Control by Remedy Catch All



It's not quite the end of the game, but it's pretty close. You'll have one more major combat encounter, one that does suffer from not great checkpointing, but also isn't that hard, especially if you stick to high ground near a cover point. I died once and was annoyed by how much I had to re-play, but it was still pretty easy.

Agreed on that song. Cool sequence!

I wound up finishing this last week. I did the exact same thing with cheezing the last several points in Polaris, and don't even feel bad about it.

Spoilers for after that:


The sequence after it wasn't as bad, but it sure wasn't good either. It wasn't so much hard as it was really annoying because the fights were easy but long. I don't know why in that sequence, my gun seemed to melt through enemies faster than any earlier part of the game, but it did. For most of the sequences, I could just hang out on a high platform and whittle everyone down, so mostly low risk, just so many enemies, and no real way to rush it. Then I kept dying at one of the later areas for some dumb reason or other. The first time, it was because I forgot about those invisible guys that had only showed up once before. Then it was some random guy getting me with an explosion or me falling off the platform or something.

I managed to get through, and still have no clue what was going on with the brother or how that whole resolution happened. Then the credits started rolling, I clicked over to the second monitor to browse while they played. That did something weird to the game. It stole focus, skipped the credits, and put me in the post-game, but the credit music kept playing. I dunno if I missed anything or not.

I dunno, I wind up in a weird place with this one. I love the world, and I want to spend more time in it, but the last 1/4 of the game left a bad taste in my mouth. I've got a bunch of side missions I haven't done, but the two or three of those I tried wound up being annoying boss fights, and I kinda don't want to deal with those. Also, I took one quick jaunt into the executive area post-credits, and regular mooks were suddenly WAY tougher. The enemy difficulty jump between the last segment before credits and post-credits is STARK. I might go back and do some more optional stuff, but I'm not certain.

Chaz wrote:

I don't know why in that sequence, my gun seemed to melt through enemies faster than any earlier part of the game, but it did.

The Board tells you they are temporarily giving you a huge boost to your power. Why they couldn't have done this way earlier if they really wanted you to get sh*t done is a hyperreal concept beyond our grasp I guess, just like why Remedy chose to end the game on such an anticlimax by making you so OP the last fight of the game is trivial.

I apparently missed the Shield ability, so I think I'm going to backtrack before continuing on to the quarry area. I think that would have made some fights easier.

I'm kind of bummed, I think I'm on the last sidequest, aside from those mini-quests that pop up periodically. Really looking forward to some DLC.

re Chaz's comments


Agreed on all of it. I hadn't caught the line that Middcore did about the board powering Jesse up, but I generally gathered we were in an end-of-Half-Life-2 situation, although I wish the extra power felt more evenly distributed: non-grunt enemies still took a fair number of shots, and though it was mostly easy, I did get caught from behind by one of those exploding guys and killed very close to the end, and so had to re-play that whole sequence again, blugh.

I'd compared this to the Uncharted series pretty early on in my experience and man does that hold up. There is a lot that I love about this but it's baffling the way they keep throwing their not-great combat in the way of all the stuff that is truly wonderful in this game. The combat is good enough that if there were like 25% less of it, or at the very least much stronger checkpointing, I'd be in love with this game, instead of focusing on its issues.

I'm glad that I'm not alone in not really parsing what happened at the end with the brother. I get that Trench was infected by the slide projector and convinced to let the Hiss in. Then maybe Dylan killed Trench in an attempt to stop the Hiss but was corrupted himself as well? Was Hadron helping Dylan and when Hadron died that's when things went bad but Polaris was there to help Jesse? I don't know, I didn't get any of the stuff about Hadron and Polaris.

Late in the game, when it was revealed that Control was looking at both Dylan and Jesse as possible future directors, I thought we were working towards a reveal about Dylan and Jesse being the same person...there was the comment about how both of their names were very gender-neutral, and there was a shot near the end that I thought was superimposing the image of Dylan over Jesse and showing their face was more or less the same except for the hair? But I don't think that went anywhere, unless I missed something.

mrlogical wrote:

I completed the long and difficult combat sequence in the "Polaris" mission by totally cheesing it. I found that I could trigger the next wave of enemies, retreat to the location of the previous wave, and use Pierce to kill every enemy without ever being in range to fire at me except for the occasional stray low-damage hit. Not very satisfying, but after one too many deaths where I'd methodically plowed my way through dozens of enemies only to walk right into a flying rocket or accidentally tap jump too quickly so I fell off a ledge, I just wanted that fight done.

I did the same damn thing, after a couple of consecutive super-cheesy deaths where I ended up accidentally dodging or levitating off the last platform to my doom. Triggered the wave, flew back to the previous platform, and used Pierce to snipe and Charge to spam rockets until all the enemies were dead. Other battles in the game felt challenging, sometimes frustrating, but never like an infuriating waste of my time. This one just felt bad all around, mostly due to that one ludicrous checkpoint.

"Trick" to the final stage of the Hedron Chamber slog:


Fly right over the button to the far side of the final platform before you start the fight. Instead of attacking uphill against enemies who have the high ground and clear line of sight to you, there's ample cover to pick them off 1 or 2 at a time. Plus as I recall the regular mook enemies who can't levitate actually won't be able to even get up to you so you can ignore them until after the end.

beanman101283 wrote:

I apparently missed the Shield ability, so I think I'm going to backtrack before continuing on to the quarry area. I think that would have made some fights easier.

I got Shield early and NEVER remembered I had it during the whole of the game!

pyxistyx wrote:

I got Shield early and NEVER remembered I had it during the whole of the game!

It gets better when you power it up to throw the shield debris at enemies, but yeah I frequently forgot to use it for a large chunk of the game.

I didn't get Shield until after I had completed the game.

I'd heard it existed and raced to find it about the time I started getting destroyed by rockets. It was reasonably effective but not exactly essential.

Not having shield seems like it would make combat hard, because the enemies drop the health near their feet and the player is likely to kill them from a distance due to firearms. I found if my health dropped at all in a decent fight it was a good idea to shield, wander around where some enemies died ignoring the active enemies, then pick a new spot to re-engage.

The debris throwing upgrade was a waste. Better to pick a better vantage point and use firearms and toss stuff.

The friction I have with this game is that lots of parts are mixing platforming and gun combat, often aiming upwards. You can't see your feet and there are death holes in the ground.

By the time I hit that one boss the second time where you shoot-up-but-don't-fall I said screw it. If he wasn't optional I wasn't finishing the game, but he was huzzah!

Makes me wonder if there were builds where the camera controller was better about always showing your feet, or if there technical reasons that wouldn't work.

I've finished the game yesterday as well. I don't know, maybe because I was playing using KB+M but I've never had any issues with combat and loved it all the way to the end. Except for that one boss fight with death holes Danjo mentioned.

I really appreciated the game's (arguably) modest length, it ended just as I was getting bored with it. I have a couple of side quests left unfinished and I am not sure if I am going back to finish them. Especially with Outer Worlds on the horizon.

I don't finish a lot of games but I did finish this one. For me, it's a sign of an exceptional game, although, I do agree that the ending was a bit unclear. I guess, they are building towards future DLCs but I don't like this kind of approach. I usually don't go back to games I finished playing and don't buy DLCs, we'll see what happens with Control.

So this weekend I decided to just push on through and get this game scratched off my pile. It's a weird relationship in that the game is engaging, exciting, and so maddeningly frustrating. It fails to be great because it makes decisions that are absolutely baffling.

Also: I completely over-thought the punch cards in a manner that my friend will probably never let me live down, and I will be that pride-hurt old man saying "But the whiteboard said 'dimensions'! If it wasn't important they shouldn't have written it!" Then several puzzles after I clear through just fine, no problem.

I like the Oldest House. I like reading the documents. I like elements of the story, and I think I'd like Jesse a lot more if her narration wasn't reminding me of the intrusive nature of Blade Runner's theatrical voice over. The manner in which they cut away to her internal thoughts feels more like an unwelcome interruption, even though there are moments where it certainly does add a bit of character. I don't mean when she bluntly tells you what she's feeling, either. Perhaps the best use was when Langston was talking about the Altered Items, and immediately she thinks "Did he say 'singing'...?" It reflects the sort of response someone might actually have in the middle of someone talking. On the whole, though, it feels like cutting away to her internal monologue constantly is just adding to the game's verbose nature and says little of value, be it for developing her character or moving the story forward.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, though. Alan Wake, after all, was a lot closer to Blade Runner's theatrical narration, though the writing there seemed a bit more fitting due to the protagonist's profession as an author. Jesse doesn't narrate as if she's jotting words down on a typewriter, which is fitting for her character but also just makes the side-notes just... blunt, sudden, and often intrusive.

I can understand someone claiming that these help develop Jesse or help her feel like she's more developed than your standard command-following game protagonist, but the vast majority of her internal monologue doesn't really say much about who she is. She's obsessed with finding her brother, she deeply trusts Polaris, and she has no trust or love for the Bureau. That's about it. The closest you get is the juxtaposition between what she says and what she's thinking. When she speaks, she sounds like your average game protagonist asking questions or inquiring about the situation, or expressing care for someone in a side quest, or yatta yatta. That's the closest to any real "personality", if you can call it that, but these are all "tell, don't show" to me. She says things, but her behavior is as sterile as the bags of snacks in the vending machines.

I'm hoping, as the game progresses, there's some revelations or other information that adds some kind of retrospective reinterpretation. It's just that kind of a setting and story, after all.

Anywho, enough about Jesse. The combat. I've completed six missions and am now on the beginning of the seventh, though I'm about to do some side quests. I fixed The Fridge and have a bunch of other things to chase down, plus Emily's compatriot under Central Research, some deep cleansing for the Janitor, and one or two other things. Hopefully I'll get some ability points that will allow me to boost up my abilities.

Which brings me to my first real issue: GameGuru, you love to tell people "just seize them healing spheres", but that advice is pretty worthless unless 1) you have Seize in the first place, and 2) you've saved all your ability points to do nothing but upgrade Seize to the maximum duration so you can also unlock that last ability on the bottom of its tree (which I'm assuming is what allows you to seize the spheres). Which, let's be honest, no new player is going to think to do. I've been prioritizing Seize above other abilities just for that, and by chapter seven I still don't have it. So, really, that advice is pretty worthless for over 50% of the game for most players.

Especially because, really, boosting launch damage is far, far more valuable for, oh... 100% of the game. Not that the two can't work in tandem. By Chapter 5, Launch was powered up enough I could throw something at a shielded enemy and leave them with just enough health to seize them, pulling bigger guys to my side while the smaller enemies are frequently killed by a single toss of an object. The gun is basically there for when you run out of telekinesis.

As someone else noted, I've also found some good use in the shield in dire situations, notably when you're low on health and need to wander the battlefield picking up the little gems. It is here I feel it worth noting that I also experienced something similar to Shamus Young, where I added a health boost to my personal mod and all it did was increase the amount of damage the enemy dealt while those little blue health gems restored the same small amount. So boosting health is pretty worthless in this game, to the point that I have to wonder why it's even there or who play-tested it. I removed the health boost mod, and the same attacks are doing the same percentage of damage. So shots that looked bad enough to kill me in one hit with the boosted health were now... doing the same general amount of damage, just on a smaller bar.

I was given the advice to "just keep moving" again this morning, to which I must respond: "Yes, I was indeed moving as I was seizing that soldier, moving into what I thought was cover, the camera focused purely on the man I was seizing. Then some mook ran up and bopped me in the head and I was brought back to an awful checkpoint."

So "just keep moving", "use your abilities", and "just seize the sphere" are three worthless bits of information that I put on the same level of value as "git gud". Especially because I'm no n00b to video games and understand a designer's intent at this point.

However, some of my issues may be unique to me, because I decided I'd be a l33t g4m3r br0 and shut off aim assist on my PS4. I swiftly turned one of those back on, but I think tonight I'm just going to turn the other one on.

Now, the greatest reason I turn aim assist off in games when I can is because of Bungie and Destiny. If you are aiming down your sites at one enemy and another crosses in front, the cursor will automatically magnetize to that passing enemy. This can screw you up when you're sniping. Most recently, in Vex Invasion, there are objects called Oracles you must shoot down with specific weapons in order to progress forward. While shooting at one of these objects, enemies spawned in. The cursor sank right down to the ground with the spawning enemies, wasting my finite ammunition intended for the Oracle. It is scenarios like this that cause me to try and shut off aim assist, even if I realize 80-90% of the time it is helping me feel like I'm actually accurate with two thumbsticks.

So I now have half of Control's default aim assist on. I have no clue if any of it is on by default for PC players or if it's only there for controllers, but if you're like me and on a console, then you probably left your two aim assist options on, and they helped you through the game.

By turning at least one of them off, I noticed something.

Being a console peasant, the first FPS I truly fell in love with was Halo: Combat Evolved. One of the reasons I continued to love and compare other games to it years later was the crosshair.


See that crosshair? Whenever you pull the trigger, bullets will hit somewhere within that crosshair. Naturally, this means the further you are from something, the further they'll spread. However, the closer you are, and the more compact they are. It's very informative, and I had conducted several tests back in high school and early College to see if this was true. Halo, after all, was an early game that would maintain all bullet-hole textures in a space. So you could just pull the trigger, fight the recoil, and get a general sense of where the bullets would land. It was pretty much always within that crosshair, no matter how close or far from the wall you were.


This is Control's crosshair. I suspect it's with both forms of aim assist on. Whereas Halo's crosshair served as a general region you could expect a bullet to land -- valuable and predictable information -- Control's crosshair is like the center target of the dart board. Without whatever aim assist option it is that I have shut off, the actual destination of the bullet is like a dart being randomly determined to land somewhere on or around that dart board center target. So even if the crosshair is on an enemy's head, the bullet may fly right over it. So I've ended up aiming more for the chest region, though that still doesn't guarantee the bullet will land. I'm not just talking long-distance, either. I'm talking mid-range combat where the enemy isn't that far from me, twenty to thirty feet average.

Based on that GIF, I'm guessing one of the aim assists magnetizes bullets to targets more easily ("magnet" is definitely used in one of the aim assist descriptors), but you can still see the trace of the bullet in the air. It's not landing where that crosshair is.

This has led to a lot of frustration in me, because Control's crosshair doesn't serve to indicate where a bullet will land. It's just an approximation. If you have both aim assists, on, then the game is likely doing a bunch of tricks so that you don't notice or realize this, and that our clumsy pedestrian two-thumbstick hands can feel proud of killing enemies "with precision".

Needless to say, this is some bad game design, but it's also only something I noticed because I decided I was gonna be l33t g4m3r br0 so I'll give it a pass.

Still, it probably explains half the reason I wasn't so fond of the Pierce gun when I first got it and used it. The zoom mods are pretty pointless since the amount that they zoom is pretty insignificant. If you don't have aim assist fully on, then it's going to behave just as approximately as the pistol (this is also probably one of the reasons I don't find the spin all that useful). However, in the fight against Salvador, he yelled at me to "USE PIERCE". So I did. And I discovered that, against those crappy telekinesis enemies that throw terrain at you that breaks your shield and you can't catch, yes, Pierce is the ideal weapon.

I have to wonder if the development team tried multiple different power and mod combinations, however. A game with a skill tree and mods and multiple weapon selections suggests that there should be more than just one method to defeat an opponent. Salvador is a foe type that has a shield up while moving, and shield down when attacking. It feels like their projectiles are homing, because your evade has to be incredibly precise to avoid the massive damage-dealing strikes they send out. Pierce and Shield work around this. Use the Pierce gun while Salvador is moving to bypass the shield and bring some health down. Maybe switch to pistol for some additional pot-shots, then bring your own Shield up and find cover while Salvador attacks.

My third try on the fight I managed to survive because I stayed in cover, seizing one of the strong guys to help draw Salvador's aggro while I focused on the smaller fellows. This led to it being just me and Salvador, which made the fight a lot easier. Swapping between Pierce and Shield kept me alive, and as a result it was a lot more possible. It did feel like there were fewer mooks, though, so maybe Shamus' "adaptive difficulty" theory does hold some water, I dunno. Too hectic to have done a real head count. Nonetheless, I can only wonder what the expectation is if you don't use the Pierce gun. There should be alternate methods to defeat the boss, not just one. At least, given the game's design.

Really, though, I can't say for sure if I'm actually right about any of that bullet accuracy stuff until I play again tonight, turning aim assist fully on. I'll give the different weapons a second try after and see if it makes a difference. I still feel like the encounters are poorly designed. The best I can describe it is that each encounter is given a point value like Warhammer battles, and the developers just drop a bunch of big guys and then some smaller mooks.

Oh, and the random nature of enemy spawns? Yeah, way to take a location I'd love to explore more of and kill that interest completely. I went through the side door of a giant room into the next, went up some stairs, and then came back in only for four rocket guys to spawn in. And the checkpoint before Salvador's boss fight? Yeah, guys kept spawning on the bridge.

The game needed a Resident Evil approach, where you clear out a portion of the building and it remains clear until it repopulates at later story points. Then again, Resident Evil didn't rely on an economy and loot drops for its mods.

Regardless, they definitely could have done a better job on enemy spawns. As it is, I really have no interest in seeking out every nook and cranny of the old house.

Yeah, respawning enemies kills my desire to explore in this game. I had the thing happen where I cleared a room, walked partway down a connecting hallway before deciding to turn back, and had to clear that same room all over again. There are these oddly punitive design decisions throughout that just feel like uber-hardcore gamers designed it and didn't file all the rough edges off before release.

I wish the shotgun felt better to use. It feels weak overall, and when I'm frantically running around, it's difficult to aim. I haven't messed with the autoaim options, but I've actually come around on Spin. Spraying bullets everywhere somehow feels better with the wishy-washy accuracy than trying to pinpoint headshots with Grip.

I haven't noticed what you said about health, though. I definitely felt incredibly fragile starting out, dying in 2 or 3 hits. Now, in mission 6, I don't really worry about gunfire since it doesn't seem to effect me nearly as badly as thrown debris, those exploding enemies, or those invisible enemies with the concussion blasts.

I do agree that the internal monologues from Jesse are oddly placed/paced and I overall have no really attachment to her character. I'm hoping to learn more about her background here soon, based on where I'm heading, but I also won't be surprised if the game decides to hold back. Also, separately, Jesse and Emily Price's mouths move really... oddly. Like their jaws are stretching their flesh too far for I don't know how else to describe it.

It's overall been a really odd experience playing this. That first boss fight was a real punch to the mouth, and it made the subsequent hours a really stressful experience. I didn't want to die and have a terrible checkpoint ruin my gameplay session. Additionally, I really don't enjoy the setting at all. It's cold, intimidating, and I don't get much satisfaction coming to a new area. It's just cold and grey in a different way. However, the collectibles and friendly faces around the building do a lot to offset that. And, after those initial few hours, I started to have a lot of fun with the combat. I've had some really thrilling encounters (black rock quarry is a standout) that I'll remember for a while. The minute to minute flow of exploring and combat is fun in a new area. But I don't like returning to an area I already cleared and have to fight again. And once I set the game down, I have to kind of force myself to boot it back up again. I thought I'd play straight through it in a week but I keep taking multi-day breaks from it which have made it take a lot longer than I expected.

So odd. I generally suck at games these days mostly because of age and slowing reflexes but while some of the boss fights were hard and I died occasionally during combat I never felt like combat and boss fights were that hard. I play all games on easy where I can and got through all the fights at the most on the 3rd or 4th try. The hardest boss was the camera on the one boss you fight twice that destroys the floor.

Maybe it’s a Remedy thing. I know how to get through their combat by playing all their games. Liberal use of Seize and Throw were pretty much all I needed. And yeah never staying still at all. Constant moving which brings me to another thing. I never worried about aiming it’s far better to just fire and never use the aim. You shoot faster and aiming doesn’t help all that much with accuracy.

Played a lot tonight, though it feels like I didn't actually get much done. Completed some side missions mostly and finished mission seven.

So I double-checked, and the two modes of "aim assist" are ...well, Aim Assist, where bullets magnetize towards enemies more, and a Slowed Reticule, where the cursor slows once you're on an enemy.

Some encounters are ridiculous because of the environment they're in, and others are ridiculous due to the type and quantity of foes dropped in. Some fights I clear through no problem, others I feel like I die not from the enemy, but the level-design or something. Invisible monster in close-quarters? That's... not ideal. I've maxed out Launch and Seize, and have a personal mod to boost seize speed. Nevertheless, going to try and capture the sphere at one point was the cause of my demise. It's useful if you can get it, but at this point I don't have to worry much about enemies healing anyway since Launch just about one-shots most of 'em, and those it doesn't kill I seize.

I'm going to go after the Flamingo and then the Duck, but I'm going to look up Mold/Fungus Monster I think since he felt impossible once down to half health. I cannot find the Pump Station that the Janitor wants me to cleanse of mold. It looks like you head right to it from around his office, but for the life of me I can't find the passageway for it. It's driving me nuts.

I'll definitely be completing this game over the next few days, though naturally Destiny updates tomorrow so... I guess it depends on how Wednesday night goes for me.

For me, I used seize to split my enemies focus more than anything else. Otherwise it was move-and-dodge, move-and-dodge. Throw heavy stuff at them to knock enemies off balance and take our armor, and then fill them full of bullets using mostly spin and shatter. Almost never used pierce.

TheGameguru wrote:

So odd. I generally suck at games these days mostly because of age and slowing reflexes but while some of the boss fights were hard and I died occasionally during combat I never felt like combat and boss fights were that hard.

Yeah, I thought the challenge was about perfect, it was tough at times, really kept me on my toes, and it was fun enough to offset occasional frustrating moments. For whatever reason the worst spot for me was the anchor/clock spewing boss, I died to that thing like seven or eight times. Essej, also I think I died about five times. Those were really the only times I got kinda frustrated, but then it sure felt good to beat them.

There's a number of factors that could lean into it. I was watching a video this morning for finding the pump station (naturally the door is against a wall I feel pretty certain I went and explored but I guess I missed it?), and the player was dang near ignoring the random encounter that spawned in that room. He was right near the enemies, but they weren't firing or coming in to melee or nothing. It just seemed bizarre to me because I feel like foes are far more aggressive.

Regardless, that anchor boss and then the second showdown with Tommasi were both examples of finding optimal strategies, over-thinking, and other factors. I'll spoiler tag them since... well, they could count as spoilers.


So, funny thing about the Anchor is that he's actually very simple. The problem I ran into is that the first time I tried to launch a clock at its core, my timing was off. I didn't get a hit in and instead got blasted by the regurgitated clocks. This shifted my strategy completely to trying to time myself to jump and levitate to the side and get two Pierce shots in before descending to the next platform. Once the mooks spawn in, though, this becomes a major mess, and the Anchor suddenly going ballistic at about half-health makes it even worse. So after my second attempt I send a text to my buddy ranting about it. After the third attempt he mentions using "launch". On my fourth attempt I finally levitate to the side but launch a clock at its core.

Major damage is dealt and the sphere's armor closes up. All of a sudden I feel like an idiot because the "strategy" is obvious, and that's why the clocks glow red. To make sure you think to launch it. But I was distracted by the immense power of the clock cannon and left with the impression that launch wasn't effective, and rather than adapt my timing I simply came up with a different strategy altogether. I don't think I ought to blame the game for that, though admittedly there's nothing to indicate launching will have an entirely different response than shooting. That's a fight that I feel "Yeah, that's on me".

But the Tommasi fight I feel is an example of the game's design, even though I had a perfect example of how to better handle it in Ordinary Dump. The funny thing about the Ordinary Dump is that I was able to take some time to explore upon entry and went to the very top walkway. As I explored the walkway for hidden treasure, enemies spawned in below. Despite there being a bunch of suicide explosive Hiss, none of them came up to attack. Some tried to, but the A.I. pathing doesn't seem sophisticated enough to draw a line up stairs. It seems like the pathing is more intent on heading straight for the player, so while there were some that began heading to the stairs, they'd stop and head back towards me, but far enough below so as to be meaningless. Was one of the easiest encounters simply because I could snipe with Pierce or Launch from high up above.

Tommasi is in an almost identical room, but because the fight begins as soon as you enter I didn't have much time to really observe the environment until I succeeded on attempt... four? I think four is the magic number for me. Regardless, it was only then I realized it was a carbon copy of the Ordinary Dump and the strategy would have likely worked just as well up there.

Instead, while I did see stairs at one point, they are a confined space where Jesse could easily get trapped and I didn't know where they went, so under duress and with enemies coming in I ignored them and kept moving.

But to rewind back, the thing about Tommasi is that he is constantly moving, meaning lining up a shot takes time, especially if his shield is up. He's of that psychic Hiss class that dodges Launch attacks 90% of the time, so you basically gotta rely on Pierce to take down that shield. This is difficult enough, but it's also easy enough to stave off his own attacks in a one-on-one. Once the shield is down and he goes into offensive mode, launching anything will force him to dodge and drop what he's preparing to throw. So, the first phase of the fight is easy enough.

But then the spawns show up.

I don't know why the encounter designer is obsessed with the Kamikaze Hiss. They always appear in droves and they always take several shots to defeat. They're definitely an enemy where, like Guru, I don't bother aiming down the sights because I just need to keep moving or else one will explode on me. So, I now have to whittle down the Kamikaze Hiss while keeping an eye on the HUD to know when Tommasi is gonna toss some rocks. In that instance it's Shield up, because there's not enough time to locate him and launch something his way.

Oh, did we forget to mention an invisible Hiss also spawned? Well you do now, because while you were already preoccupied by Tommasi, whose stone throws can wipe out nearly all your health, and those Kamikaze Hiss, whose explosive selves can wipe out nearly all your health, you failed to notice the invisible Hiss that can also wipe out nearly all your health.

Huh. A room full of monsters that all wipe out nearly all your health. That's... creating a major issue of who to prioritize, because they're all pretty lethal.

Fortunately on my last run I was able to weaken Invisible Hiss down and Seize it, which helps not only remove them as a factor but deal some decent damage to other spawns. Fortunately the soldiers are a lot more manageable, and I can seize them as well. The problem is that you need to survive up to that point. Once that Invisible Hiss was cleared things became a bit more manageable, but that first wave was effectively "which nearly-insta-killing opponent requires your attention most"?

The Kamikaze foes automatically make me think of Destiny and how they manage their own explosive foes, but I don't know if I want to make direct comparisons like that because it can become a full essay. It's very similar in that you're often getting attacked by waves of deadly opponents that can quickly kill you, but they're either slow under most circumstances or easy to kill and bunched up so they explode one another – or both. Plus, it's a game with respawns and more forgiving checkpoints. The Kamikaze Hiss spawn in groups, but whether one dies and causes a chain reaction is often a stroke of luck. In Destiny, such foes are a swift concern that you typically wipe out in seconds. In Control, they're a prolonged focus because they all move erratically and at enough of a distance of one another.

If the game had spawned soldiers and just the Invisible Hiss, or soldiers and just the Kamikaze Hiss, then it would have been a bit more manageable. Instead, I had to keep moving – the biggest advice given about this game's combat – which would typically lead to me rounding a corner and unintentionally walking into the invisible enemy. Yes, they technically have auditory cues, but everything else does too, and none of them seem to overpower the others. In the thick of combat, it can be easy to miss out on the cue (unlike the rocket, whose sound is unique, stands out, and lets you know to just use launch even if you can't see where it's coming from... and even then it's like a 75-80% chance that you'll grab the rocket and not something else). The distortion in the air is an okay clue, but it leaves a lengthy and sometimes inconsistent trail. I learned to seek out the red eyes, but in more hectic scenarios it's pretty hard to focus on that, especially when, again, you have half-a-dozen explosive floaties following you in close-quarters and, oh yeah, the boss is getting ready to toss two lethal bits of rock your way (the best strategy to avoid, by the way, being to sit behind cover since the enemy's launch has homing ability).

Then again, if there's anything I could probably stand to use more, it's dodge. It's not that I don't use it (though when fighting Former? Giant worm guy? Yeah, favorite is when you dodge right into a hole in the ground you didn't realize he made in the final phase of the fight so you just plummet to your death. That's the best. Just... the very best). It's that in shooters, dodge is rarely a mechanic, so under duress I don't use it as often as I should. Still, gotta be looking at Tommasi to get that dodge timing right, and that means taking your eyes away from every other lethal thing around.

Which leads me to my final observation... why didn't Tommasi drop health pellets as I damaged him even though every other boss thus far seems to? That just seemed strange. I guess because the other enemies spawn in? But that was one of the few fights that I felt like health was a real scarcity and I was forced to try and do it as perfectly as possible.

So, a real headache, if I ever play the game a second time I'll know to just levitate to the top and it'll be way easier. But I think the choice of enemies in that scenario is an example of the encounter designer not actually thinking about the choices a player has to make in that situation, but "Hey, y'know what grouping of enemies would be really hard?" I can see the different strategies available for the different foes and how they'd work in certain scenarios, but the way it's all brought together is often just... frustrating to me.

That said, I'm still engaged and enjoying it enough that I want to keep going and see it through. Will I ever play it again? I dunno, man. But I'll definitely remember it, that's for sure.

Re: Anchor, you're still making it harder than it needs to be


Stand on the platform you first walk out on and stay there. Don't levitate to any others.

Launch the red clock at the Anchor when it "looks" at you. Wait as it revolves pointlessly around the room, dispatching any ads in the meantime. When it comes back around again, grab a clock (any clock, the regular ones work they just don't do as much damage as the red ones) and launch it at the boss when it's about to attack you. Repeat until the boss is dead.

It's actually a very boring boss since it spends 75% of its time doing stuff that doesn't threaten you in any way. You could probably kill it quicker by going from platform to platform to get red clocks but it also exposes you to more risk.


That's harder than it needs to be, but there's no way I'm going to spend that long on a boss should I go back. Plus, once I learned the process, it became easy to deal with adds anyway. Just let the sphere keep rotating, kill adds, jump counter to the direction Anchor is rotating until I catch up and can launch a clock back at its core. Not a very challenging boss at all in that regard.

Just... y'know, which I figured it out sooner.

I'm in the final stretch, will probably beat the game after work today. For clarification to those that have beaten it:


I have to reach Darling's lab, still inside the "Hiss Dream" I suppose. Cripes, just writing that made me realize I'm possibly in Dylan's dream. I already made the connection between his dream where he said Jesse was an office girl and he was the director. I liked that touch, though it was one you could miss if you didn't get all of the conversations with Dylan. Nonetheless, I just discovered Polaris was "a catalyst", that the Director was infected by the Hiss in slide 36, and that he let 'em in with the other slide. From there, it's a bit fuzzy because there's some implication of time/dimension travel so that Jesse killed Trench and left the gun for herself? I dunno, we'll see what the game's ending has in store.

A few notes from last night, where I mopped up the Hidden Trophy side missions and then this morning, completing missions 8 and 9.

In regards to Mold-1, which I saw mentioned by Aristophan previously:


I did a rare and looked up a guide to see how you're supposed to survive the second half of that fight. The guide revealed that, yes, the boss has an exploit. Drop down into the pit and hide behind the growth/platform to your right. If you shoot from the platform's left side, the enemy will engage its AI like normal. If you shot from the platform's right side, Mold-1 will do absolutely nothing. I was expecting it to start pumping that poison gas, but it never did. Just sat there staring at me as I went between Launch and Pierce to attack the middle stalk. Ended up being the easiest boss fight in the game.

The Mirror:


This is where I'm starting to question all prior advice regarding combat, and perhaps how much depends on play styles and powers. I fought Essej twice. The first time I was largely in the center chamber, running around, catching her rockets and tossing 'em back, etc. In her third phase she killed me. It was rough and I was frequently seeking blue gems she dropped to restore health.

Second attempt I decided to jump right up to the "second floor". She never chased me. She stayed in the middle of the room. This allowed me to keep behind cover, catching rockets and, when necessary, hiding behind the column. There was one point where I needed to drop down, shield up, and grab health, but otherwise it was far easier. So I managed to defeat Essej on my second try with a lot less trouble. Even then, it was still challenging because the environment crumbles and I had to expose myself to danger in order to get some shots off on occasion, or I could catch the first rocket but not the second or third. In the end, it was challenging, but one of my favorite fights of the game because it was challenging and one-on-one. Never had to worry about sudden enemy spawns.

The Ashtray Maze:


I, uh... thought it was pretty cool? But it definitely wasn't the big highlight that folks here and my buddy had me expecting it to be... which is basically a perfect distillation of me and this game as a whole. Part of it is going to be the fact that, yes, I did die. Once again, those stupid suicidal floating cadavers, but this time in an environment where you can't just run from 'em. You gotta levitate, and then try and make sure you can land properly, but at least this time if you plummet to your doom you just respawn immediately. Could really use that in other spots of the game.

Still, once the telekinetic guy came out and I was trying to shield his projectiles and take care of the kamikaze guys, I wound up getting exploded from behind and then projectiled to the face. Was irritating, but not awful.

What I found curious was they did take potential death into account, and simplified the maze to be just the combat encounters on the second round... which is fine. The encounters weren't overly difficult, and the soundtrack was cool to have in the background, but the shining moment for me was when the environment was getting all abstract escher painting on ya. There wasn't enough of that for me, which in hindsight I was really counting on more of in this game. Like, in hindsight, it made me realize how surprisingly straight-forward the Old House is after the first couple of hours.

I also guess I'm more used to the whole "music and gameplay sync up" thing, or the music helping you to feel awesome. I mean, I played both Astral Chain and Devil May Cry 5 this year, and the latter adds more layers to the song as you perform better. So, while Control makes the encounters more simplified and easier to survive compared to other encounters so that you feel empowered and awesome, Devil May Cry 5 rewards your improved skill and performance with more music to develop that sort of celebratory "Yeah man you're awesome!" emotion. Plus, well... when it comes to emotional capstones of the year, the final boss of Devil May Cry 5 really does bring it all together in a way Ashtray Maze most definitely fails to achieve. But I doubt anyone here really cares (and if you do, this video will explain the why from 44:57 to 50:20 (just... beware, he does get hyperbolic, and don't watch the whole thing unless you're ready to roll your eyes when he gets action game elitist)).

The segment was definitely a highlight, I can say that much for certain. I might have honestly enjoyed it more if everyone wasn't saying how amazing it was, though.



So oddly enough, this segment gave me no real trouble. However, it was largely due to each battlefield being larger than the ones that typically are a hassle for me. Able to run back and forth, sometimes with cover to duck behind, and two guys I can seize before the larger groups of forces come in, allowing me to pick major foes off and then seize replacements. I was hoping this would be the "six waves" or something people were discussing, but it seems like the real "slog" is still to come.

My takeaways from playing last night and this morning are that there's a lot of simplified advice for how to handle combat, but there are actually a lot of tactics and strategies that are advantageous that run contrary or feed into it. Largely, it depends on the environment the encounter is occurring in, and some environments are far more ideal than others.

The first thing I'll note is that I find Control to be much like last year's Spider-Man: filled with abilities on the skill tree that really ought to be available from the start. In addition, I feel like a lot of bonuses and even weapon mods would have been better if executed as individual upgrade items you found. So something to increase health rather than buying more health in a skill tree. However, the skill tree means you can max out your health or telekinetic power by simply doing quests and buying them rather than being forced to scour the entire Old House. Given that the Old House, while fascinating, is not built in as easy or fun a manner to navigate as a Resident Evil mansion or Metroid Prime world, I'd say 100% collection would be less than ideal. Nevertheless, the only thing I need to power up now is Melee, and I feel like I'm finally at a power level I should have been from the game's start. Which means, in the final stretches of encounters, I'm feeling fully empowered and will have a better time in combat than all those prior struggles, my latter memories over-writing most of the earlier ones.

I'm also probably just better adapting to the game and learning its quirks.

Nonetheless, I think Levitate is a real game changer in a number of ways, the first being that it's easier to access the higher ground. Like Obi-Wan, being elevated above the mooks makes it easier to pick them off one-by-one, and also to more easily isolate the more powerful foes. When I think of the smoothest running combat encounters, they often shared an elevated space of some sort, be it to both sides of the room or just one side. There was still a lot of movement, as enemies can and will flank if you're not careful. Being able to fly from one side of the room to the other (using dodge to help accelerate the speed at which you cross) is great if you start to feel pressure. So, yes, keep moving, but also don't be afraid to find a spot you can hang back and use some cover.

I think my biggest gripe with the Kamikaze Cadavers (Kamikadavers?) is that they not only force you to move, but to move without rational purpose. Yes, you shouldn't stick behind just one piece of cover. But keeping your distance is valuable as it gives you a good overview of the battlefield (one of the reasons being elevated helps), but also lets you know where to move and when is the best time. Once those suicide bombers show up, you gotta just start moving. My issue is I prioritize them and try to take 'em out as quickly as possible. The best route is to levitate away and shoot 'em from the air, but naturally this exposes you to every boss. But if you stick to the ground, you're vulnerable to melee or the invisible guys.

Regardless, I feel like you should pretty much beeline through the story until you get Levitate, then start doing side missions to boost all your abilities up.

Returning to the subject of health, I previously said I think it's percentage based due to the amount certain attacks deal. I no longer think that's correct. With nothing else to spend my points on but health and melee, I've maxed out my health bar. I think what really happens is, if your health bar is shorter than the amount of damage an enemy attack will deal, then it will obliterate 99% of your health. I say this because I'm not sure regular enemy fire makes much of a difference, and is easy to recover. Not something I can really experiment with, though. To that end, it might be more worthwhile to upgrade your health for certain encounters depending on which mooks you know show up. If everything is explosive in some way, then two hits are still gonna take you down regardless. But if it's one or two explosive foes with a bunch of machine gun mooks, more health will help out against the mooks.

For my style of play, it was always better to be at a distance. At the same time, if you've upgraded your Shatter gun to be powerful and... well, useful, then pairing it with a maxed out Shield and mods to boost reload speed while shielded is probably a great pair to have. Run in, bust some guys up with the Shatter, Shield up, reload and collect health gems, then throw the shield back at 'em to cause stagger and shoot 'em to death.

Not a strategy I would use often, and you'll note I advise a test with maxed out shields and specific mods. I think this game does have tactical options and customization, but the problem is I feel like you're awfully handicapped until everything is maxed out. This is a game that ought to be a lot more enjoyable on a New Game Plus, which I don't think is offered. A real shame.

Anyway, probably only going to make one more post after this regarding the game's conclusion and any final confrontations. I'm sorry for coming in and regularly peeing on people's Cheerios. I know it stinks when you really like something and someone like me busts in like "Actually it's not that great and here's my TED Talk as to why". It's been helpful in getting my own thoughts sorted, and honestly, bouncing ideas against people that disagree or have their own perspective does help me to try new things in the game and see if there might be something I'm not seeing. In the end, I think I've better understood it too late, but I'm no longer feeling like I'll never touch the game again.

Guess I got nothing to add tomorrow after all. The final sequence of fights technically wasn't awful, but that last arena kept kicking my butt until... I basically stayed in the upper level of the arena where you essentially jump on, hiding behind the cover, killing Kamikadavers as they came close. So "just keep moving"? Nah man, not at all, because that kept killing me. Elevated platform with plenty of cover to jump between is the way to go.

Plus maxed out Shield.

It would have felt more worthwhile were the ending not the 2019 equivalent of NES game endings. Thought there'd be more to talk about, but nope. They just had no clue how to end that story, huh?

So you guys are saved from another monster post from me.

Traditionally I think remedy like to put their real endings in dlc! Going by Alan wake anyway.

Trying to polish this one off and nearly gave up yesterday. I got over the hump and i'm ready to hopefully progress further today, but it was a near thing.

It was mission 8, when you have to track down Ahti. You come to a room with a ton of mold guys, including the guys that shoot you from afar. I was dying ridiculously quickly here, so I thought I'd tackle some side quests to boost some abilities. I had unlocked the one earlier that gets you resistance to mold and decided to try that one first to see if it would help (spoiler alert: it didn't).

So I descend into The Pit looking for mold samples. This took three attempts due to not initially seeing where enemies were and getting sniped from afar. Eventually I push through, grab all the samples, and head back to Dr. Underhill and get the mold resistance pill. I decided to at least attempt the boss down in the pit and it went really poorly, but I wasn't upset. I figured it would take a few tries, and warped out of there.

I then took on a few of Ahti's cleaning missions and had no trouble with those.

Then I decided to go after the quest that ends with you facing off with the Anchor. This was infuriating. It was clear I needed to launch the clocks into the core, but I was unable to manage the adds that show up while avoiding the core's attacks. I either got exploded, just fell off the platforms, or got overwhelmed by the number of enemies. If you try to rush it by launching clocks into the core asap, the enemies will spawn on top of one another, further decreasing your odds. I must have tried it a dozen times before giving up. When I looked up a guide afterward, it said it should only take 3 or 4 hits to kill, leading me to believe I need to upgrade Launch more. One hit was only taking maybe 15% or so of health, so it was requiring something like 6 or 7 hits to kill it, if not more.

I left after that and went back to the main story. Went back to the mold room and died a bunch more times. I ran around with a shield up, and that prevented me taking damage, but when I got to the lightswitch, I again got sniped in just a few hits while trying hold the button down to switch the light on and off.

Finally, I entered that room, levitated over to the other side of the room, and somehow didn't aggro anybody. Hit the lightswitch and progressed to the end of the chapter with no issues. The big crazy battle while waiting for the cable car to arrive was hectic, but really fun. I can't figure out the difference between that one and other really frustrating battles.

So anyway, next up is to traverse the ashtray maze. I don't know if I should try some more side quests, try the anchor boss again with some of the tips from this thread, or just try to push to the end and never touch it again.

I placed it in a spoiler above, but when it comes to the Feed Me Seymour triplet plant:


When you drop down, there will be a raised platform on your right. You want to duck behind that and peek from its right side attacking the middle plant bud thing. For some reason the game bugs out and refuses to attack you back, allowing you to cheese a boss that I dunno if I'd have had the patience to beat otherwise.

If you didn't like the Anchor boss, you're probably going to dislike the last room of the Ashtray Maze as you similarly need to be able to multi-task levitation and fighting off floaty explosive corpse things. However, if you plummet to your doom there it just respawns you, so that's nice at least.

After upgrading my Launch ability again, I decided to retry the Anchor. It took three tries, but it was a lot easier. I also realized that if it was facing to the left or right of my position, I could scoot right to the corresponding edge of my current platform and launch into the core without being on the platform it was facing. This sped it up a bit.

After that I went after the Fridge. It took me several tries to kill that boss, but I did succeed. Not being able to see your feet while peering up at a big hulking boss made it more difficult than I liked, but I got a decent rhythm down with hover/evade with a mod that boosts damage while levitating.

ccesarano wrote:

if you plummet to your doom there it just respawns you, so that's nice at least.

This is so aggravating, because if you fall/die to the Fridge boss in the Astral Plane, you respawn at the control point, have to redo the sequence where Phillip gets eaten by the fridge, and then warp to the Astral Plane to finally try again. I don't understand why some bosses/sequences can just respawn you at the beginning, while most make you go through a bunch of extraneous bullsh*t on each attempt.

I then got the sidequest from Langston to go after the missing altered items. The first one I chased after was the traffic light, and I thought that was a great little sequence. It was odd and different without being overly punitive for failing. I definitely prefer that to the boss fights so far.

I'll try that plant boss again and see if that exploit works.

Plant boss if you have some Shield points and then mod health up you can literally stand there and use pierce to get a shot or two off then shield through its attack and then pierce again. You should win with about 10-15% health and not really do anything at all. Felt kinda like a cheese move but worked really well. Moving seems to get you killed faster.