Control on console is brilliant – as long as you play on the right hardware

August 28, 2019
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How well does Remedy’s latest blockbuster, Control, stack up on consoles? Let’s make no bones about it – the game is brilliant and a stunning technological showcase. It works on the Sony and Microsoft boxes, but the game reaches another level on PC, with Control featuring one of the most impressive DXR ray tracing implementations we’ve seen. In marketing the game, Remedy and publisher 505 have pushed PC to the forefront, to the extent where not much was seen of the console versions prior to launch. Our verdict so far? The game is worth checking out but there are performance issues and some of them can be show-stopping, depending on the hardware you’re gaming on.

Perhaps this was inevitable bearing in mind the scale of ambition seen in this game. Remedy’s Northlight engine has evolved considerably since the debut of Quantum Break three years ago. The game has a very specific aesthetic, built around beautiful global illumination and a physically-based rendering pipeline that adds a stunning level of realism and precision to the way materials interact with the lighting. Reflections move a step beyond the solution featured in Quantum Break to signed distance fields, a form of ray tracing seen before on console in titles such as The Tomorrow Children and Claybook – and here it’s used to generate rough reflections used in conjunction with screen-space reflections.

The game’s visuals are augmented by a ramped up version of Remedy’s animation engine, with Control’s physics and particle effects delivering some astonishing action. All items behave independently, and the sheer amount of them in any given scene creates scenes of unparalleled destruction. It seems that even the least important elements in any given scene can be individually dismantled, right down to single drawers in any given desk. It’s the attention to detail here that really impresses – smash a glass window and the individual slats of the blind behind it react realistically. What we have here is astonishing attention to detail on the smaller scale stuff, all kicking off within the grander destruction of the overall scene.

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