Control is my #2.
You can easily disagree, but I think that Control is the first next-gen title. The amount of destruction with realistic physics for every piece of debris is mind blowing. The visuals are stunning even without ray-tracing – there are projectors that actually project! And when you enable ray-tracing the image becomes even better. I’ve spend $1200 on a new PC to play this game and it was 100% worth it!
But even if you can’t run this game the best way possible, it’s still an amazing experience. The combat is great – a chaos of explosions, sounds and enemies pushing from all angles. It’s easy to get swallowed by this chaos, but you also have so many tools to control it. Movement feels great, shots feel impactful and abilities are a joy to use. Even if there was nothing else in Control it would be worth playing.
But there’s more! Exploration in Control is also great. Sure, the map isn’t a winner and there were times when I was running in circles trying to understand how to get somewhere, but each room in The Oldest House is so distinct and meticulously detailed, that I didn’t mind going through the same places again and again. Even when I played the game a second time it still felt new and exciting.
World building is also top tier. I love how weird and unexplainable stuff slowly becomes just another day on the job. When you read some documents in the beginning of the game it all sounds crazy, but later it all makes sense even though it really doesn’t. Trying to communicate with the duck toy sounds crazy and it is crazy, but in The Oldest House it’s a reasonable thing to do. Also many lore pieces are interconnected and sometimes you read about on object of power before you see it, which is always nice since it makes you feel like you know what you’re doing.
Such fascinating narrative is supported by a great cast. Jesse Faden is a great lead with a great balance of relevant history and lack of experience. She is perfect avatar in this strange world, but she never feels like just an avatar – you want to help her with her goals and want to unravel her own story. The rest of the characters are also distinct and interesting and some of them you can never meet.
For a long time Control was my GotY, but it ended up being my #2, because Borderlands 3 (my GotY) made me emotional like no other game in 2019. Control is fascinating and rewarding journey, but it doesn’t have an ending that sticks with you. And that’s why it got my second place.