Title: Control: AWE Expansion
Platform: PC, PS4, and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: 505 Games
Release date: Out Now
tl;dr: Jesse Faden meets Alan Wake
Price: £13 / $15
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
The AWE expansion sees Control protagonist, Jesse Faden, reach the Investigations Sector; a long-abandoned part of the Bureau, following a distress call from Alan Wake. Faden needs to investigate the haunted sector in order to confront a creature lurking around. To reclaim the section, she needs to explore the numerous Altered World Events (AWE).
The AWE takes players into a new darker, abandoned area of the Oldest House as players go deeper in the Investigations Sector. If you’ve played through the base game along with the first expansion you will feel right at home. The main difference with the AWE expansion is the fact that Remedy gave Control a more horror-like theme with constantly being shrouded in darkness and also a Hiss covered in darkness on your trail.
The game introduces features from Alan Wake whereas Faden will need to roam around lightly lit, near pitch dark areas where the darkness will slowly suck the stamina out of Jesse. You need to find sources of light and solve puzzles that allow players to illuminate the areas in order to remove the Darkness from covering exits, batteries, battery sockets or anything hindering your path much like Alan Wake.
The expansion also introduces a darkness covered hiss which will be on your tail for most of the playthrough. Battling it is mostly puzzle-based as you need to enable the light to make it flee. It’s a nice diversity from typical basic shooting bosses, but Hartman, the creature, can zip to your spot pretty fast and once it has its hooks in you, it’ll suck out 3/4’s of your health.
Besides the haunting creature, you’ll come across the same enemies found in the core game along with the previous The Foundation expansion. Given that you require to light up the way, most of this expansion requires a lot of finding and using core batteries with your Telekinesis power. It’s a nice change, but it’s overdone. Some of the puzzles require you to follow wires on the ground to indicate you’re putting the batteries in the right spot.
While the core gameplay hasn’t changed, the developers made a wise decision of adding more accessibility features to make it more approachable as Control isn’t the easiest game out there; cheap attacks, frustrating bosses; among other things. However, thanks to this update, players can enable auto-targeting and tweak it, one hit kills and invincibility; among other tweaks. While I can appreciate these additions (albeit very late in the game’s life), Remedy Entertainment took an all or nothing approach. Sure you can make yourself invincible, but where’s the challenge in that? The game could’ve benefitted from a more standard Very Easy/Easy/Normal/Hard/Very Hard accessibility settings.
The game also included arcade cabinets across the game that allows players to re-visit previously completed boss fights. It’s an OK addition, but given a game like Control, there’s no real incentive to do so. The newly added weapon, the Surge, is the game’s equivalent of a grenade launcher; very useful weapon, that does as little damage as the other weapons.
The new level looks great; dark, decrepit and haunting. While some environments might look familiar, being pitched in darkness gives it a whole new feel. The main problem here is that the game is still technically buggy, somehow even worse. Accessing the map or menu-ing still causes the game to stutter; even completely freeze sometimes – meaning if you make the mistake of accessing the map or menu in combat, you’ll be frozen in place while enemies plaster you with projectiles or attacks.
Control’s AWE expansion is a great addition to the universe. Adding a touch of horror to the game was a great decision as it really takes the game in a new direction. It’s also the perfect length and better balanced than The Foundation. Unfortunately, it crashes at the end with a final boss fight that contains the most frustrating and annoying second phase, and also a cliffhanger ending.
- Addition of accessibility features
- Surge weapon is awesome
- Horror themed Control
- Battery puzzles overload
- Cliffhanger ending
- Worst final boss 2nd phase ever
- Traverse the Oceanview Hotel…again
Control AWE Expansion is rated M for Mature and PEGI18 much like the core game.
This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the publisher