Control AWE Review – Let There Be Light
Title: Control AWE
Release Date: August 28, 2020
Reviewed On: PS4
Publisher: 505 Games
Control was a great experience through the supernatural. Utilizing some pure action-adventure systems, we were able to experience a narrative that explored complex themes and twists around every corner. I could have been happy with the base game offerings, but developer Remedy had to show me that they weren’t done this mind-bending adventure with the release of the newest expansion DLC AWE.
AWE begins with a disturbance that leads us to a once sealed off Investigation Sector. The area has become a tomb for a creature tied to a man named Dr. Hartman. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg here as Remedy has tied in their beloved Alan Wake IP to reveal that this is all happening in the same universe.
That said, they don’t lean too heavily on Wake’s inclusion, as we are still very much focused on Jesse’s story. It comes off so naturally, adding just enough to please fans, but not enough to take away from Jesse’s core mission. I ended up feeling the way I did when I first played the game as I explored new areas and utilized a few unique systems.
The expansion features a lot of extra notes and files to find scattered around the level. Reading them reveals so much more about this world and the events that occurred in this area that I was thoroughly impressed with how many lingering questions were given some insight. Still, you aren’t required to read them, so don’t feel like you absolutely need to unless you are feeling like ingesting some impactful lore.
Outside of the main mission, AWE provides you with several new side-missions that keep you playing long after you complete the primary objective. It makes the entire experience more whole than what I got out of the Foundation DLC. The new areas were condensed, but I felt like there was just more to do.
Instead of giving you new abilities to endlessly use during the expansion, players will interact with light to progress through the levels. Light plays a substantial role when taking down a specific enemy or getting through some roadblocks. There are a few light-puzzles to get through, no pun intended, during the levels, but most of them deal with plugging in batteries.
In retrospect, outside of the light mechanic, there’s nothing new here in terms of added abilities. Sadly, the abilities learned during the Foundation aren’t even used here, which might not sit well for those who purchased that DLC. What you do get is a few fun survival modes that allow you to use all of your abilities to stay alive, but don’t expect to be playing any differently.
Another slight issue that I found was the lack of new enemy types. Honestly, there weren’t really any here, and many of the enemies encountered in the main mission were simple grunts. The encounters didn’t really feel like the meat of this expansion; instead, you are expected to care more about the narrative and immerse yourself through that instead of through combat.
The main mission can be completed in around 4 hours with a variety of smaller missions that get semi-larger as you complete objectives. The entire experience is one that I enjoyed as it felt a lot more like Control than the Foundation did. I loved the tight spaces and halls that AWE provides as you find answers to your questions.
Control AWE is an excellent expansion for fans who are craving to go further down the rabbit hole. The focus stays heavily on Jesse and her goals, even with the inclusion of Alan Wake, who doesn’t overpower the scenes. The expansion once again proves how good Remedy is at storytelling and I’m glad to see them continue to provide those WTF moments that we all love.
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