IntroductionControl is the month's hottest AAA release, an action RPG from Remedy with the same sophistry as Max Payne and Alan Wake, only this time, the theme isn't urban crime, but rather a riveting science-fiction story involving a secret U.S. government agency tasked with understanding and exploiting a parallel dimension and the paranormal. This is probably the first "open-world" RPG built entirely inside a closed space—a large brutalist government building that can morph itself to open up new areas. You play as protagonist Jessie Fayden, a victim of the government agency who finds herself trapped between a power struggle between two transdimensional factions, the Board and the Hiss, with the latter being the malevolent force that has taken over almost everyone in the building except for a few allies.
The world and atmosphere of Control is possibly the freshest breath of air the gaming industry has come up with in years. The atmosphere is engaging in a Half Life and Metroid kind of way, while the gameplay's core combat mechanic is largely a modification of that of Alan Wake, in which you soften up enemies by performing one action and shoot them down with another. In this case, the telekinetic abilities of Fayden allow her to yeet heavy objects at her enemies and finish them off with her futuristic handgun that has practically bottomless ammo and is able to double up as a shotgun, a marksman's weapon, and a rocket launcher. This weapon is among many abilities the Board gives Fayden in her quest to rid the building of the Hiss threat.
The graphics of Control are first-rate, with lavish use of geometry, tessellation, and high resolution textures that can easily swamp your video memory, and NVIDIA RTX real-time raytracing technology. Control is possibly the most comprehensive implementation of the RTX feature-set so far, with ray-traced contact shadows, diffuse lighting, reflections, and ambient occlusion. Control is based on Remedy's new in-house Northlight engine, which can take advantage of DirectX 12 (needed for RTX), but also features a DirectX 11 fallback.
In this article, we put Control through our selection of 23 graphics cards, tested in DirectX 12 mode at highest details. On a separate page, we also study the performance impact of NVIDIA RTX, along with RTX-on/off image comparisons.