The Tedium Of Control: 4K Virtual Photography & Critique

RND/ To consider a Control game / story design assessment.

Via Visiting Resident Bureau Theorist Robert What.

Some 4K Virtual Photography:

Subjective philosophical note fragments arising after recent virtual engagement with Control simulation. Forward to Director Trench eyes only (Astral Plane.)

00: To consider Control as violently mediocre and terminally overrated by easily impressed agents and-or parties acting within this agency. Suggest they ‘run a check’ to see if critical cognitive functioning is at optimal. (Good example: the laughably shill-like, pseudo-philosophical ‘Concrete & Control’ video by Inside Gaming.)

01: In which the real Control game is only ever vaguely symbolically hidden within the drab simulation we got.

02: The voice of Agent Jesse Faden is so stunningly awful, so amazingly bland, it’s a wonder she isn’t shot on sight by other bureau staff for acting so badly – like some Hisser, badly pretending to be remotely human. Janitor Ahti’s broom has more of a believable backstory and personality. Indeed, every time one sees a (pointless) closeup of her dead-eyed mug asking dumb questions to itself, one feels an overwhelming urge to slap it blind with the dirty wet business end of said broom:

Jesse Faden, Agent Of Cluelessness

03: There is next to zero deep interrogation of the themes Control purports to examine – only by accident and by oblique implication are the notions and idea spaces of (say) Cosmic Horror and Brutalist Architecture remotely engaged with.

04: The Bureau itself is one of the more interesting aspects of the game and feels criminally under represented.

05: Other than Janitor Ahti, former Director Zachariah Trench is the most interesting character and has the best voice acting. His removal so early in the game was a big mistake. (Right from the outset, Agents / Players know about and care less than nothing for Jesse, and her instant promotion at the very beginning is arbitrary and without emotional impact.)

3840 x 3840 .jpg – Ideal / Idealized Cost for such Conceptual Work: £160K – contact Robert What for details:

A Thermo-Psychic Bureau Portrait of Director Zachariah Trench

06: While often mildly entertaining, the video based appearances of former Head Of Research Casper Darling do little to actively improve the game, since they feel distinctly incongruous with Controls’ overall aesthetic. Recommend immediate suspension of all live action video in video games.

07: Control would work best as a whole speculative ‘theory-fiction’ space, the video game being only one key aspect of the internet-diffused narrative mega-structure. Instead, there’s very little to go on after a couple of hours playing and one feels highly bored of the whole thing.

08: Rather than a shitty cut-scene, the ‘claiming of spaces’ back from their Hiss state should have been rendered in real-time. In fact the bizarre physical mutation of the structure of The Oldest House should have been rendered in real time as part of the gameplay – like a form of ‘control point capture’.

09: Narrative elements such as contexual lore and back story feel cynically and lazily shoe-horned in. Few want to read a heavily redacted screenshot of a text file nowadays. Why aren’t such elements presented dynamically in-world, live, fully integrated into the game itself, rather than a mere dumb ‘overlay’? The same goes for audiotapes. Nobody listens to them.

10: Once players are exposed to the Hiss for the first time, their subsequent and repetitive reappearance is nothing but mindless grind and a useless obstacle to free movement throughout the Bureau.

11: OK, it’s ‘supposed’ to be a confusing, maze-like labyrinth, but holy Hissing Jebus the map given to agents must be the most useless ever designed. One is better off getting a notion of where North is by the flicking lights seen in a nearby toilet.

12: The game’s often just too fucking dark, and the ray tracing option frankly boring, smeary and grainy. Also without a 2080ti, 16megs and a quick SSD minimum, the fame rate chugs during intense action.

13: One eventually logged off in boredom (waiting for a spore vaccine jab from the good Doctor), feeling unable to continue due to the painfully slow and frustrating speed of traversal and exploration. There simply wasn’t enough emotional engagement or genuine intellectual interest on display to keep one playing and engaged; all the available (/implied) elements of Control never quote gelled to the point one was totally aware of a unified story space being successfully presented. Indeed one felt ‘Control’ should have been simply named ‘Tedium’. (Just check out how bored the last guy looked):

Save me from Control zzzzzz

// how to play big science