Control: A Visually Stunning Ray Traced Gem Of A Game Explored

Control Review: Remedy's Latest Is As Weird As Alan Wake And Gorgeous

control combat
Finnish game studio Remedy Entertainment makes some of the finest-looking, quirkiest games around. Perhaps best known for the Max Payne series (but not Max Payne 3, which was developed solely by Rockstar), Remedy has been publishing its games exclusively on Xbox and PC for the last several years. The studio has delivered interesting, story-driven games more recently in the form of cult survival classic Alan Wake and the more recent sci-fi thriller Quantum Break. Both games featured cutting-edge graphics for their respective times. For that reason, maybe it's no surprise that the studio's latest creation, Control, uses the most cutting-edge graphics technology available today, including real time ray tracing

turn back
It's not too late to turn back...or is it?

When the House that Max Built gave us an opportunity to check out what its latest thriller, Control, had in store, we had to say yes. The developer teamed up with NVIDIA to bring a variety of ray tracing effects and the green team's Deep Learning Super Sampled anti-aliasing technique to Remedy's latest title. We're going to take a deep dive into how Remedy applied these effects to the world of Jesse Faden. The environments in the trailer look nice with all the effects enabled, and it'll be interesting to see what you lose if you don't have a GeForce RTX card in your PC. 

Remedy's latest third-person adventure doesn't ship until tomorrow, and you can safely read this article without fear of spoiling the adventure. Since Control's experience is built on a sense of adventure and mystery, plot spoilers would completely ruin the fun. To avoid that, we captured all of our screenshots and performed all of our tests in the first 20 minutes of the game. We won't show any areas that Remedy hasn't already unveiled in the game's official trailers, and we won't discuss any plot points. You're here to see how the game runs on modern hardware and how it looks with all the effects turned up to 11, and we want to save the plot for you to experience on your own. 

chair melee
What'd these chairs ever do to you?

What Is Control?

Remedy's Control is a third-person shooter set in an alternate version of the present. A secretive agency in New York has been overrun by an other-worldly presence. You are Jesse Faden (played by Courtney Hope, who was Beth in Quantum Break), and you're looking for answers, but instead she finds a whole lot more questions. Jesse has some supernatural powers that stem from a mysterious event that happened during her childhood. The director of this agency (voiced by James McCafferty, the voice of Max Payne) advises Jesse throughout the early part of the game. The story was written by Max Payne creator Sam Lake, and it has all of the twists and turns you'd expect from a Remedy game's plot. 

For the most part, Remedy's latest plays like a typical third-person shooter where you can run, duck, jump, melee, and [redacted] your way through baddies or stand back and pick them off. Jesse's customizable Service Weapon starts out as a self-reloading pistol with self-recharging ammo. As you take down enemies, they'll drop health power-ups, so you can heal yourself as you fight on. There are plenty of side missions to go along with the main story, but they're pretty well-hidden throughout the game world. Side missions are more than filler, though. As you find and play through them during the campaign, they unlock upgrades for both Jesse and her Service Weapon, so Control rewards exploration. 

door shadows full rt
What's behind these huge doors? You'll have to play Control to find out.

After a notable absence from Quantum Break, music from the Finnish band Poets of the Fall is in Control. The band has always been connected to gaming ever since their first single, Lift, played during the credits of 3DMark 03. Later that year, Late Goodbye appeared in Max Payne 2's end sequence, and War played during a particularly memorable fight in Alan Wake. It's not exactly related to Control, but My Dark Disquiet from Poets' latest album Ultraviolet is in the game. I'm a fan of their music who discovered it only because of gaming, so it's fun to see them in another Remedy production. Despite their Finnish roots, Poets of the Fall write all of their songs in English to appeal to a wider audience. If you love guitars and a tight, hard rock sound, we encourage you to check them out. 

melee blur
Motion blur is used frugally throughout Control, but it makes your melee attack feel very powerful

What You Need to Play Control

To play on your PC with all of the graphical settings cranked to the limit, it'll need to have Windows 10 with the 1903 (May 2019) update installed. Ray tracing, of course, requires an NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics card. The PC version is an Epic store exclusive, where the game will run you $59.99, and no retail package will be available. It'll also launch simultaneously on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, available from their respective digital storefronts or in physical form. Here's what you need in your system to play the PC version.

Remedy's Control
Minimum and Recommended System Requirements

Minimum Supported Recommended
Processor Intel Core i5-4690 
AMD FX 4350
Intel Core i5-7600K 
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 
AMD Radeon R9 280X
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or 1660 
AMD Radeon RX 580
Graphics Card for Ray Tracing Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
RAM 8 GB 16 GB
Operating System Windows 7, 64-bit only Windows 10, 64-bit only
DirectX version DirectX 11 DirectX 12

The minimum requirements are relatively tame if you're not interested in RTX enhancements. Intel's Core i5 and AMD's FX CPUs were mid-range even by the standards when they were released. The memory requirement should be easy to meet, too, since memory prices have dropped precipitously throughout 2019. Every PC gamer should have 8 GB or more already. Even the required graphics options are pretty low-spec today, though we're only testing with current hardware. The recommended spec of a Radeon RX 580 or GeForce GTX 1060 are realistically what you'll want to really enjoy Control, though. 

Dying in Control will leave you seeing red

For all the ray tracing effects, it's no surprise you'll need a GeForce RTX series graphics card, which is what we're testing with today. Remedy baked in a bunch of ray tracing effects and support for NVIDIA's DLSS anti-aliasing technique. Next up, we'll walk through each of those features and see how the game looks with and without them. 

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