May 25, 2022

Control: AWE DLC – PlayStation 4 Review

Having surpressed the Hiss and stabilised the Foundation, Jessie Faden must once again calm some paranormal activity. This time she is contacted by someone you may know; Alan Wake. Take the elevator down to the Investigations Sector – quiet since the Hiss outbreak, and home to a number of AWE. Find what has happened there, why has Wake contacted you? And what is that moving in the shadows?

This content was reviewed playing a purchased copy.

Setting & Music

By now you’ve played through Control, and so you’re familiar with the setting. Whereas the Foundation DLC went for a different setting, AWE certainly sticks to the office theme at the start. In the latter half of the DLC you’ll enter much more open areas. Neither of these settings are particularly inspiring. The office area is pretty generic, from the documents picked up it’s suppose to be overcrowded. But apart from some desks in the foyer there is nothing that makes it seem different to any other sector. In the end it just looks like any other part of the Control map. The open areas should have been better as they are specific to an AWE (Altered World Event). And so they could have been tailored much more to each AWE. When in actuality it’s just a massive warehouse in which to battle Hiss/the antagonist.

The way some areas are divided up by areas in light vs those in dark made the environments a bit more interesting. But not to any great degree and weren’t utilized to great effect. Like the setting the sound effects and music are rather generic, and add little with a lot of re-use of previously used material.

Gameplay

So, gameplay, in my opinion it has always been the worst part about Control. But, for those of you who liked it, you can now fight through hordes of Hiss (yay?) using the new Arcade mode. For those of you who didn’t enjoy it, i’m afraid you’re out of luck. The core gameplay remains the same, but with an added gun and the new multi-launch ability. Both being a bit lacklustre and with no explanation of their sudden appearance.

You’ll fight all of the same Hiss enemies as before, with one new enemy addition that’s uninspired. The largest changes are the light/dark and the antagonist. The darkness will make you slow, you’ll have issues regenerating focus, and the antagonist can get to you. Potentially good ideas, but when you can fly and dodge across gaps it won’t ever really inconvenience you. You’ll also often need to find a light source to dissolve some darkness blocking the ways, but it’s never remotely challenging. When first seeing the antagonist I was impressed by the design. But you’ll very quickly lose interest in them up until a mediocre final confrontation.

The DLC includes a number of additional side quests, and I found them to be the best part about the Foundation DLC. But here they’re just…boring. Help Ahti get rid of mold (again), sing to plants (again). Even the Altered Object quests which had license to get weird and change up the formula ended up being largely fetch quests.

Characters & Story

Alan Wake and the antagonist are the only new characters. You’ll learn what happened to the antagonist following the events of Alan Wake and how they ended up in the Oldest House. If you haven’t played that game you’ll get virtually nothing out of this, and if you did, you’ll only get slightly more. There’s virtually no character there, you’ll just see them as a bad guy and thats about it. Alan himself has a bit more character, but again, if you haven’t played the Alan Wake you’ll get very little from him.

The story was always the best part of Control, building the world of the FBC. Unfortunately AWE doesn’t really add much to this and they introduce the AWEs just before you ‘encounter’ them. With the base game you’d read about an object a few times and maybe you’d encounter it in the future. It helped put the events of Control into a larger world. In AWE the documents seemed like a primer ten minutes before you saw the object.

You’ll have some story relating to Alan and Alice and whats happened over the last ten years. And there is indications of Alan writing into the world again in his new novel (here for a full run down). But the main story is just something has been rampaging through the sector; stop it.

Overview

Control’s AWE expansion had so much potential that ultimately it squanders. Even the story leaves little to be desired, and the less said about the same generic Hiss encounters the better. If there was more threat from the darkness and the antagonist (and much less Hiss) it would be a marked improvement.

Having said all of that, anyone who has played (and liked) Control will probably still get this, because the base game was so good. Unfortunately, after my 4 hours playing, it left me feeling a bit flat and disappointed.

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How about a palet cleanser? Try out our Mortal Shell review!


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An unfulfilled potential
  • 6/10
    Overall - 6/10
6/10

Summary

+ Light/Dark mechanics

– Tedious gunplay and fights

– Boring environments

– Mediocre quests

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