AWE is not the DLC I thought it was going to be – both for better and worse.
On the one hand, I had a completely different idea of how this was going to go when it was first mentioned Alan Wake would cross over into Control.
On the other, I can’t remember a DLC that has excited and hyped me up quite as much as AWE when the final video rolled.
See, this DLC is setting up something massive for Remedy as we roll into next generation. The expanded, shared universe that has been teased and speculated about for years opens wide like a pandora’s box.
And without delving into spoilers or peeling back the veil of mystery, all I can keep thinking is that this is Remedy’s “What if I told you we were putting a team together?” moment.
Something really big is coming and this DLC gives you plenty of things to chew over until Remedy is ready to tell us more about it.
How to Play
Once purchased, the content can be accessed as a mission within Control once you’ve beaten the seventh mission in the game. The AWE DLC begins with the mission ‘A Dark Place’
For the most part, I did enjoy The Foundation – it wrapped up a pretty significant plot hole from the base game and added some nice info nuggets – but the story of this Season Pass always rested with AWE – standing for Altered World Events.
This time around, Director Faden is called to the Investigations Sector of The Oldest House where there are AWEs enabling paranatural forces to breach the world of Control.
One of the AWEs is emanating from the town of Bright Falls. And if that sounds familiar, it should, because it’s also the home to one Alan Wake.
And so the story begins with Jesse learning more about Alan Wake, his world, and what sort of threat The Oldest House is now up against.
That’s about as much as I am going to tell you story-wise, because pretty much everything else is spoilerific. Particularly if you’re familiar with the Alan Wake games.
What I can tell you is that not too much has changed gameplay wise for Control. You can still hurl almost everything you can see at enemies, crash through walls, and fly through the skies.
There are new additions, though. For instance, the power of light. Again, this will be very familiar to Alan Wake fans as you both stunned and killed enemies using your torch and light sources.
That mechanic is now cleverly implemented into Control, with Jesse using light to progress through some areas and also to open up hidden areas. It’s a lovely, respectful touch to Remedy’s past and really helps build up the concept of a crossover.
Not just that, but there are some retro arcade machines known as Shum which will drop Jesse into one-off objective-based missions, and wave-based shooting. These offer a cool diversion from the main story and even throw up some rewards if you can fulfil the criteria.
But as you’d expect, much of what makes AWE interesting is story – working your way through the murky corridors and Hiss infested Turntables. Fortunately, combat remains good fun in Control, though I still can’t escape the feeling this is a game that was built with future generations in mind.
The performance issues on my OG PS4 haven’t really gone away since I played the game at launch. Control still completely packs in on itself if you have the map open while you’re being shot at. The game always stutters when its unpaused, and when there are tons of enemies coming for you, the action gets really sluggish. That’s disappointing.
If we’re talking criticism, there’s also not really a standout moment quite like The Ashtray Maze – up to now, the point where I would say Control peaked – but the revelations you pick up throughout the content, the way narratives are threaded together, and the promise of what’s to come seems certain to offer some of Remedy’s greatest ever gaming moments.
And the best part, once I’d finished, I hopped onto my Xbox and immediately grabbed Alan Wake from GamePass. It’s been years since I’ve played it and this DLC has filled my head with questions I need answering. Any excuse to play one of my all-time favourite games is a win in my book.
AWE may not be the best DLC I’ve ever played, but its significance to Remedy is in no doubt. Without saying too much, I believe we’ll look back on AWE in years to come and be in actual awe of what it set out to achieve.
There’s no question – what Remedy are pitching us is incredibly ambitious. They’re looking to tie their past games together and put them under the same roof. It’s never really been done before, and considering the complex worlds they build and the scope of each game, to even consider something like this is pretty audacious.
And yet, AWE has given them a gateway. It’s given us all a glimpse as to how it might be possible and provided a new starting point for Remedy’s bold future. In some ways, you might even see the ending of AWE as a soft announcement of their next major project. But it’s more than that, because this DLC gives them the context needed to do that, while surely sowing the seeds for even more projects further down the line.
Because of that, AWE could well be the most important DLC of this, or any other generation.
+ The Remedy Shared Universe has officially begun and it’s damned exciting
+ Unique ways of crossing over mechanics between Alan Wake and Control
+ Arcade Machines offer cool diversions from the base game
+ Well paced and written
– Brutal performance issues still persist on base PS4
– Difficulty harsh at times
Control – AWE DLC Review
8 out of 10
Tested on PS4
Code kindly received from 505 Games