boy are they limited. They’re the only way to boost your actual powers, instead of making new mods or improving your guns. You can tell if a quest is going to give you ability points by checking the “Missions” tab of your character menu. Main story quests come with a diamond icon that’s filled in. Side stories have a little downwards pointing arrow (a chevron) and are located in the same sub-section.
After getting said ability points you’ll be able to unlock and upgrade multiple abilities. Keep in mind that you only have a limited number of points so make your decision wisely. We’d recommend focusing on your Shield and Launch. About two-thirds into the game Control gets notably more difficult. The enemy AI is pretty tactical and Jesse can be kinda squishy, so remember to shield up.
Launch, on the other hand, will feel familiar to those that have played Gravity Rush. (If you haven’t played Gravity Rush 2 I highly recommend it). You’ll be able to hurl chairs and fire extinguishers and fax machines at your enemies. The Launch ability is more effective (and potentially more powerful) than your Service Weapon in many situations even in the early game. Upgrade Launch to increase the damage and rip through your enemies. Pair that with some Personal Mods to help you overcome your shortcomings, and you’ll be set.
Can I Get A Medic Over Here?
Health is a precious commodity in Control, you don’t regenerate it, you can lose it pretty quickly and there are no recovery items you can use between battles. What’s the director of a shadowy, supernatural bureaucracy to do?
Equip a health recovery mod. This is a must-have in your arsenal and it’ll save you from having to restart Dark Souls style.
What the health recovery personal mod does is that it increases the amount of health you receive when picking up one of those blue HP crystals. The crystals are dropped every time you kill an enemy and trust us, you’re going to need that extra health boost.
When battling you’re not going to be able to duck for cover so one of the best things to learn to do is dodge attacks. I’m pretty hopeless at this but it really negates that enemy fire. In fact, it’s often actually smarter to sprint close up to them and collect health that dead foes drop. Then dash away before they get a lock-on again.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Those Mods
You’re going to want to deconstruct any mods that are below the level of the ones you have equipped. More slots become available as you upgrade abilities and forms, so make sure you focus on that first, but when your slots are full, simply vacate every remaining mod you don’t need and you’ll be resource-rich and able to spend your hard-earned cash on the things that matter.
Control Your Checkpoints
Control doesn’t really make this clear (not at first), but the game doesn’t have traditional checkpoints. Instead, it uses Dark Souls style bonfires in the form of “control points.” These act as fast travel nodes, allow you to upgrade your weapon, and, of course, respawn when you die. If you do expire, you won’t come back at the closest control point; you resurrect at the last one you touched! Save yourself some time and some headaches by checking in at every control point you come across.
Levitate To Hidden Areas
There are Hidden Areas in Control that are quite difficult to find and won’t appear on your map. So when you pick up the all-important Levitate ability make sure you go back and revisit every single area. Yes, every single one. Float around and up top in all the nooks and crannies. The multi-story Research sector is especially lucrative in this regard.
No spoilers, obviously, but the Hidden Areas do provide you with Control’s best Easter Eggs and ability points, which are crucial if you want to max out your ability tree and supercharge your powers.
Knowledge Is Power
Just like Resident Evil the Oldest House is littered with books, people to talk to and mystery. You’re going to want to read everything to know what’s going on. No spoilers here.
The wealth of correspondence and case files you can read helps establish and expand Control’s lore. Most of these documents are brilliantly written and it’s easy to lose yourself in the Oldest House employees’ petty squabbling. Keeping an eye out for files is also important when it comes to picking up some of the game’s optional abilities. The Research & Records doc, in particular, is tied to optional quests that lead to Jesse picking up powers like Seize and Shield. Keep your eyes peeled and your reading glasses on standby: Control’s files prove illuminating and invaluable for Jesse’s telekinetic powers.
Oh speaking of reading, don’t skip on reading the signs in the house as well. The Control in-game map is… challenging. It only gives you a vague outline of the world you walk around. It’s the in-game signs — like those you would see in any office building — that actually point you toward specific rooms, elevators, and points of interest.
Don’t skip on the small talk either. There are NPCs scattered throughout The Oldest House, and many of them are willing to talk to you. They’ll offer you all-important side quests that will help you upgrade your powers and point you in the direction of interesting secrets. Beyond that, the dialogue in this game is fantastic.
You’re going to want to revisit Emily at the main hub as well as the other NPCs you find scattered around the sectors on a regular basis to catch up with new topics and unravel the mysteries behind the FBC. Also, when you’re speaking to a very important character who is trapped in a cage later in the game, make sure you keep talking to them until they start repeating themselves. I know, very vague, but trust me on this one, there’s a huge payoff.
Elevate Your Travels
The Oldest House is a mess. It’s pretty hard navigating the place and most of the time you’re going to be burning through your precious life minutes running around. If you’re stuck or lost, consider finding an elevator, pressing the button, and looking for the name of your destination. When in doubt start at the Control Sector Elevator, which you can always access right by the Control Point in the Executive Sector.
Elevators are oddly underused in Control, considering how important they are during certain key moments. These function as much more limited fast travel spots and also serve as checkpoints. Not sure how to reach a specific part of a sector you’re in? There’s a good chance it’s actually tied to an elevator, and the game didn’t tell you. Not all elevators lead to the same locations, so check your map for their icons occasionally. Then try them out. Oh! Elevators will also checkpoint you when you die — just like a control point.
Ya’ll Got Anymore Of Them Sidequests?
As we mentioned before sidequests are pretty important to unlocking those rare ability points. But how do you get more of them? Here are some points that you could easily miss out on your first playthrough. Sometimes picking up a collectable will trigger a sidequest. Control is chock full of collectables: discarded pictures, redacted memos, and live-action videotapes. Most of these are story filler. But they’re very interesting story filler. Pick them up and or watch them whenever you get the chance. You may find that a certain collectable will trigger a sidequest. It doesn’t happen very often, but a couple of collectables in the environment will actually point you to new abilities and other upgrades.
The second point, go back and check-in with your NPCs. Emily, Ahti, Underhill, and Arish all have bonus objectives for you to complete as you progress throughout the game. You can find them in Central Executive, the Maintenance Sector, and the Janitor’s Office. Although many of them will begin to congregate in Executive near the end of the game.
Objects Of Power
There are three optional Objects of Power for you to find that can be missed throughout the game. If you do that you’d be locking yourself out from the Seize, Shield and Evade abilities, which are all very important to your mobility and defence strategy in combat. Luckily for you, that link will take you to a guide for all the Object of Power, so get your fix and you can be as potent as possible on the battlefield (and play through some brilliant side missions.)