Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment and writer Sam Lake are well known for producing immersive story-driven third-person shooters set in unique environments with gunplay that’s second to none. After establishing themselves as a household name with the first two installments in the Max Payne franchise, they made a statement in the seventh console generation by releasing the Twin Peaks-inspired Alan Wake to more critical acclaim. Remedy sought to make similar waves at the tail end of the eighth generation with last year’s release of Control. As a fan of Remedy’s storytelling, I eagerly picked up Control only to find that while gunplay was just as good and impactful as previous Remedy titles, there was much more emphasis on movement to survive this time around, and I was left disappointed, as the more frenetic nature meant I couldn’t access the game and enjoy the story. I ended up getting a refund from Sony. Control Ultimate Edition was released earlier this month and is free to those who have a PS Plus subscription. I picked it up recently on the PS5 and am excited to say that the Ultimate Edition fixes nearly every issue I found in the original release. It features an assist mode not present the first time around that allows tweaking and customizing various game systems. Any issues with surviving the relentless enemies that fine-motor impaired gamers had due to being unable to move are now irrelevant thanks to the new invulnerability toggle. The original release also didn’t have the option to make weapon aiming a toggle or for the reticle to snap to nearby targets, and both are available in the Ultimate Edition. Other features that are present here but not the initial launch include adjustable weapon and energy recharge speeds, a sprint toggle, a telekinesis toggle so holding R1 isn’t necessary to throw objects, damage reduction, and more, making it a barrier-free experience for the fine-motor impaired.
Visually, the Ultimate Edition still has a lot of the issues the last version had, so it’s not barrier free. Certain areas are very dark, so it is a bit perplexing that Jesse doesn’t have a flashlight. This can be fixed by adjusting brightness, but doing so ruins the atmosphere Control is trying to achieve. The map would also benefit from including a waypoint that marked objectives’ locations in-world instead of being exclusive to the map screen, as not having an indicator to orient players can be confusing. Subtitles here are also implemented better than they were in their earlier counterpart, as this time around they feature background opacity adjustment. Control Ultimate Edition remains partially accessible like its earlier counterpart for these reasons, and there also don’t seem to be any colorblind settings available. Despite all being a shade of red, the enemies have distinct sizes, shapes, and attack patterns, so they’re all easy to identify, and even the reticle changes to identify the weapon currently in use. Its color also changes to differentiate allies and enemies.
Auditory accessibility doesn’t present any barriers. Weapons pack quite a punch, and I can’t think of any aspect of the Ultimate Edition that’s hindered by the inability to hear.
The complete version of Remedy’s latest work isn’t perfect, but it successfully addresses many of the original’s biggest accessibility shortcomings, not unlike Insomniac’s efforts with Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the remaster of the original Spider-Man. It not only shows that Remedy is masterful at creating worlds that are unsettling and hauntingly beautiful all at once, but also that they are headed in the right direction to making these worlds accessible to anyone and everyone who wishes to make the journey.