Tips for Playing Control: 13 Things the Game Doesn’t Tell You

Use our Control tips to get started before the game truly begins!

Control is a psychically charged third-person shooter from Remedy. The developers of Alan Wake and Max Payne are trying something a little different this time — something with crafting, Metroidvania-like backtracking, and more secrets than you can shake a floating TV at. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into. That’s exactly why I put together this handy lists of tips for playing Control! You might as well get started with your best foot forward as you explore the Oldest House and its creepy mysteries.

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There Aren’t Really Checkpoints – Control Game Tips

Control doesn’t really make this clear (not at first), but the game doesn’t have traditional checkpoints. Instead it uses Dark Souls style bonfires in the form of “control points.” These act as fast travel nodes, allow you to upgrade your weapon, and, of course, respawn when you die. If you do expire, you won’t come back at the closest control point; you resurrect at the last one you touched! Save yourself some time and some headaches by checking in at every control point you come across.

Not All Elevators Are the Same – Control Game Tips

Elevators are oddly underused in Control, considering how important they are during certain key moments. These function as much more limited fast travel spots and also serve as checkpoints. Not sure how to reach a specific part of a sector you’re in? There’s a good chance it’s actually tied to an elevator, and the game didn’t tell you. Not all elevators lead to the same locations, so check your map for their icons occasionally. Then try them out. Oh! Elevators will also checkpoint you when you die — just like a control point.

Some Collectibles Unlock Upgrades – Control Game Tips

Control is full to burst with collectibles: discarded pictures, redacted memos, and live-action video tapes. Most of these are just for flavor. And it’s awfully good flavor, most of the time! I highly recommend picking them up and/or watching them whenever you get the chance. But there’s a more practical reason to pick up papers, too. Some of them trigger side quests. It doesn’t happen very often, but a couple of collectibles in the environment will actually point you to new abilities and other upgrades. Theoretically you can find these naturally in the world, but the collectibles will give you objective markers earlier than normal.

Chain Together Air Dashes – Control Game Tips

One of the earliest abilities you unlock in Control is the dash. This is, naturally, extremely useful for dodging enemies. But it’s also good to get around the environment. It doesn’t feel smooth or natural, but you can chain dashes while in mid-air to effectively fly short distances. This allows you to reach treasure chests and high ground earlier than you normally would (there’s a better aerial upgrade later). It’s not much, but it just might save your life!

Just Leave and Come Back – Control Game Tips

Speaking of upgrades, Control gates several areas behind them. You can explore much, much more of the Oldest House than you’re “supposed” to very early on. It’s kind of Metroidvania-like in that way. If you see an obvious side path or secret area, but don’t know how to proceed, odds are that’s because you can’t yet. Don’t be afraid to just leave and come back! You might find a power that makes it possible down the line. In these cases, it’s also important to listen to Jesse (the protagonist). She will often audibly say things like “How am I supposed to reach that?” This indicates that you need and upgrade.

Stay on the Move – Control Game Tips

Traversal is also important during battle. Control doesn’t have a cover system or regenerating health. The only way to stay healthy is by dodging attacks. Thankfully, enemies can’t aim for shit when you’re moving. It’s often actually smarter to sprint close up to them and collect health that dead foes drop. Then dash away before they get a lock-on again.

More Ways to Restore Health – Control Game Tips

Actually, let’s talk about health. It’s kind of at a premium in Control. You don’t really regenerate it, can lose it very fast, and there are no recovery items you can use between battles. What’s the director of a shadowy, supernatural bureaucracy to do? Well, there are a couple options.

First of all: Enemies don’t just drop health when you kill them. They actually spray the weird, blue HP shards on the ground as you deal damage. This is useful against heavily armored enemies and especially bosses. I also highly recommend slotting a health recovery mod at all times. Without one, no matter how many foes I felled, I still came away from most battles without full health. And, last but not least, you get full health every time you touch a control point.

Read the Signs Around You – Control Game Tips

Control mentions that you need to read signs to get around the Oldest House. Don’t ignore the suggestion! It’s way more important than it seems at first. The in-game map is, for lack of a better word, garbage. It only gives you a vague outline of the world you walk around. It’s the in-game signs — like those you would see in any office building — that actually point you toward specific rooms, elevators, and points of interest.

Control Review Game

You Can Always Pick Something Up – Control Game Tips

The “Launch” skill is deeply important. Even at low levels, using it to telekinetically fire office equipment will one-shot enemy shields. Much of the game is a dance between shooting, waiting for your gun to recharge, using Launch, waiting for your energy to recharge, and then shooting some more. Repeat! So you always want to make sure something is in range to pick up, right? Not necessarily! Launch will always grab something — even if nothing is visible. If there are no conveniently placed objects nearby, it will magically tear a chunk out of the wall or ground. That’s what magic powers are for, after all.

Change Your Perspective – Control Game Tips

Pressing down on the D-pad will cause the camera to change perspectives. You can either keep it over Jesse’s left shoulder, or her right shoulder. Obviously you’ll use different angles depending on which direction enemies are coming from. However, there also appears to be a bug or quirk where the camera sticks directly behind the heroine’s head. This is obviously no good. It’s hard to hit zombies when you’ve got an eyeful of hair! Until a patch fixes this issue, the perspective switch will also move the camera back into place.

Ability Points Come From Side Quests – Control Game Tips

There are… just… so many different resources in Control. You’ve got experience points, of course, but also crafting materials. And they’re all named things like “House Memory” or “Unfulfilled Wishes.” Or something. I dunno! And it doesn’t really matter what they’re called, because they all just drop from enemies and treasure chests. Ability Points are a little rarer — a little more precious. These only seem to come from labeled main and side quests you complete throughout the game. They’re also the only way to boost your actual powers, instead of making new mods or improving your guns.

You can tell something is a proper side quest by checking the “Missions” tab of your character menu. Main story quests come with a diamond icon that’s filled in. Side stories have a little downwards pointing arrow (a chevron) and are located in the same sub-section.

Check Back in With NPCs – Control Game Tips

But where do you find side quests? That’s simple! Besides being hidden in certain collectibles, you can also get side quests from NPCs. Emily, Ahti, Underhill, and Arish all have bonus objectives for you to complete as you progress throughout the game. You can find them in Central Executive, the Maintenance Sector, and the Janitor’s Office. Although many of them will begin to congregate in Executive near the end of the game. Besides side quests, they  also offer unique dialogue that adds to the game’s plot and world building!

About Board Countermeasures… – Control Game Tips

If you really need crafting materials and XP, there are also Board Countermeasures. Control doesn’t really tip you off about these. It doesn’t even tell you when they become available. But they’re pretty useful. They basically function like bounties and ask you to kill specific enemies under certain conditions. Maybe you have to kill five rangers without dying, or use Spin (the machine gun) to wipe out mold people.

You can carry up to three Board Countermeasures at any one point. And don’t be afraid to abandon them! Some of them get really, really obtuse, or expect you to go places you don’t need to be anytime soon. If that’s the case, drop the useless bounty and replace it with a better one. There are always more!

Bonus: Grip Is the Name of Your Normal Gun

Sometimes a Board Countermeasure refers to “Grip.” This is what your Service Weapon is called in its normal pistol mode. Other modes, like Shatter, are upgrades you have to unlock at control points. This one, while not something you ever intentionally obtain, is always available!

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Steven Strom

An obsessive writer broadcasting to you live from the middle of nowhere. Thinks cute things are good, actually.

One Comment

  1. Also worth noting that finding hidden areas gives you one ability point each. Mostly they require abilities you find later in the game, but not all of them…

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