Control: AWE

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Control: AWE Game Poster Image
Control's second expansion shines a spotlight on Alan Wake.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Jesse's latest case brings Federal Bureau of Control into mystery of Alan Wake games, with new set of mysteries and dark forces. Her main goal: to uncover the truth behind those events, keeping it from threatening the outside world (also to survive).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jesse is a positive character, having survived multiple traumatic events and using her new role as director to save world from hidden threats. Alan Wake, though only touched on in plot, is another positive character shown to have sacrificed nearly everything for the sake of others.

Ease of Play

Controls feel natural, intuitive. Expansion adds a few more tricks to Jesse's arsenal, including a new form for the Service Weapon and tweaks to her telekinetic abilities. These additions are easy to use and help to even the odds against new enemies. 

Violence

Players regularly fight against possessed humans and supernatural creatures using combination of psychic abilities and a shape-shifting handgun. Some blood occasionally shown on-screen. Some more graphic portrayals of violence in cutscenes. Defeated enemies tend to explode into a puff of smoke and disappear.

Sex
Language

Profanity such as "s--t" and "f--k" occasionally appears in dialogue.

Consumerism

AWE is the second paid downloadable content for the base Control game, expanding on the story and serving as a tie-in to Remedy's popular Alan Wake game. AWE is also the start of Remedy's unified game universe, bringing the events of Control and Alan Wake into the same world, setting the stage for future games in the same supernatural world.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Collectibles occasionally reference drinking and smoking, including "Hotline" videos showing previous director smoking cigarettes and some of the bureau staff drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Control: AWE is an adventure game expansion available for download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. This is the second paid expansion for the base Control game, which continues Jesse's journey into the unknown and serves as a tie-in to Remedy's previous hit game, Alan Wake. This adds a few new and improved abilities to the player's arsenal to deal with new and upgraded supernatural threats. Violence is constant, with some blood occasionally shown on-screen. Defeated enemies tend to explode into a puff of smoke and disappear. The game's dialogue does include some strong profanity, and the specter of one main character is regularly shown smoking a cigarette.

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What's it about?

CONTROL: AWE is the second paid expansion to Control, continuing the saga of Jesse Fadden in her role as the newly minted director of the mysterious Federal Bureau of Control, the world's last line of defense against extra-dimensional threats. The latest saga brings Jesse in contact with long missing author Alan Wake. Wake was last seen 10 years ago, disappearing during the Bright Falls Altered World event. Wake's sudden reappearance to Jesse comes with a warning. The Dark Presence that caused the Bright Falls event has resurfaced once more, this time within the confines of a sealed section in the bureau's headquarters, the Oldest House. Now it falls to Jesse to confront the Dark Presence, uncover the cause of its resurgence, and, most important, keep it from rewriting all of reality. This expansion to the Control experience brings with it a brand-new narrative, multiple new side missions with new Objects of Power to discover and investigate, and new and enhanced abilities for Jesse to help take on the threat of the Dark Presence.

Is it any good?

Long before Control introduced gamers to Jesse Fadden and her battle against otherworldly threats, Remedy had another hero who was, literally, fighting back the darkness: Alan Wake. And though Alan Wake has been referenced in Control with the occasional Easter egg, Control: AWE fully integrates the two games into one cinematic universe. It's not just fan service either. The expansion does a phenomenal job of seamlessly bringing the events of the Alan Wake game into the events of Control in a way that feels natural from a story perspective. In fact, while fans of Alan Wake are sure to get the most out of the crossover, the plot progresses in a way that still makes sense to those who have no idea who or what Alan Wake is.

The story isn't the only way AWE expands on the Control experience. It also brings some gameplay twists that keep things feeling fresh. There are some slight changes to the mechanics when facing off against the Dark Presence. Fans of Alan Wake will remember that the entity's main weakness is light. But it seems to thrive in the long abandoned and shadowy corners of the Oldest House. Light sources are now of greater importance than just environmental ambiance. They're also key to Jesse's survival. The Service Weapon gets another upgrade as well with the Surge upgrade. It's essentially a sticky bomb that's fantastic for crowd control against the Hiss hordes. Jesse's telekinetic powers get a few tweaks too. For example, she can now stack and launch multiple objects. While the exploration feels a little more restricted than the previous expansion, it keeps the game from feeling repetitive. Finally, AWE adds a slew of new side missions based around the bureau's stash of Objects of Power. It's the combination of all of these elements that will keep players coming back for more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Control: AWE affected by the fact that this is an adventure game with horror and supernatural elements? Is the violence of a horror game more or less impactful than that of, say, a military shooter or a sci-fi epic?

  • What can crossover events bring to a movie, TV, or game series? How can creating stories in a unified world help to expand on the longevity and interest of a series?

Game details

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