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Remedy Entertainment has garnered a reputation for engaging storytelling through guided, linear experiences thanks to standout titles like Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break. However, Control looks to smash preconceived notions about the projects the studio works on by delivering a more open-ended experience. One way Remedy is hammering home this idea of encouraged exploration is through optional side missions that players can choose to engage with or ignore altogether. These missions not only give you new, unique gameplay to explore, but you’re also able to glean more information about Jesse, The Oldest House, the Federal Bureau of Control, and the Hiss.
Control is a game based in the unexpected and unexplainable, so you can expect many mysteries during your journey through The Oldest House. The nonlinear format of the game let Remedy experiment more with side content for those who truly want to learn all they can about the supernatural entities and mysteries of Control’s world.
According to game director Mikael Kasurinen, when developing past games, Remedy has typically looked for an exciting 30-second loop of action, then attempted to recreate that experience throughout the entire game. The team is taking a vastly different approach with Control.
“Here, we have shifted our goal, so we want to go for more complex scenarios, more different abilities, and you choose the way that you want to fight,” he says. “It means that the combination of what abilities you have, how you have upgraded them, and what weapon mods and character mods you have actually affects the way you should fight your way through the scenarios.”
I watched a developer play through a side mission in its entirety. A desperate man named Phillip begs Jesse for help as she passes by. In the room with Phillip is what appears to be a retro-style refrigerator. As with most things in Control, this fridge is more than meets the eye as it’s a dangerous Altered Item. This item requires someone to keep eyes on it in order to appease it. Phillip explains that he can’t look away from a refrigerator or something really bad will happen. The Federal Bureau of Control set up shifts with its employees to watch the fridge, but in the chaos of the Hiss invasion, poor Phillip has been forgotten. You can choose to give Phillip a hand or leave him to meet whatever horrible fate awaits him.
As with most games’ side missions, this content adds lore and meaning to the events of Control, but they aren’t necessary to complete the main storyline. From a narrative perspective, Control’s side missions are geared toward players who want to learn more about the world of Control, while the main storyline is more focused on Jesse’s personal arc.
One of the most interesting parts about the optional content is seeing how this invasion is affecting different areas of the building and its many employees. “The side missions are some of my favorite because they color the world in a different way because you actually get to see some of that,” narrative lead Brooke Maggs says. “They fold into the narrative by introducing you more to the NPCs you discover along the way. So when you meet Helen Marshall [in the main story missions], you do later get to do a side mission that’s a personal favor for her, and then you find out more about her role at the Bureau and what she does and how she heads up specialist teams that takes care of a lot of these paranatural events as they happen.”
In addition to gaining context within the story, these optional missions can also grant Jesse new abilities through Objects of Power, giving much more tactile reasons to engage with the side content. “Many of the Objects of Power that are really fundamental and important parts of the game are actually in the side missions,” Kasurinen says. “If the player, for instance, doesn't get the Shield then what does that mean for combat? It might make certain fights really tough later on because it's optional. You don't have to go and get the Shield if you don’t want to.”
In addition, many of the boss fights are found in the side content. In this playthrough, Jesse decides to not abandon Phillip, and we see all these pieces come together in one strong example. The stranded Bureau employee asks Jesse to go retrieve the panopticon supervisor, Frederick Langston. This side mission lets you learn more about Langston and Phillip, as well as a unique Altered Item. I don’t want to spoil what happens at the end of the side mission, but it culminates in a surprising and massive boss fight unlike anything else I saw in my two days of playing and watching Control.
In addition to these intentionally crafted side missions, Control also features Bureau Alerts, which serve as time-bound world events. A timed event spawns somewhere in the sector Jesse is in and the player receives a notification. If you’re able to race to the location of the alert and complete the event, you’re rewarded with loot.
While Remedy wouldn’t spill any details on additional side missions players can expect, they did mention that another involves a clock. I assume this means the clock will be another Altered Item like the refrigerator, but if I learned anything from my time with Control, it’s to expect the unexpected. I’m looking forward to seeing what other twisted ideas Remedy has come up with when Control launches this summer.
Click the banner below to visit our coverage hub for Control, which will be updated throughout the month with exclusive interviews, features, videos, and more.
Devil May Cry 5 is the return to form fans have been waiting over a decade for, and it looks to be scoring S-ranks when it comes to sales, too.
The title has shipped over two million copies across all platforms globally, Capcom announced today. A little while ago, we reported the title was the company's second-biggest PC launch ever (behind Monster Hunter: World), so the milestone should be no surprise. Still, it's good to know that Capcom's attempt to revive the series has worked, which will hopefully prompt them to support the game long-term or get cracking on that sequel before long.
Of course, we already know the game will have its free Bloody Palace update next month, so there's at least some DMC5 to look forward to in the coming weeks.
But we heard your concerns about the potential for abuse of the loot trading system in parties of five. It’s possible that abusive play could take the form of a group of four players colluding to deny loot to a stranger who joined their party as a pick-up. Raid groups, being much larger, come with more understanding on the part of solo players that loot distribution can depend on the whims of the many players and raid leaders who know each other.
Taking that into consideration, we’ve decided that the two-hour loot trading system in WoW Classic will only apply to soulbound gear that drops in raids. Soulbound loot that drops in five-person content will not be tradeable at any time. What we hope to do is to strike a balance between saving players time and minimizing the potential for abuse of the system. We think this approach better addresses the concerns we’ve heard from players on the subject.
When Sony Computer Entertainment dropped out of this year's E3 and revealed it would not have a press conference around the same time, we were left wondering how the console maker would make announcements. The E3 press conference has traditionally been the place where most of Sony's big new games and technology are announced and teased. Today's announcement gives us a hint of Sony's plans moving forward.
On March 25, Sony will debut the first episode of State of Play, a live stream that focuses on new PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR announcements. The show kicks off at 2 p.m. PST, and will feature trailers, announcements, and new gameplay footage. You can tune on Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. After the episode wraps up, a VOD version will be released.
This format appears to echo Nintendo's Direct format, but is slightly different in that it will be live rather than a carefully edited video. This approach will likely give Sony the chance to interact with its fan base as the show unfolds. No running time was revealed.
Sekiro is a difficult game, with tons of secrets and strategies. These tips can help you get the edge on an impossible boss or give you guidance on unlocking some of the game’s hidden mysteries. I warn you that reading these will rob you of much of the game’s enjoyment and discovery, so use them sparingly if at all. I DO NOT ADVISE READING THIS. I’ve picked some points that may give you stumbling blocks to address, but these are by no means comprehensive – there’s a lot to do and explore in Sekiro! I am also going to avoid anything in the end game and some other tidbits that are just too spoilery to speak about.
Chained Ogre: Fire. Kill it with fire. It’s in Hirata Estates located at a campfire to the right of the first sculptor past the gate.
The Drunk: Hirata Estates has a miniboss that can be a lot to handle, especially with his little army. Here’s what you do. Stealth in, kill some minions, reset the encounter, kill some more minions, jam your sword into the tanked fat man’s back and then trigger the NPC nearby and use him as a punching bag while you whale on his last node of life. No problem! This tactic can be applied to many minibosses.
Lady Butterfly: Use snap seeds to dispel her illusions in phase two. She’s also pretty old and frail, and highly susceptible to poison. Maybe you found something in Ashina Castle to help that end…
Folding Monkeys: This is a very weird encounter that is unlike any of the standard fights in the game. Look around the environment for things you can use to force and trap the monkeys into positions where you can actually hit them, and be sure to keep note of the tracks on the ground – your enemy may be right in front of you, even if they are not visible.
Genichiro, Ashina Castle: The first few stages of this fight are just learning the timing. Try to conserve as many gourd charges as possible for the “real” fight. You may find Ichimonji extremely valuable as you learn the safe distance between you and your opponent. In stage 3, pay attention to the lighting reversal instructions, they will save your life and tip the battle in your favor.
Corrupted Monk Ashina Depths: This version of the monk is great practice. Also, it’s a phantom, so snap seeds will give you an enormous advantage and turn this devastating opponent into a stunned punching bag.
The Blazing Bull: This is the one fight you can play it like Bloodborne! Firecrackers. Smash! Dodge!
Hirata Estates Bamboo Forest: Make sure you go down into the water here (before the burning area with the Owl) and then up through a tunnel to find a special prosthetic.
The Armored Knight: You’ll never kill this boss through traditional means as he will keep coming back – his armor is that good. Have him break the environment around you with his huge freaking sword and then execute a deathblow on an exposed edge to send him tumbling off the mountain. Got em!
Gun Fort: The best way to handle entering the gun fort is blistering speed across the bridge, dodging and running and grappling for your life all the way into the back and getting the idol there. Depending on your progress in the game, this is an incredible farming area, when you can sneak up on multiple big gunners for deathblows from that checkpoint, their backs exposed.
Giraffe Centipede, Gun Fort: deflect deflect deflect deflect deflect jump counter firecracker stab deflect deflect deflect deflect jump counter. Boom. An incredibly intimidating offensive battle reduced to a few button presses and laid low.
The Ape: This is one of my favorite boss battles in From Software history. In stage one, use firecrackers to open up a big window of opportunity, but you must remember this window happens AFTER he falls down – do not get caught by his huge body slamming into the ground. Stage two is another beast (ho ho ho!) entirely, and you will find using a certain consumable to be a huge boon. You may also want to try the spear prosthetic out during one of the animations for a surprisingly effective attack.
Fly a Kite: In Senpou temple you may realize that you can’t keep the kite up all by yourself. Use puppeteer ninjutsu to take control of the hat assassin nearby and he’ll do it for you. Proceed up through the temple near the old woman and a large tree to find a new jump point using the kite. This leads to a special encounter and secret item you need as part of a special ending chain.
Monkey Business: Like the kite, use the puppet ninjutsu on the terrified little monkey near the great serpent in the cave accessible from the poison swamps. While the snake munches on the monkey, make your way past it to find a secret item. This also leads to the Ashina Depths, if you haven’t found the route from the old well in Ashina Reservoir.
The Mist Village: There's a very dangerous rooster at the beginning of the zone that will knock you down into a pit with a Headless. Avoid this chicken! Make your way to the back of the zone towards where the music is coming from, and work around until you can access the building via a hole in the roof. There's a strange looking piper creature in here that presents as a mini boss, but in reality the critter can only take a few hits. Open with a backstab deathblow and chop him up to dispel the mist and make the zone much more manageable.
Big N Burly: There are two companions you’ll need to progress several quest chains in the game. One is the big monk near the entrance to Senpou temple. Give him the flower you find later in the area to open up dialogue options. You can send him to either the merchant, which will unlock new items for sale, including prosthetic upgrade materials, or the doctor in the abandoned dungeon, which will start a new quest chain entirely. The other soldier that fits the bill is located in Ashina Reservoir above the well, so whoever you don’t send the monk to, send the soldier to.
Swimming in Style: After you kill the corrupted monk phantom in Ashina depths, you can now swim underwater! A game changer, make sure you go back to all those water areas in the game and look around for items, there are some prayer beads down in the depths! Be sure to hit the lake in the mill area of Ashina Depths to find the red carp eyes.
Esoteric Texts: These let you learn new moves and latent (passive) abilities. While most are given to you on standard progression paths, there are a few you won’t want to miss. After Gyobu, talk to the person inside the temple to the right and complete his task, it’s closeby, and he will give you a new skill tree. Senpou text can be found near the main Senpou temple (the one with the infested praying people in it, not the one near the Abandoned Dungeon exit) by going through a dark, wet cave nearby – this text includes latent skills that add item drop rate, so it’s great to get going early. After you’ve mastered any skill tree, head to the great serpent shrine behind Ashina Castle to speak to the person there, and you’ll get yet another esoteric text, one that turns your big combat arts into even bigger ones!
Back in 2004, Troika Games released an uncut diamond with Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, a moody, choice-driven role-playing game set in the White Wolf pen-and-paper universe. The game released in a state of disrepair, not unlike an energy-drained vampire desperate for blood, but dedicated fans glamoured by its atmospheric world and unique premise gave it new life, rounding out the rough edges and even restoring scrapped content. The game’s reputation continued to grow while the franchise collected dust inside a coffin, but now it’s primed to emerge from the shadows.
With Troika long since disbanded, franchise rights owner Paradox Interactive handed the resurrection duties to Hardsuit Labs, which includes Bloodlines writer Brian Mitsoda among its ranks. This makes the studio well-suited to handle the delicate work of updating the series with new hooks while maintaining the elements that have earned the original loyal fans.
Rather than pick up where the original game left off 15 years ago, Hardsuit instead chose to tell a new tale set in a city never really explored by the World of Darkness fiction – Seattle. With its pervasive cloud cover, unceasing rainstorms, and vibrant nightlife, it’s a perfect city for bloodsuckers to take residency. The setting may be new, but the politics among the various vampiric clans should be familiar to anyone who played the first game.Click here to watch embedded media
The story follows an innocent protagonist swept up into this supernatural subculture when a group of vampires go rogue and illicitly perform a Mass Embrace, descending on a bunch of pedestrians in Pioneer Square in the middle of the night and converting them into vampires. This action goes against the vampiric code, so the Camarilla wants to hunt down these “thinbloods” to learn what happened and put them out of their misery. As one of these targets, you must evade capture and navigate the faction wars to learn who turned you into a vampire and why.
The world of Bloodlines 2 operates much like the original, with certain parts of the city and its outskirts operating as hubs ripe for exploration and story missions. These spaces feature plenty of vertical spaces and alleys to keep your nefarious deeds in the shadows, and even a series of underground passageways and basements that were actually the ground level of the city in the mid 19th century before the Great Seattle Fire swept through and the city planners decided to build on top of the ruins.
As a fledgling vampire, you start off with a small suit of supernatural powers. Activating your heightened senses highlights points of interest like the investigation mode in Batman, which is also helpful for identifying prey when it’s feeding time. Depending on the choices you make, you can also learn how to levitate and glide through the air, control bats, manipulate objects with your mind, or even turn into a mist cloud to move through pipes to new areas. You don’t start as a member of any particular vampire clan, but as the story plays out you can align yourself with certain factions and even learn new vampire powers from them. Make certain decisions, however, and you may alienate another clan and cut off an entire progression path.
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Vampires are formidable predators, and this prowess is on display during first-person combat sequences. Much of the skirmishes are focused on hand-to-hand combat, with players taking advantage of their supernatural agility to dodge incoming attacks and close the gap between them and their opponent quickly. Guns are occasionally interjected into the mix, but most of the time you’re relying on your supernatural gifts to survive these scraps. During our demo, we saw the player pull off impressive feats like running up a wall to pounce on an enemy from above.
Paradox Interactive and Hardsuit Labs are well aware the mod community played a critical role in fixing up the original Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. To honor that legacy and reward their steadfast loyalty, Bloodlines 2 will support modding from day one.
You can always choose to cap off your fights by feasting on the weak, but you need to be careful about how much blood you drink at any given time. If you mortally wound a person during feeding you can take on other accruing effects like madness. Over time, you could eventually compromise your humanity and make your hunger more uncontrollable. Going down this beastly path will also have implications with your dialogue choices.
After years of thinking a Bloodlines sequel was an unrequited dream, it’s nice to see the franchise get the sequel it long deserved. We hope to learn a great deal more about how Hardsuit Labs hopes to live up to its legacy in the coming months.