Remedy Entertainment’s Control is a seriously impressive game and a stunning technological achievement with just one major Achilles Heel – immensely variable console performance, to the point where day one code could drop to a minimum of 10 frames per second in trouble spots on PlayStation 4. The September update released on PS4 consoles a couple of days ago, promising “improved general frame-rate performance through optimisation made to multiple systems and content” – and the good news is that the game is significantly better and we are one step towards a much more consistent console experience.
Let’s be clear here though – we’re still nowhere near a locked 30 frames per second, especially on the base PlayStation 4, the console that has the most problems in smoothly rendering the game. However, just as Remedy says, the general level of performance via Patch 1.03 is higher than it was and when the frame-rate does drop hard, the game seems to recover more quickly. In short, the dips aren’t quite as bad as they were and the hit doesn’t last as long. Bearing in mind that Control only launched a couple of weeks ago, getting this level of improvement to users so quickly is impressive.
There’s still a long way to go, but the improvement is palpable – especially so on the PlayStation 4 Pro. This version of the game was already in fairly decent shape when it launched, hampered only by issues in the most physics-heavy of scenes. We chose a scene from the beginning of the third chapter – the Atrium – as a focal point for testing, since this seemed to be a perfect storm of enemy count, environmental destruction and sometimes catastrophic performance issues. Re-running this test several times on the Pro, stutter was much less evident – and it took running through the initial stages of the level ‘gathering up’ enemies and taking them out in a confined space with lots of environmental objects in play to tank performance. In general play though, the improvement is clear to see.