Charlie loves her video games as much as she loves dumb, charming JRPG protagonists: probably way too much. You can often catch her spending too much time being emotional over LGBT stories in games. She also thinks Yakuza 6 is the best one.
Some five months after the first paid expansion known as ‘The Foundation,‘ new content for Remedy Entertainment’s Control is coming to a close. This time it’s hoping to do so with a bang, with the AWE Expansion. It sports an exciting premise: investigate an Altered World Event that ties into the events of the studio’s other hit, Alan Wake. Is the mystery a swing for the fences?
Jesse Faden’s latest case practically falls in her lap. Flashes of none other than writer extraordinaire Alan Wake appear on your screen, pervasive and demanding as ever. You’re not one hundred per cent sure what he’s up to or what’s going on, but you’re drawn to an abandoned wing of the Oldest House known as The Investigations Sector. Here you’re looking into a new mystery: Just what happened in the town of Bright Falls and what happened to Alan Wake? One can only wonder.
Wonder you likely will. After all, 2010’s Alan Wake ended on quite the cliffhanger. Our titular hero gives in to the lake and the dark presence that haunted the game, taking away his wife. Trapped forever, he set about working on, in meta fashion, writing out his own escape. Now really kicks off the test for grounds of a Remedy Connected Universe.
When wandering through The Investigations Sector as Jesse, don’t expect too much in the way of answers. Players as Jesse won’t ever get to meet up with Wake, instead chasing him like a ghost. Although, more collectables in the forms of readables and audio logs are available to give you context clues. There’s definitely some prods towards a future where answers are given, but that’s about it. If anything, it’s still nice to be reintroduced to see that writer’s ol’ face again.
Similarly, the world of Alan Wake is also revisited through game mechanics. Doorways and paths are covered in a black, mysterious goop known as the darkness, and can only be removed with light. Like Wake with his battery-powered flashlight, Jesse can find light sources such as small construction lamps, using her telekinesis to shine on these spots and clearing the way.
The expansion takes quite a horror approach, and is eerier ground than ever for Control. A large portion of the DLC sees you in pursuit of Hartman, another character from Alan Wake. This time, they’re now this weird terrifying blend of The Darkness and the Hiss. Terrified of the shadows and in love with the dark, you’ll experience several encounters with him where you’re in dimly lit areas. Here, you must try your best to either find or establish light sources in order to remain safe. It’s thrilling and gave me some of the most on edge moments I’ve ever experienced in the game.
“The expansion takes quite a horror approach, with eerier ground than ever for Control.”
Plenty of other new additions are also on offer with AWE. The charming but mysterious janitor Ahti offers a boatload of new side-missions for you to go. Once more, you can go soothe some plants; a personal favourite of mine in the base game. The new grenade launcher-like gun known as the Surge, and a multi-lift telekinesis ability are also handy to help you take on some mighty meaty foes. Yes, those new flying hiss, named Airborne Hiss Rangers, can be quite a pain.
I also have to commend Remedy for the accessibility options they’ve now allowed for the game with this DLC drop. Immortality, aim assist and reducing the damage you receive are just some of what’s on offer. For me, it helped in moments when I felt too tested. I can only imagine the benefit for those who might not be able to play without it.
All in all, the AWE Expansion DLC for Control is quite a fun ride. It’ll take you an extra five or so hours on top of the already fun adventure the game is. Despite not having all the answers I hoped, there’s definitely enough there to wet Alan Wake and Remedy fans alike. Hell, if you simply love Control I’d recommend it too. More of this game is a good thing.
At the end of the expansion, a signal from Bright Falls is received at the Oldest House. It’s from some number of years in the future and Alan Wake’s voice says: ‘It’s happening again, a return. You have been warned.’ One can only hope that return is as soon and as bombastic as possible. Damn it, I’m itching for more.