Between aiming, shooting and telekinetically throwing big metal boxes at baddies, each room has plenty of action to offer. Jesse's superpowers are dope, mostly because they're not too finicky. Items that she can pick up -- electrical boxes, metal panels, lights, concrete blocks -- are outlined in white, but even if there's no throwable object around, hold down the telekinesis button and she simply rips up a section of the floor. As Jesse grabs things, they soar her way from ahead of her, leading to one of the most satisfying mechanics in the game: Killing enemies by suddenly smacking them in the back with a giant metal box.
The music ramps up deliciously as Jesse enters a fight, and it's supposed to fade away once all of the enemies have been terminated. However, the frantic, pounding beat failed to dissipate after a battle a few times during my playthrough, making the simple action of walking down hallways and across metal staircases uncomfortably intense for a good chunk of time afterward.
There's room to improvise and pick up mini missions along Jesse's journey; the brutalist concrete architecture is littered with details that add to the background narrative. Navigating the building is fairly simple, with plenty of glowing green lights and signs with friendly arrows pointing the way. However, I found myself lost in the industrial compound once, for about 10 minutes, and the players on either side of me had an even tougher time. Developers eventually came over to help each of them navigate their way out of different maze-like loops, physically pointing them in the right direction.
There's clearly a full game here, poised to be packed with paranormal-action goodness and a mysterious narrative to unravel, coming from a team that knows how to tell a spooky story. Still, a few moments from the demo gave me pause. Character animations felt unfinished in cutscenes, surprisingly stiff and repetitive. The extended battle music raised a red flag. A handful of folks needed help from developers, some for help with mission goals or navigation, and at least one with a session-ending glitch.
That happens sometimes, in pre-release demos. But with Control's launch date two months away, I'm surprised by the amount of polish Remedy has left to apply. The studio has the foundation of a fantastic game with fresh and fluid combat mechanics, and I'd hate to see it overshadowed by its flaws.