Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Control Game Poster Image
Spooky shooter avoids scary moments because of shallow play.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Saving the world, and the people in it, sometimes requires you to risk your own life and the lives of other people. But violence isn't always the answer.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Our hero is risking her life to save other people and the world. But she's also doing it for selfish reasons, while killing lots of people at the same time.

Ease of Play

The game's controls will be somewhat familiar to fans of the genre, but sometimes gameplay is too easy and sometimes it's exceedingly hard, and only has one difficulty setting.


Players use a gun and special abilities to kill people, often resulting in bloodshed that includes seeing them explode. There's also a lot of disturbing imagery and sound effects, including pools of blood, bodies hanging from ropes, and people floating in mid-air in unnatural positions.


Dialog includes frequent swearing with words like "f--k" and "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Control is a third-person shooter for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. Players use guns and special mental abilities to shoot human enemies, smack them, and throw things at them, resulting in some bloodshed that includes seeing them explode. This also has numerous disturbing images and sound effects, including distant muttering, pools and trails of blood, bodies hanging from ropes, and numerous people floating unnaturally in mid-air. The dialog frequently includes swearing as "s--t" and "f--k."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySam M. August 26, 2019

Sleeper hit of the year

Very mild violence for a shooter. Fantasy combat with a fantastical gun where blood looks like smoke. "Body explosions" dont cause any gore; its almos... Continue reading
Adult Written byzlick45 June 19, 2021

CSM, you are insane!

I created an account just to defend the amazing Control from a 3-star rating. This game is amazing, full of mystery, an amazing vibe uncommon in this kind of ga... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byAnEpicFace March 28, 2020

An Excellent Game That Common Sense Doesn't Do Justice

To start, I think the review done by Common Sense Media is very inaccurate, almost like the reviewer never finished the game and wrote it off as a mediocre thre... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byBryan tzutz March 26, 2021

Reviews given by common sense are not accurate

There is no people hanging by ropes. I never saw that and it does have some bad language its infrequently and never recurs again. The violence is not bad at all... Continue reading

What's it about?

In CONTROL, you're Jesse Faden, the new director of the Federal Bureau Of Control, which is like the FBI if it investigated the paranormal full-time. But on your first day of work, you find that your office and many of the people inside have been taken over by a mysterious force called The Hiss. Armed with a gun and some special mental abilities, you have to clear out The Hiss before it's too late. Players will have to use their skills, weapons, and acquired objects of power to gain new abilities. You've also got the ability to draw on a secret past that's driving you as much as your desire to do a good job. All of which will come in handy when you face off against possessed coworkers, some of whom can float and hit you with things from on high. Hopefully you'll be able to get to the bottom of what's going on before it gets too late.

Is it any good?

While mixing scares and shooting has worked well in other games, a myriad of issues makes this action adventure feel dated. In Control, you're the new director of the FBC (Federal Bureau of Control), a government agency tasked with investigating and weaponizing the paranormal. Except that on your first day, you find that a supernatural power called The Hiss has taken over your office and the people in it. Helping you save them, and your job, are your Service Weapon, a versatile pistol with multiple forms that regenerates ammo automatically, and some special mental abilities that include being able to toss chairs and other things at enemies.

While this might sound like it has the makings of solid scary shooter -- something similar to the Resident Evil or Evil Within games -- this comes up a bit short by being shallow and lackluster. Sure, being able to alternate between guns and powers makes the combat interesting, as does the multi-layered approach of the battlefields. While Jesse can crouch, she seems determined to stand upright whenever possible. She can also momentarily generate a shield, but the shield and crouch move are poor substitutes for taking cover like you do in other games. Similarly, your powers can be upgraded, but this is essentially limited to making the effect stronger instead of more versatile for environmental situations. This can actually highlight how shallow the powers can be, even if they're visually striking. Using your dash move, for instance, gets you out of harm's way, but dashing into someone does nothing. Couple that with the game's rather loose controls, unhelpful map and navigation systems, and distracting live action cutscenes, and you'll understand why Control feels like a relic from the days of the PlayStation 2 that's not horribly bad but not terrifyingly good either.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Control affected by the level of blood and gore shown in combat? Would the impact be intensified if there was more blood and gore shown?

  • Control has a lot of disturbing images and sound effects, but why do you think people like to be scared? Do you think strange effects and visuals makes this game more fun?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

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