You’re probably going to want to read our essential Control tips if you're diving into Remedy’s latest surreal adventure. You should know these before you play so you can get the most out of your time in The Oldest House. The game is purposefully obtuse at times and many features are left unexplained, so hopefully, our primer will give you the perfect introduction to Control’s world and ensure you don’t miss anything crucial. Here’s 11 essential tips to know before you play Control.
Use Control Points to Heal
Front loading with this one as it’s so important but not very clear. When you access a Control Point our protagonist Jesse will regain her health. This means that if you’re in a brutal battle and need to quickly gain a respite, simply check your map and rush to a nearby Control Point. The enemies won’t despawn and you’ll be fighting fit once more. It’s also worth rushing, ignoring combat and forcing the animation to unlock a Control Point if a battle is proving too difficult, as even if you die, you'll be able to Respawn and use it as a means to quickly replenish HP.
Exhaust every line of dialogue
There are several NPCs scattered throughout The Oldest House, and many of them are willing to talk to you and offer you all-important side quests that will help you upgrade Jesse’s powers and point you in the direction of interesting secrets. Beyond that, the dialogue in this game is fantastic, and if you love the world that you’ve been dropped in, you’re going to want to revisit Emily at the main hub as well as the other NPCs you find scattered around the sectors on a regular basis to catch up with new topics and unravel the mysteries behind the FBC. Also, when you’re speaking to a very important character who is trapped in a cage later in the game, make sure you keep talking to them until they start repeating themselves. I know, very vague, but trust me on this one, there’s a huge payoff.
Seek out Hidden Areas
There are Hidden Areas in Control that are quite difficult to find and often don’t appear on your supposedly exhaustive map. So when you pick up the all-important Levitate ability make sure you go back and revisit every single area (seriously) and float around up top for the nooks and crannies. The multi-story Research sector is especially lucrative in this regard. No spoilers, obviously, but the Hidden Areas do provide you with Control’s best Easter Eggs and ability points, which are crucial if you want to max out Jesse’s ability tree and supercharge her powers.
Find the optional Objects of Power
There are three optional Objects of Power for you to find that can be missed throughout the game. If you do that you’d be locking yourself out from the Seize, Shield and Evade abilities, which are all very important to your mobility and defence strategy in combat. Luckily for you, that link will take you to a guide for all the Object of Power, so get your fix and you can be as potent as possible on the battlefield (and play through some brilliant side missions.)
Use your abilities for mobility
As you progress through the game you’ll unlock abilities like Evade, Levitate and Ground Pound. Evade is basically a dash that can be used in mid-air to cross annoying gaps and close the distance between your enemies. Don’t settle for walking or running everywhere when you can fly or dash your way towards secret areas and interesting nooks. You can unlock Ground Pound by pushing through the Levitate tree once you unlock that ability, and it’s very much worth it given that it allows you to pound onto any platform within reach, dealing incredible damage. Always think about how you can use your abilities to reach new heights and manoeuvre around obstacles instead of focusing on their efficacy in combat.
Experiment with Weapon Forms
Throughout your playthrough, you’re going to earn tons of resources and credits that can be spent on buying mods, but don’t do this! Instead, save up and spend it solely on unlocking and upgrading Weapon Forms. Weapon Forms change the shooting style of your Service Weapon, turning into a charged, penetrative laser, a short-range shotgun and even a grenade launcher. They’re fantastic and you can use them to adapt in battle when you’re facing new types of enemies. Weapon mods are so easy to come by in Control that you should never need to buy any, especially if you like to explore, so avoid them and go all-in on Forms!
In the same vein, you’re going to want to deconstruct any mods that are below the level of the ones you have equipped. More slots become available as you upgrade abilities and forms, so make sure you focus on that first, but when your slots are full, simply vacate every remaining mod you don’t need and you’ll be resource-rich and able to spend your hard-earned cash on the things that matter.
Be a bookworm
There is so much mystery in The Oldest House, and given Remedy’s writing ability, you should make a real effort to ingest every document you can. Eventually, you’ll get so many it’ll be hard to read each one in turn, but make a pit stop every once in a while to pause the game and read about Altered Items and Altered World Events and the enigmatic walls of this fascinating world will start to unravel. You also want to make sure to turn on every vacant TV you find to tune in to a riveting episode of Threshold Kids and be on the lookout for Easter eggs relating to past Remedy games, as there are TONS.
Focus on the branching upgrades with new abilities
In Jesse’s ability tree many upgrades simply add a percentage increase to your efficiency with a certain ability. This is very useful in the late game and worth the focus, but early on you want to look at the tree and see the offshoot abilities that branch off from the main linear trees and focus on those. This is how you unlock side abilities like Ground Pound and improve your Seize power so you can use it on more dangerous enemies. Improving your health by a percentage can be handy, but you’ll be more powerful early on if you focus on the branching abilities that give you immediate new powers.
Use cover during boss battles
The boss battles in Control can be as brutal as the architecture, and take some getting used to. The game itself is generally quite difficult and requires you to think on your feet, make quick escapes and conserve your power so you don’t die quickly. This means that when Control locks you in a room with a burly beast, you need tactics. There’s no shame in using the environment to your advantage here. Distance yourself from the boss with a fractured bit of environment and pop up frequently to hurl rubble at them, ducking back behind cover when you need to heal. It’s a bit cheesy, but it gets the job done. Given how tough the checkpointing can be, it’s a clever way to even the odds.
Take it slow
Above all, this is the most important tip. Please take this game at a glacial pace if you want to enjoy it as much as possible. The world of Control is meant to be consumed at a leisurely speed, it’s mysteries unravelled via your curiosity. Taking the time to explore and find secret areas and documents can make reveals later down the line that much sweeter, and most importantly add context to story flashpoints and bits of narrative. It’s such a surreal and occult experience that there are going to be several loose threads that you can tie up if you stay vigilant. So don’t just follow the linear path, look out for Easter eggs, secrets and puzzles and do your best to wrap up as many side missions before things get serious.