Jesse Faden wants her brother back. The American government took him, specifically the Federal Bureau of Control. It’s become corrupt. An entity known as “The Hiss” took over, turning federal employees into mind-controlled drones. Faden rushes in guns blazing, restoring this government to its rightful form.
Yes, it’s a Trump thing.
It’s difficult to think of a video game more irresponsible than Control. National gun violence, mass shootings, and broken political discourse embody this country in the now – but here’s Control with a frustrated young woman seizing the government akin like John Wick in a nightclub, imposing her will with gunfire.
“This house is filled with vermin,” says a (seemingly) kindly janitor, jabbing the Trump administration and its appalling policy. Control makes its point. That’s fine; more games need to use their platform to speak rather than dodge. But later, Faden shrugs off the suggestion that people might be saved when “The Hiss” is defeated. She keeps on killing; they made their choice and she’ll drain the real swamp. In that, Faden is a liberal Timothy McVeigh.
Control applies a sizable dose of David Lynch-ian fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. Time stopped in the building, stuck in a Cold War nightmare (when “America was great”). Developer Remedy made this surrealism their signature style.
Under that, an utterly derivative left trigger/right trigger shooter with collectibles, climbing, jumping, and sneaking. Control looks innocent, cool and unique even. Yet, that coating makes it more dangerous. Rather than appalling, Control feels and plays comfortably with a determined sense of right pouring from its heroine. The suggestion of Control being a typical power fantasy is all too crude and misplaced.