Control Ultimate Edition Impressions -- Jesse's Back, Back Again
Now you can be weirded out by rubber ducks and elder gods in 4K 60 fps.
When Remedy Entertainment released Control back in 2019, it was met with positive reviews and praise for its unique and weird as hell world. It may not have been perfect, but players were drawn in by its world-building elements and fast-paced action. Fast forward to 2021 and now Control Ultimate Edition is upon us. While it is still largely the same (though it does include the two DLC packs), it is easily the definitive way to play this mind-bending action game.
The setup is not-so-simple. Players take on the role of Jesse Faden as she treks into the Federal Bureau of Control to locate her missing brother. Jesse is quickly given the role of Director after she picks up the service weapon of the recently deceased Director. For whatever reason, the Bureau operates on the same rules as The Santa Clause starring Tim Allen. Oddly enough, that’s not even the strangest thing happening in Control.
Things get wild pretty quickly. It’s not long before you’ve encountered a mixture of Lovecraftian Eldritch horrors and Jungian philosophies. The Oldest House is still one of the most compelling video game locales in recent years. And it just keeps ramping up from the moment you walk through the front doors.
Jesse may have just walked into the building and was given the keys to the kingdom, but she more than holds her own. The abilities you get throughout the game’s story are still a lot of fun to utilize in this version. Using telekinesis to hurl explosives back at enemies or using a mix of dashing and flight to evade attackers is still very satisfying.
“the definitive way to play this mind-bending action game.”
That being said, the combat in Control Ultimate Edition can get a bit repetitive. Which was a gripe many had with the initial release. You’ll regularly be gaining new abilities, but very few of them really feel like major game-changers.
A handful of complaints about Control when it was first released were in regards to performance issues. Thankfully, this enhanced version largely remedies all of those issues. The game was known to have massive frame rate drops and slowdowns during large combat sections or simply from closing a menu. I can happily say that with Control Ultimate Edition, those issues are rarely present. I noticed very brief moments of frame rate drops but nowhere near as prevalent as they were originally.
A host of other enhancements that came in patches to the original game also are immediately available in Control Ultimate Edition. A more forgiving checkpoint system, as well as a wider selection of accessibility options, are some of the other welcome additions here.
One of the biggest draws of this new version is next-gen performance. Control in 2019 was in no way a bad-looking game. It was just often hampered by the limitations of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Jumping from those versions to a Series X makes the upgrades immediately apparent. The game runs at a steady 60 fps with upscaled 4K resolution and I only ever encountered a few hiccups. It’s easily one of the smoothest games available right now.
“It’s easily one of the smoothest games available right now.”
Alternatively, running it with ray-tracing enabled at 30 fps still looks and feels great. You do sacrifice a bit of that smoothness, but it is still visually stunning. All of the lighting and outlandish elements of Control are on full display this way. Regardless of your preference, you’re still in for a great showcase of what next-gen hardware can do when given the proper material to showcase.
Control Ultimate Edition is a revamped version of an already great game. If you haven’t already played it and its equally trippy story DLCs, The Foundation and AWE, then this should not be missed. But if this isn’t your first foray into this world, there isn’t much here that you haven’t already seen. Apart from the technical enhancements, it’s still largely the same game you played a little over a year ago.
All of that being said, Control Ultimate Edition is still easily the best way to experience Remedy’s mind-bending adventure. Whether you’ve already visited before or you’re a newcomer, The Oldest House will welcome you with open and very creepy arms.