Back in 2019 Remedy Entertainment introduced us to their greatest adventure yet, the story of Jesse, her strange brother, the other-worldly ‘Hiss’, and a mysterious old building which seems just as ‘alive’ as the horrors inhabiting it. Since its release, there has been two DLC packs, many updates, and now a fully revamped ‘next-gen’ edition which takes advantage of the latest hardware in order to deliver the best possible way to experience it – if you’ve been lucky enough to pick up a PS5 or Xbox Series console. I’ve not only platinumed this ‘Control: Ultimate Edition‘, but I’ve also collected all the trophies within the game and both expansions, so this review will cover the new features AND what I thought about the DLCs (which I’ve not played before).
If you wish to read my full, comprehensive review of Control, you can check it out HERE – that’s the review I wrote pre-launch based on the PS4 version. This review will be focused on the new features, the various modes you can play in, the upgrades which I’ve noticed since the original release, and why you should either buy this version right now or go and grab it whilst it’s part of the PS Plus selection of games over on PlayStation.
As I said above, I’ve spent many, many hours in this new version, grabbed the platinum, and fully completed both DLC packs – but did I enjoy playing through the game again or was I just fixated on grabbing the platinum for the fun of it? Let’s find out…
Control is the best example of a physics-based game I’ve played since Angry Birds, pretty much anything you see can be manipulated either by picking it up and throwing it or simply smashing it to pieces with your powerful punch or the aforementioned projectiles you’ll be tossing around the place. In your quest to find your brother, discover the secrets within the mysterious HQ of the FBC, and destroy the source of the ‘Hiss’, you’ll not only have the support of a Judge Dredd-like gun which can morph into various shooting modes, but you’ll gain new abilities and attacks which further enhance your supernatural repertoire.
The Oldest House is almost like a large TARDIS, it’s hidden in plain sight on the street, causing people to walk right past it unless they’re specifically looking for it, and it’s also much, much bigger on the inside with rooms which literally shift and shape around you in order to create new pathways and blockades. The game plays almost like a Metroidvania game, encouraging you to not only explore but to also keep track of places you don’t have access too just so you can return once you’ve acquired a new ability in order to see f you can now find a way to venture into areas unknown. I personally love games like this as it means they offer mid and end-game replayability as you seek out new secrets and uncover extra missions.
The combat itself is second to none in terms of enjoyment. Will you equip one of the new gun modes you’ve just unlocked, taking out the scum around you in creative ways, or will you simply pick things up and throw them at them? Heck, you can even pick up the enemies themselves and use them as ‘living’ projectiles as you launch them into the face of their colleagues in order to kill two creatures with one stone (creature). The gameplay is very satisfying and mesmerising, further enhanced with this new version of the game thanks to the smooth framerate and upgraded visuals. So, let’s take a look at how Control: Ultimate Edition has changed and why you should play it today, even if you’ve completed it previously.
Slide the below to see the 60fps vs the ray tracing mode.
The first thing which you’ll notice in Control: Ultimate Edition on the PS5, other than the super-quick loading (which I’ll come to in a minute) are the two modes you can pick from in the settings menu – Performance and Quality. Surprisingly, both modes are actually the same resolution (which some people may be a little upset over) – they’re both set to 1440p which is then upscaled to 2160p before being output on your TV, with the Quality mode possibly offering a dynamic resolution which ‘may’ drop depending on how active and busy the game gets. But, there are a few major differences between the two modes…
Performance: This mode runs at 60fps, locked at this number for the vast majority of the game. I would have personally said it never dips but Digital Foundry – as usual – found a few moments where it dipped to the mid-50s on rare occasions. The visuals look super sharp and great to play on my 4K TV, with the upscaling delivering a clean and 4K-like image as you run around and smash the place up. Quality-wise, the settings seem higher than on the PS4 Pro but you have things like SSR for the reflections, some artefacts tend to appear around the objects you pick up due to hiding objects the game is trying to reflect, and about the same quality of explosions and effects as last-gen – but all locked at 60fps.
Quality: This mode is locked to 30fps (again, DF found a few single-frame drops) but the visuals have been greatly improved. This is the option you’ll want if you wish to experience ray tracing, realistic reflections and shadows on the screen regardless of if the object casting them is in view or not. Glass turns from a vaseline-rubbed surface with a blurry imitation of a reflection into a crystal-clear surface that perfectly reflects everything you’d see in real life (only at a lower resolution – around 1080p). Control transforms from a video game into an almost photo-realistic and stunning-looking experience with the toggle of this mode.
Personally, I played the entire game in the 60fps mode – why? The quality mode was giving me a headache. I’m not sure what it is, maybe it’s a setting I have on my TV, but playing 30fps games on my PS5 is very jarring and unplayable for me. I loved the new visuals and the realistic reflections, but jumping into 30fps after playing a section in 60fps made me feel nauseous and uneasy – but jumping back into the PS4 version via backwards compatibility was fine, it didn’t feel as iffy as the PS5 version (so it may be my setup, somehow?). But, the 60fps mode was super smooth and a pleasure to play.
If Remedy Entertainment had simply given us the two modes, as above, and called it a day – it would have been a brilliant upgraded version of the 2019 GOTY. But, this isn’t Xbox, PlayStation have actually innovated their controller for the new generation, rather than keeping things the same as they were eight years ago. As such, I’m very happy to say that the developers have fully taken advantage of the new hardware and embraced the immersive experience which can only be obtained on a PlayStation 5 console.
Haptics or Resistive Triggers? Both, in abundance. The Haptic Feedback (HD Rumble) is used brilliantly, you literally feel the subtle footsteps of Jesse as she walks around the environments, with the left and right parts of the controller delivering a slight ‘bump’ with each step in time with your on-screen persona. When attacking, or being attacked, you feel the impact within your hands – don’t be confused, this isn’t simply ‘rumble’ which we’ve had for many years, you feel the direction and impact of each hit as if you’re inside of Jesse, controlling her like a humanoid robot of destruction.
In terms of the Resistive Triggers – Control was made for this mechanic. As you have a magical Judge Dredd weapon, which can change into a variety of different attack styles, each one comes with its own trigger settings which change on the fly. I had the most fun with the mine-throwing weapon, pulling on R2 initially has a satisfying click just like a real trigger, the second pull is now a resistive push as if you’re pushing down on a detonator – causing the mine to explode. The rapid-fire mode provides a fast rumble under your finger as you squeeze the trigger, the standard gun has a powerful ‘punch’ as you press R2, and the scattershot vibrates the right side of the controller.
Basically, despite the ‘Ultimate Edition’ being on all consoles now, the PS5 version is by far the definitive and greatest way to play the game – even if it’s only 1440p.
Resolved issues, Speed, and helpful features
One of the big issues we all had with the original Control was the poor framerate (at times), stutters, and the strange delay from reading the map and then returning to the gameplay. Finally enough, the last point was mentioned in the review guide we got, saying they’ve tried to fix it – tried. The game still has a minor stutter when looking at the menu (by pressing options), but there’s no impact whilst using the map anymore. Stutters are all gone, the game streams in super fast and has no issues with loading or waiting for textures, and the framerate, as mentioned above, is solid in both modes.
Let’s talk about the loading times. From cold boot on the PS5 dashboard, it takes a few seconds to get to the main menu (if you push Cross to skip the title cards), with activity cards that allow you to quickly resume your game without even going into the menu. Loading a saved game from the menu takes around 5-7 seconds – it’s literally faster to start the game from cold and load your game than it would to ‘quick resume’ on an Xbox (although Quick Resume isn’t yet working on the Xbox version as far as I’m aware). Fast travelling within the game, between sectors, is also around 5-7 seconds, with respawning from death or within the same sector ranging from instantaneous to around 4-5 seconds.
In terms of the activity cards, you have one for each of the main storylines, allowing you to jump right into those mission from cold or whilst the game is running, and you also have tally-based trophy cards. What are these? Well, if you’re required to collect 80% of collectables then the game will tell you how many you’ve picked up and how many are left. This is a feature I would have loved in Godfall, so I’m happy it’s been used here to help you keep track of what you have left to find.
Also, the developers have said that they provided helpful videos and hints within the trophy cards, like what we saw in Sackboy’s Adventure, but I personally didn’t see any. I presume this is due to me playing a pre-release version on 1.00001, maybe the PS Plus hints are set to go live with the patch the devs have advised is either coming soon or there right now.
Okay, so I own the original Control on the PS4 as well as the season pass. But, due to other commitments, I never had the chance to play through the expansions upon launch. So, when I was given this edition to play through, I decided I would also complete both of the DLCs so that I could offer my opinion of both of them. In short – why didn’t I play these sooner!
The first expansion, The Foundation, takes you to a new part of The Oldest House in search of one of the colleagues you meet within the main game. This is a new experience filled with confusing pathways, puzzles, lots of combat, and a cute set of cat ears which you can unlock by finding all of the hidden cats. This new experience took me about 5-8 hours to complete, longer if you including having to look up guides online to find all of the collectables and hidden cats! The story here was pretty good, with lots of new lore items to find and read (just like the main game).
AWE, the second expansion, re-introduces us to Alan Wake – yes, Alan Wake is set in the same universe as Control! Now, I’m not the biggest Alan Wake fan, I’ve only partially played the first game, so I didn’t really understand the connections and story which were being shown to me in this new floor of The Oldest House, but I imagine those who have played both games will understand it more than me. However, despite being unable to understand the link between Alan and Jesse, the story for this expansion was pretty cool – you’re hunting a mutated being who is (obviously) scared of the light. You have to use lights to destroy black mold, stun the enemy, and avoid dying – just like in Alan Wake.
I personally loved both of these expansions, they offered so much new content in terms of combat, puzzles, bonus extras, as well as a bunch of new additional unique side missions. You also gained access to a few new abilities which weren’t present in the base game. For those looking for a quick platinum though, the developers haven’t merged the trophy lists, the DLCs are still two separate lists to the base game – so you can avoid them if you only want the shiny platinum, but I strongly recommend you play them. AWE even has an arcade cabinet with a few horde-modes on it as well as the ability to replay any of the boss battles.
The grind (accessibility options)
Control: Ultimate Edition isn’t a hard game to platinum, there are a few time-consuming trophies within the DLC floors, but the base game mainly contains trophies which will come naturally without even looking at them. However, there are a few trophies which will indirectly cause your hair to fall out (as you jank at it each time you inevitably die). In order to help resolve this unusual occurrence, Remedy Entertainment has given us a bunch of assessability options which were meant to help support those who find the game too difficult or may have issues with the fast-paced action. But, you can obviously abuse these if you wish.
The new accessibility options, which were added to the base game post-launch last year as well, allows you to enable things such as fast reloading of your power bar, invulnerability, one-hit kills, and other like-minded options. I won’t lie, after the pain and agony I went through trying to defeat a few of the bosses when I originally played and platinumed the game on the PS4, I enabled a few of these in this playthrough when I encountered the stress-inducing creatures. I have no shame in admitting it, I wanted to have fun whilst playing the game, spending hours trying to kill a single person isn’t my idea of fun – so, thank you Remedy Entertainment!
On top of these ‘easy mode’ adjustments, there are a bunch of other options such as flipping the sticks, colourblind mode, and tweaking almost every aspect of the game. It’s great that developers are starting to make their games fully customisable for everyone so that nobody is left out – The Last of Us Part II and Zombie Army 4 are two other games which I praise for being very inclusive and adaptable.
Cross-buy, Cross-save, Pre-order bonuses…
Control: Ultimate Edition was one of the first controversial upgrades for this new generation. If you owned the original Control on the PS4 or Xbox One, you weren’t entitled to get the new PS5 and Xbox Series version for ‘free’, you HAD to re-buy the game on the last-gen consoles as the ‘Ultimate Edition’ in order to gain this privilege. This new version was around £20 cheaper than the original base game, plus it included all the DLC, so some people obviously re-bought it to experience the game again on the new generation.
However, we found out last week that Control: Ultimate Edition is coming to PS Plus today, meaning all PS5 owners actually get the upgraded version for free after all – once again, causing outrage in a number of people who bought it in the sale a few weeks ago.
You can’t please everyone.
One of the biggest complaints I’m seeing on places like PSN Profiles is that people can’t be lazy. Every time a PS5 edition comes out, people are constantly asking (and begging) for them to import their saves and have the game auto-pop all their trophies, so they don’t have to do anything to grab a new platinum. Control: Ultimate Edition, thankfully, doesn’t allow this. The developers have said that the engine has changed drastically, that’s why you can’t import saves from either the original game or the Ultimate Edition on last-gen systems, so you’ll have to replay the entire game again (not a bad thing) to gain this new platinum trophy.
Speaking of, as this is a PS5 and PS4 game, there’s a new platinum trophy list for the Ultimate Edition on the PS5, as well as multiple regions, and the original version also had its own trophy list – if you love this game, you could technically complete it about three or four times for a bunch of platinums.
In terms of ‘missing content’ – I couldn’t, for the life of me, find the pre-order bonuses within this version of the game. Sure, I didn’t pre-order the game as we were given the PS5 edition a few days ago for review, but I would have thought that the game would have had the pre-order suit from the original game (which I own) – but I don’t think it does. It’s not a big issue as there are around seven or eight other costumes you unlock throughout the story and by completing side missions, but I vaguely remember liking the pre-order suit on the PS4. Similarly, I don’t think this version adds anything new over owning the base game + season pass on the PS4 (other than the incredible PS5 upgraded visuals and controller mechanics).
As stated above, Control: Ultimate Edition has two modes – 60fps and 30fps, 60fps runs fantastically with very few drops (which you won’t notice) and a decent resolution which is upscaled to 4K to deliver a clean image. The 30fps mode will be good for some people but I found it far too jarring to play after experiencing the 60fps mode, often making me literally feel sick and uneasy. I would have loved a lower resolution mode with added ray tracing at 60fps, maybe 1080p or something, but maybe that wasn’t possible due to the sheer number of physics-based objects flying around the screen constantly?
When we look at the other systems, the Xbox Series X is the same as the PlayStation 5 but the Xbox Series S is only 900p and 60fps, outputting with an upscaled 1080p resolution. So, if we were to look at a 60fps ray tracing mode, it’ll probably be around 900p – would you really want to sacrifice that much resolution for enhanced reflections?
As mentioned in my original review HERE, I love the soundtrack in Control: Ultimate Edition, especially when navigating the Ashtray Maze and the bonus music video by the Darling of a Doctor. The voice acting is also top-notch, delivering a very realistic and believable experience throughout. However, the lipsync was a little off in a few occasions, Jesse looked like a dog chewing on a stick of gum rather than being fully mapped to what she was saying. But, it’s clearly not a game-breaker and didn’t put me off the game, it just seemed a little strange compared to the overall quality of the game.
On a side note, Control: Ultimate Edition launched on the Nintendo Switch last year, you play it by streaming the game as the console is too underpowered to play the game natively. In that version, you have two options, Quality and Performance, both offering the same visuals and performance as you get in this enhanced edition. So, if you want to see how both modes work, and you don’t yet own a next-gen console, grab the free trial for Control on the Switch and give it a go – it’s essentially a demo of the Switch, PS5 and Xbox Series X editions.
Despite being on a few platforms now, Control: Ultimate Edition on the PlayStation 5 is by far the definitive version of the game. The 60fps mode is super smooth, the 30fps mode has realistic ray tracing, and all modes fully support the DualSense controller, immersing you within the action and making you truly feel like you’re Jesse. Although not technically adding anything new over the base game (plus DLC via the Season Pass), it was a joy to play through the game once more, exploring the world Remedy Entertainment created and discovering the secrets hidden within the new DLC floors. Whether you’ve played it before or not, Control: Ultimate Edition is a game which everyone should play on the new-gen consoles, this fantastic experience has just got even better!
Control: Ultimate Edition£32.99
- - Brilliant use of the Haptics and Resistive Triggers
- - Visually, the game looks incredible with ray tracing enabled
- - The 60fps mode is buttery smooth to play
- - Includes two very big expansions
- - The physics are out of this world
- - The 30fps mode made me nauseous (could just be me)
- - Despite all the great accessibility options, I still got lost a few times due to the confusing nature of the building
- - No free upgrade if you own the original game, only if you have the Ultimate Edition