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Control - Review Thread
Game InformationGame Title: Control
Genre: Action-adventure, science fiction, third person, telekinesis, levitation
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Media: E3 2018 Announcement Trailer
Dev Diary 01 - Introducing the Story | 02 - Introducing the Gameplay | 03 - The Oldest House
04 - A New Remedy Protagonist: Introducing Jesse Faden | 05 - The Key Players: Directors Old and New
Courtney Hope (Jesse Faden) Community - Q&A | Remedy Entertainment Studio Tour by Jesse Faden
GDC 2019 RTX Real-Time Ray Tracing Demo
06 - Dynamic Gameplay & Reactive Environments | 07 - Behind the Sounds
E3 2019 Teaser | E3 2019 RTX Trailer (1080p/60fps)
08 - How to fight the Hiss | 09 - Making the Sweet Music
Gamescom 2019 RTX Trailer
Story Trailer | Launch Trailer
Developer: Remedy Entertainment Info
Developer's HQ: Espoo, Finland
Publisher: 505 Games
Price: $59.99 USD / £49.99 GBP / 59,99€ EUR / $79.99 CAD
Release Date: August 27, 2019
More Info: /controlgame | Wikipedia Page)
OpenCritic - 84 | 90% Recommended [Cross-Platform] Score Distribution
MetaCritic - 81 [PS4]
MetaCritic - 84 [XB1]
MetaCritic - 85 [PC]
Intractably arbitrary list of past games from Remedy Entertainment -
|Entry||Score Platform, Year, # of Critics|
|Death Rally||85 GameRankings MS-DOS, 1996, 1 critic|
|Max Payne||89 PC, 2001, 32 critics|
|Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne||86 PC, 2003, 46 critics|
|Alan Wake||83 X360, 2010, 100 critics|
|Alan Wake's American Nightmare||76 X360, 2012, 72 critics|
|Quantum Break||77 XB1, 2016, 106 critics|
|Website/Author||Aggregates' Score ~ Critic's Score||Quote||Platform|
|Polygon - Dave Tach||Unscored ~ Unscored||I can’t separate Control’s deliberate oddities from its beauty or from its characters, and that’s what makes it so easy to recommend. This is one of the best games of the year.||PC|
|The Verge - Andrew Webster||Unscored ~ Unscored||While it can be tedious at times, Control is worth experiencing for the atmosphere alone. It’s the kind of place that feels both alien and mundane, and it becomes richer and more compelling the further you delve into it.|
|Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Brendan Caldwell||Unscored ~ Unscored||I can’t overstate the fact that it’s a funny game – funny enough that the humour keeps you going from fight to fight, searching not for the source of your mysterious enemy, or for the answer to all the sub-mysteries surrounding Jesse, but for the next episode of the Threshold Kids.||PC|
|Ars Technica - Sam Machkovech||Unscored ~ Unscored||If you seek exhilarating third-person action, buy this before year's end. If you own a PC GPU that supports DirectX 12 ray tracing, buy this immediately.||PC|
|Eurogamer - Christian Donlan||Recommended ~ Recommended||Giddy action and astonishing art design combine in one of the great locations of modern video games.|
|AngryCentaurGaming - Jeremy Penter||Buy ~ Buy||This is a 'Buy' from me, I think it's worth it. You can actually get this for $50 I saw on Amazon. You can get at $60 on the MS Store. I don't know what it is on Epic Store, they're there as well, but really to me, $50 or $60 this is still worth it if you like these kind of games. Obviously, may not be the longest game in the world, but what is there is really enjoyable despite some of those performance issues which I really do hope get locked up. And as I said, this is isn't based mostly on the console versions which did have more performance issues than I would have liked, so keep your eye out there to see some reports when the game goes live.||PS4, XB1, PC|
|EGM - Michael Goroff||100 ~ 10 / 10||Control is Remedy at the height of its abilities. Finally, the studio's expert handling of tone and story is met with gameplay that's just as engaging and refined. As an experiment in nonlinear world design, Control doesn't just stick with tried-and-true waypoints and forests. Its Oldest House is a brutalist masterpiece, and the characters inhabiting it are just as unforgettable. All told, it's going to be one of the most memorable games of the year.||XB1|
|Saving Content - Justin Celani||100 - 5 / 5||Fans of single player games who love shows like X-files, Twin Peaks, and the sort,this is a must play. It’s refreshing to get a superbly crafted, story driven game, with no multiplayer and no micro transactions in today’s market. Fans of the genre need to have Control in their sights and I truly hope Remedy has a bonafide success on their hands. Control is one of the weirdest, fascinating, and most intriguing games I’ve ever played, a wild ride for sure. I’ll be there for the future DLC and a sequel if one ever comes.||PC|
|Stevivor - Steve Wright||100 ~ 10 / 10||Play Control for its lore, its sense of exploration or its combat, but the bottom line is this: you simply need to play it. It is absolutely my favourite Remedy game to date.||XB1|
|Spiel Times - Caleb Wysor||100 ~ 10 / 10||If players give it time, and accept it on its own terms, they’ll find a masterpiece of third person action, physics-based chaos, and bravura visual design lurking under this thick slab of untreated concrete. This isn’t just Remedy’s best game since Max Payne 2. It’s the best game the studio has ever made.||PC|
|GamingTrend - Ron Burke||95 ~ 95 / 100||Control manages to take the awesome cutscenes we see in other games and makes them playable. A bizarre adventure with rewarding power fantasy, this is the culmination of all previous Remedy games. Part exploration game, and part sci-fi shooter, Control blends a tight narrative, stunning graphics with RTX-powered lighting, and a hub-based world to create something entirely new and absolutely gorgeous.||PC|
|PowerUp! - Leo Stevenson||94 ~ 9.4 / 10||It's impeccably designed, masterfully executed and an absolute must-play.||PS4|
|Video Chums - Charlie Jackson||93 ~ 9.3 / 10||Control is truly unforgettable with loads of ways to play, terrific acting, lots to explore, satisfying gunplay and abilities, and a spectacular world and story to experience.||XB1|
|Glitched Africa - Wessel Minnie||92 ~ 9.2 / 10||In the end, Control delivers a brilliant story that kept me on the edge of my seat for roughly 20 hours. The story pacing is simply fantastic and for every bit of combat and puzzle-solving, there are new mysteries to uncover through environmental storytelling and collectables. Combined with the fantastic story is the combat and movement that feel so incredibly smooth and responsive, making it a near-perfect all-around experience that looks and feels great.||PS4|
|Indie Ranger - Trevor Poole||92 ~ 92 / 100||That being said, I still think Control is an amazing experience that without a doubt any fan of action-adventure games should get their hands on. The combat encounters are frantic, frenetic, and fun. The storytelling and visuals are bonkers along with every strange, sometimes hilarious, concept thrown into the countless notes and documents you can find in the game.|
|Rectify Gaming - Dave Rodriguez||90 ~ 9 / 10||Control represents the best of Remedy's past while pushing their blend of great action and storytelling to new heights.||PC|
|Slant Magazine - Steven Scaife||90 ~ 4.5 / 5 stars||With its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink imagination, Control is as much a thrilling paean to human curiosity as it is a warning of its numerous casualties.||PC|
|GameSpew - Richard Seagrave||90 ~ 9 / 10||Control is so good that even when faced with such annoyances you just jump right back in. It’s like a Remedy greatest hits compilation, taking the best bits from all of the studio’s previous titles while adding a Metroidvania spin, and it really works.||XB1|
|Destructoid - Brett Makedonski||90 ~ 9 / 10||Control is a weird, enigmatic, perplexing masterpiece. It's also Remedy's most well-rounded work yet. Like Jesse levitating far off the ground, Control signifies Remedy is capable of ascending to great new heights.||XB1|
|Easy Allies - Michael Huber||90 ~ 9 / 10||Control blends storytelling and action as you try to unravel the mysteries of a paranormal agency in crisis. Written||PS4|
|TheSixthAxis - Aran Suddi||90 ~ 9 / 10||Control is one of the best story-focused single player games in years. Its unique mix of surrealism, sci-fi and mystery draws you in, but doesn't give everything away, and the combat is fantastically varied and provides just enough challenge. A culmination of everything that went before, Control is Remedy's magnum opus.||PS4|
|GamesRadar+ - Sam Loveridge||90 ~ 4.5 / 5 stars||The perfect blend of narrative and gameplay, coherency and strangeness, Control is a game we'll be talking about for generations.||PC|
|PCGamesN - Phil Iwaniuk||90 ~ 9 / 10||A gripping descent into something between alternate history and fever dream, realised beautifully in audiovisual flair, and lacking just slightly in the combat itself.||PC|
|Screen Rant - Zak Wojnar||90 ~ 4.5 / 5 stars||Control is a worthwhile heir to Remedy's past while forging a bright vision for the future.||PS4|
|PCWorld - Hayden Dingman||90 ~ 4.5 / 5 stars||Control is the culmination of Remedy's entire oeuvre to-date, pairing a top-tier action game with a dizzyingly dense and layered story about the Federal Bureau of Control, and the everyday horrors within. It's so good, you might even stop asking for Alan Wake 2.||PC|
|Game Revolution - Michael Leri||90 ~ 4.5 / 5 stars||From its narrative to its world to its puzzles and combat, Control intrigues its players and invites them to think and rewards them handily for doing so; a true remedy for overly linear and coddling game design.||PS4|
|Echo Boomer - David Fialho - Portuguese||90 ~ 9 / 10||Control is absolutely insane! From its crazy and surreal concepts, fast-paced and visceral gameplay, to its gorgeous visuals, Remedy went all out with something so incredible that transcends the medium and can only be done in a video game.||PC|
|Fextralife - Yuria||90 ~ 9 / 10||Fast-paced action tied in with an intriguing story about a secret organisation which you will need to explore and discover it's hidden secrets. Visually detailed with polished fun gameplay, combining telekinetic powers with shooter combat. A playthrough could take 10 to 15 hours or more depending on the level detail you pay. A full thumbs up for this one.||PC|
|Next Gen Base - Ben Ward||90 ~ 9 / 10||Control has some very clear threads going back to Quantum Break, but it’s a game that far surpasses Remedy’s predecessor in many ways. A weird, creepy and wonderful exploration of an environment that has been meticulously crafted, it’s a must-play. Plenty of collectibles and side missions should keep you hooked for long after the final credits roll, and I really hope that this brings Remedy the commercial success that it so obviously deserves.||PC|
|MSPoweruser - Lewis White||90 ~ 9 / 10||Control is one of Remedy’s Entertainment’s most inventive and captivating titles yet. For those still bummed out over the disappointing Quantum Break, Remedy has done well to improve on everything that upset players before. There’s more of everything: combat, content, style and story. This is the proud return of Remedy: distanced from the cold grasp of television, this is a full, lengthy title that always entertains.This is one of Remedy’s best.|
|Digitally Downloaded - Harvard L||90 ~ 4.5 / 5 stars||For the most part, Control is a resounding success.||PS4|
|Everyeye.it - Andrea Porta - Italian||90 ~ 9 / 10||If Remedy decides to leave the history of the Bureau "in isolation", or expand it in the future, we still cannot know it: the hope, of course, is that the Old House represents only a first step in this strange, crazy and beautiful universe.||PS4|
|GameSkinny - Mark Delaney||90 ~ 9 / 10 stars||Control is undoubtedly Remedy's biggest and weirdest game yet. In many ways, it's also their best, all while it paves the way for a Marvel-like connected universe.||XB1|
|COGconnected - Paul Sullivan||89 ~ 89 / 100||Even with its imperfections, the incredible design, storytelling, and gameplay chops on display boil down to this: Control is the best game Remedy has made, and it’s one of the most unique narrative action games out there.||PS4|
|IGN - Jonathon Dornbush||89 ~ 8.9 / 10||Control is set in an engrossingly weird paranormal world that I couldn’t help but explore.||PS4|
|PC Gamer - James Davenport||88 ~ 88 / 100||Control's thin protagonist and abrupt ending are propped up by an abundance of mystery, wonder, and glorious room-destroying combat.||PC|
|Heavy - Elton Jones||88 ~ 8.8 / 10||Control is a pretty impressive third-person action romp that’s held up by a far-out story, strong visuals/audio, and a reliance on telekinetic powers that make combat and exploration all the more interesting.||PS4|
|Noisy Pixel - Azario Lopez||85 ~ 8.5 / 10||Control stretches the imagination of reality and takes the player on an unexpected journey. The developers took a huge chance on their approach to storytelling and their ability to navigate players through new and unique systems and it pays off.||PS4|
|Xbox Achievements - Dan Webb||85 ~ 85 / 100||Control is another absolute hit from Remedy, one that delivers from both a gameplay and narrative perspective. One of the generation's most intriguing game worlds and almost perfect pacing, the only thing that holds Control back from being an all-time classic is its unfortunate and frustrating technical issues.||XB1|
|Critical Hit - Geoffrey Tim||85 ~ 8.5 / 10||Control is an intriguing, fascinating experience. The third-person action, while slick and elegant, is perhaps a little pedestrian - but the completely bonkers story and the rewarding sense of exploration and discovery help cement Control as one of Remedy's best games.||PC|
|PSX Brasil - Ivan Nikolai Barkow Castilho - Portuguese||85 ~ 85 / 100||Despite its confusing story, Control is a great action adventure game with a varied gameplay. The idea of a weapon being used for all functions, combined with all of Jesse's psychic powers, makes combat work very well. The simplified "metroidvania" style is also very good, making Control to be not so linear.||PS4|
|Geek Culture - Jake Su||85 ~ 8.5 / 10||Control draws you in with its wonderfully crafted world, and never unhooks its claws of fun combat and a tremendous Metroidvania experience.||PS4|
|PushStartPlay - Richard Lee Breslin||85 ~ 8.5 / 10||Control is most certainly a game worthy of your time and I doubt that you’ll play a better thriller shrouded by mystery this year||PS4|
|Boomstick Gaming - Deadite AGK||84 ~ 8.4 / 10||Control is an amazing third-person action shooter that is a spectacle to behold when its combat is firing on all cylinders that is only limited by its somewhat anemic core systems and hit-and-miss storytelling. If you go into Control with the right frame of mind, you'll definitely enjoy the tightly crafted, psychological journey that Remedy has laid out for you.||PC|
|New Game Network - Ben Thomas||81 ~ 81 / 100||Control offers some of the best combat from Remedy, balancing supernatural abilities with a handy service weapon. Its non-linear twisted levels, populated with varied Hiss enemies, make for an appealing supernatural world. With a better protagonist and some fine-tuning, it could have been truly extraordinary.||PC|
|Worth Playing - Chris "Atom" DeAngelus||80 ~ 8 / 10||Control is a fun follow-up to the sort of weird surreality from Alan Wake without being a direct story sequel. It has distinctive visuals, a dark sense of humor, lots of fourth-wall breaking, and enjoyable combat. If you're looking for a shooter with its own sense of style and a solid amount of content, look no further than Control. Just don't start getting paranoid about why your controller wasn't where you last saw it....||PC|
|Wccftech - Alessio Palumbo||80 ~ 8 / 10||Control features Remedy's most original setting yet, the studio's most open-ended game environment yet and great action combat that makes you feel like a badass. The game also stands out on PC as one of the finest examples of real-time ray tracing to date. It shouldn't be passed upon by any action/adventure game fans, even if it's not quite a masterpiece.||PC|
|VideoGamer - Josh Wise||80 ~ 8 / 10||Control is Remedy at its best: pulpy, weird, and immensely satisfying to play. Its setting is a potent concoction of '60s brutalist style and wacky sci-fi. Performance issues hamper the shootouts, and the characters are a little cold, but it's the setting and atmosphere that win the day.||XB1|
|GameSpot - Peter Brown||80 ~ 8 / 10||A different kind of haunted house makes Control hard to resist.||PS4, XB1, PC|
|Gameblog - Rami Bououd - French||80 ~ 8 / 10||Control is a true Remedy experience, with some nervous and satisfying action, fantastic story and narrative elements, and stimulating exploration... And that very wird touch that makes it unique. And very good.||PS4|
|TrustedReviews - Jade King||80 ~ 4 / 5 stars||Control is one of Remedy Entertainment’s greatest achievements. As a shooter, it’s lovingly satisfying to play, as all of its mechanics mesh to create a slick, supernatural explosion of paranormal powers and eclectic gunplay. Combine that with open-ended exploration and the package is nearing excellence. So it’s a shame the narrative can be needlessly muddled, stewing at a slow pace before rocketing towards a conclusion that sadly doesn’t feel earned in the end.|
|USgamer - Mike Williams||80 ~ 4 / 5 stars||Control continues the basic formula that Remedy Entertainment has been playing with for all these years—third-person action with a hint of unreality—but it feels like the studio has reached its final form.||PS4|
|Daily Star - Ben Walker||80 ~ 4 / 5 stars||Control interweaves a superlative environment with brilliant combat and stellar map design. I just wish that the enemies were more varied at times and the story was a bit more compelling, but that doesn’t make the game bad at all. Control is a wonderful experience that any Remedy fan or supernatural connoisseur would enjoy.||PC|
|Gaming LYF - Charles Tyldsley||80 ~ 4 / 5 stars||Control is a fantastic game that comes so close to being an absolutely incredible one. Providing some of the best gameplay Remedy have created since Max Payne, it's an undoubtedly fun game with an intriguing story. Some areas such as the weapon and environment variety only slightly negatively impact what's an otherwise brilliant title.|
|GotGame - David Poole||80 ~ 8 / 10||If you like weird and supernatural games, this one is worth picking up. If you prefer a game with less thought and more action, then it might not be your cup of tea. Even so, there's plenty of intense action in Control.||XB1|
|WellPlayed - Kieran Stockton||80 ~ 8 / 10||Control's unique multi-dimensional setting and quirky sci-fi tone make for a good time, even when the combat doesn't quite rise to the same level||XB1|
|Handsome Phantom - Dustin Furman||75 ~ 7.5 / 10||Overall, Control has severe highs and lows. The mix of shooting and power based combat feels great, and features a robust system of mods and upgrades that allow you to customize to how you prefer to play. Additionally, The Oldest House is a unique environment, and is at the core of what makes the premise of the game so intriguing. Unfortunately, it gets in its own way by gating off so much of the details and lore through countless documents and audio logs that break the flow of the game. With an ending that leaves many questions unanswered and plot points unresolved, it leaves players unsatisfied and wondering "is that it?"||PC|
|DualShockers - Logan Moore||75 ~ 7.5 / 10||Remedy Entertainment's latest game, Control, continues to embrace the weirdness that has permeated in the studio's past titles but fails to excel in any one area.||XB1|
|PlayStation Universe - Eric Hauter||70 ~ 7 / 10||Remedy's Control might eventually be one of the coolest games on the market, but upon release framerate, balance, and popup issues are so rampant that players are forced to change their style of play to work around the bugs. While Control's world-building, performances, and writing are all superb, the difficulties in actually playing through the game to see all that cool stuff leads to a deep sense of frustration.||PS4|
|Windows Central - Brendan Lowry||70 ~ 3.5 / 5 stars||Though it has an excellent foundation, Control never truly achieves greatness. It's a solid game, but not a title that will wow most players.||XB1|
|Push Square - Liam Croft||70 ~ 7 / 10||There's no doubting that Control is a good experience, but it's not one that'll go down in the history books. Its explorative and combat-focused gameplay is a major highlight thanks to abilities that give you the chance to get creative, but the unreliable framerate that goes with it puts a stop to the enjoyment far too frequently. This is most definitely worth playing, but that's about as far as any substantial praise can go.||PS4|
|Twinfinite - Ed McGlone||70 ~ 3.5 / 5||In spite of itself Control still winds up being an enjoyable unique feeling action game that isn’t like anything else on the market right now, and won’t take up a ton of your time.||PS4|
|The Digital Fix - Yannis Vatis||70 ~ 7 / 10||While some technical issues plague this highly atmospheric action adventure, Control has a highly customizable combat system that is fun and addictive to play.||PS4|
|We Got This Covered - Dylan Chaundy||40 ~ 2 / 5 stars||Thanks to poor "bigger is better" design choices, technical gaffes, obtuse exploration, a bromidic narrative, and zero atmosphere, Control is soul-crushingly disappointing, and a mere shadow of the studio's far superior Alan Wake.||PS4|
Thanks OpenCritic for the initial review data import
The Best Part of You: Chapter 1.2: Brandon Davenport is Canonically Useless and This Post Title Immortalizes It Which I Personally Find Pretty Funny, Also Seth Dies
The automaton leaned on its rusted and burnt right arm as metallic entrails dripped from its ribs. It brought its fist down and crushed Seth where he stood.
He ran and hid in one of the cabins just as the forge monster climbed onto it and crushed it with its weight. The building splintered apart. Seth died of suffocation long before the heat could finish the job.
This time Seth had grabbed a sword from the armory. By this point he was aware he was dreaming. That sort of thing, recognizing that this wasn’t real, got pretty easy the sixth time around. It still FELT real, especially the unpleasant dying part, which meant the danger was frightening enough. By the time he had muscled past the panicking campers as the same scene played out – the mushroom cloud, the screams, the scent of burning flesh, the grisly scene of a date devoured – that the creature would take its time finishing off the Stable Master before seeking out the pavilion. This gave him some time to think of a plan.
The plan consisted of hitting it with a sword until it died. The plan did not go well. The sword melted. Then Seth melted.
“For Hell’s sake, Brandon! Why??” Seth tallied another mark down while sticking his free hand into a bathtub of ice water. An ugly doodle of a skeleton on fire had been added since yesterday, helpfully labeled ’Evil Alternate Universe Brandon???’, ’Prank from Hermes goons(ew I hate hermes)???’, and ’Alien message from beyond the stars, for sure.’ This sort of insane theorycrafting was immature and unhelpful, but it was admittedly fun.
He held his breath and dunked his face into the tub of ice cubes and water. He held it for fifteen seconds and then withdrew, trembling at the frigid water soaking his collarbone. This had to stop. The forge master would probably laugh at him, but he needed answers.
“I’ve been having dreams about you,” Seth told Brandon the following lunch. He had caught the Forge Master on his way to the pavilion, which was fortunate, because he didn’t know his schedule or where Brandon typically disappeared to for long periods of time, so he was going to have to make the most of this opportunity.
He also didn’t mean for that to sound so awkward.
“But.. not-not the fun kind. Or the dirty kind. I swear. It’s the scary kind. Night kind. Nightmares. Not the horses from Dungeons and Dragons. Although those are also scary. It’s a bad, evil, monster kind. Not horse monsters. You monster. You. It’s you.” The son of nobody tugged at his vest pocket and then shot him a pleading expression of please-ignore-my-lack-of-filter-and-help-me-dear-God.
Brandon raised an eyebrow at Seth’s word vomit before stopping in his tracks. So much for getting back to the forge right after lunch...
“Nightmares about me? Is this because I turned you down while you were drugged up on a love potion? I’m taken, Seth, buddy. Not a monster.” It was clear Brandon didn’t quite understand the situation; otherwise he might’ve been a bit more serious in tone. A quick look over at Seth showed that the boy was tired, but how would Brandon be involved in that?
“If you’re having nightmares, as of late, you could always try going to the Hypnos cabin? Never tried it myself, but they’ve got sleep and dream powers.”
“Okay, first of all, I’m pretty sure I’m the one who turned you down,” Seth lied, extra loudly so people would hear him and not get the wrong idea, “and secondly, that’s how every creepy cult thing movie deal starts. A fella needs help, he turns to shady sources to solve his problem, and ends up going on a traumatic life-threatening horror gauntlet of nightmares and serial killers and nightmares about serial killers until he wakes up and finds out he’s about to be sacrificed to some kind of Satan allegory.”
“And that’s another thing!” He scowled and poked Brandon’s nose before yawning angrily and jabbing him once in the chest. “You’re a big fat fibber! I found the river cult or whatever it’s called, and it’s totally legit and spooky and basically everything I thought this camp would be, so look who’s a silly little liar? And another-another thing!”
With a sudden exhale, Seth stopped and shook his head before waving a dismissive gesture with his hands. “No, no no no, Seth, stay on topic... The dreams. They’re not just nightmares, Brandon. It’s.. did you ever see that old movie? With that guy? Groundhog Day? It’s like that. Every night it’s the exact same, and it starts out so real. And it feels so real. Also you kill your girlfriend Devin.”
Brandon snickered at Seth’s defense but dropped the subject. He was more interested in listening to another tangent courtesy of Seth’s overactive imagination. When the boy finishes, Brandon is dumbfounded.
“Where the hell do you come up with this stuff? What kind of movies are you watching back home? If this is what childhood’s all about, then I seriously missed some things growing up.”
At the mention of the river cult, Brandon thought he was going to have to talk to Alby and Lukas about referring to the Bunker Bros as a cult. Instead, he was just confused. The fact Seth was poking him in the nose, then sucker punching him in the chest certainly didn’t help matters. He was fine, but it was still a bit surprising, “River cult? Legit? Spooky? Uhh, Seth, what in Hades are you talking about? Nobody is forcing Kool-Aid down your throats here. The worst of it was me making you eat magical charcoal, but that was because you were love drunk. What were those love taps about?”
When the real purpose of this conversation came out, Brandon was once again confused. That seemed to be a common theme when this boy was around, “So, let me get this straight. I show up in your nightmares every night, kill Deklyn, and it feels like it’s actually happening? I’m sorry Seth, I never heard of anything like that. My best guess is you’re being punished for something, but who, why, and how is all beyond me.”
“But…that’s not.. Oh, phooey with you! I can figure this out myself.” Brandon obviously wasn’t taking him seriously. Not that Seth blamed him. He waved away the Forge master before he could waste any more of Brandon’s time, and especially before Brandon could comment on the use of the word ‘Phooey’, and ate the rest of his lunch in confidence.
Stupid Sexy Brandon was little assistance. You’d think a guy would be a little more alarmed that a warped monsterified version of him was terrorizing an innocent and valuable member of the community at night, and declare the matter worth looking into. Instead he just thought Seth was crazy, then denied anything to do with the cult that Seth has expertly sleuthed out with his stellar powers of observing books left by strange girls at pavilions.
No unicorn jammies tonight. Several times now he had awoken to himself tearing the fabric off as quickly as he could to escape the suffocating sensation of heat, or finding his shirts stained with soot. It’s all in my mind. That was easy enough to tell himself. But it didn’t explain the physical symptoms showing up after he woke up.
”My best guess is you’re being punished for something.”
“That’s stupid,” He mumbled, looking over the tally marks. Six so far. Six gruesome fake deaths to the Forge Monster, as he had so affectionately named it. Number seven was going to be different, because this time he had a plan that didn’t suck.
After half a dozen completely identical dreams, he had pieced together how it started every time. 10:31 AM was the first sight that always greeted his eyes. He rolled off of the bed, blankets be damned, sprung to his feet, briefly considered not getting dressed at all, but then decided that showing up to the pavilion without pants on is already one of his worst nightmares. No reason to make this any more humiliating. Maybe he could weird out the devil long enough to distract it.
Brushing past the same Aphrodite girls that walked by the cabin every time and nearly knocking over the Enyo camper, who managed to swing a fist at him but missed, he went upstream against the demigods heading for breakfast and held his grandmother’s silver dagger by his side. Stirge’s Bane, Granny Su had called the weapon. In his right hand it felt more like a glittery toothpick the monster could use to scrape bits of Deklyn out of its teeth before using the unclaimed boy’s entrails as an entre.
“Loser,” he called out to the stunned son of Enyo, as the stranger responded with the same insult and found himself stumped for insults. Groundhog Day was not nearly as fun a premise as Seth had imagined. Maybe Bill Murray was a demigod after all. It definitely confirmed more than one of Seth’s own fan theories regarding the movie.
The scent of banana waffles drifted from the pavilion. His dream-stomach gave a little dream-gurgle. He ground his teeth and counted down instead.
Six. Five. Four. Three. Two.
A cataclysmic eruption shook Long Island. Shouts of alarm went up into the air. Sounds of weapons being drawn, his counselor Kit calling for a head count of the Hermes cabin, the pounding of footsteps down the trails, a child no older than ten crying, a plume of smoke drifting up from the canoeing lake. The déjà vu bore a hole into his brain and nearly froze him in place before he laughed nervously to some shocked passers by and shrugged. It’s not real. You have to ignore their panic.
Part of him wished he could have reached the lake before the explosion. See the buildup to the mysterious event that transforms the son of Hephaestus into something no longer the son of Hephaestus, into something out of, uh. A nightmare, basically. He held his arms up to shield his eyes and squinted as the wave of heat crashed over him, an immaterial fist of searing pain. He took a breath, waited for the unearthly scream that signaled the beast had arrived, pulled a fellow member of the Hermes cabin out of the way of raining pieces of wood, then marched towards certain doom while Chiron’s voice carried from behind him.
“Rally the cabins. Evacuate the beach. The younger demigods-“
An aftershock spewed scalding steam out in a circle that rose into the sky, crumbling into a foggy ring that flickered with odd red sparks. Certain details were more noticeable on subsequent dreams. Certain details he wished were a little less noticeable. Dream or not, the scent of scalding blood was hard to shake. His knuckle whitened around the dagger’s grip.
The charred mechanical shoulders of the Brandevil (get it? God, Seth is so clever) heaved as they came into view, the crackling inferno dancing around the behemoth like a cloak of solar flares. He’d seen the same surreal arena six times, and each time was worse than the last. Anticipation of more inevitable pain mixed with the uncertainty of his plan working. The son of nobody swallowed.
“Hey there, Mister. Mister, uh..” Did he even know Brandon’s last name? His best guess was something with a T. Teagan? Brandon Teagan. That sounded right. It was probably right.
Mister Brandon Teagan was still busy snacking on Miss Hayes, as was to be expected, and Seth’s quiet attempt to get its attention went unnoticed. He took the opportunity to study the skeletal mechanism one more time. A twisted bronze amalgam cobbled together, missing its lower body and terminating instead in a bundle of wires, flicking with flames and reminiscent of the burned hair of a gorgon. The scorched remnants of the stable master in its charcoal-stained claws. Yup. Just as nasty as ever. This plan had better work. He wasn’t sure how many more times he could handle seeing this scene play out over and over.
Seth cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered. “I’m talking to you, Brandy! Come get a big, juicy piece of all this:” the demigod punctuated his tastful remark by turning around and delivering an an enthusiastic dream-slap to his dream-ass. He winced as his hand struck the fidget spinner in his back pocket.
The creature was, needless to say, extremely confused and quite possibly smitten.
It scattered the crushed bones and droves its claws into the steaming sand to lean up and get a better look at the interruption. A bubble of magma swelled in its right eye socket and popped, splattering molten rock in a thick orange paste over its face.
Easy. Phase one was underway. All he needed to do now was lead it to the fireworks beach. Fighting it head-on wasn’t working, and unless he learned how to flap his arms and fly while asleep then becoming a handsome anime superhero was equally unlikely. Real-world tactics would have to be employed.
It’s not real. It can’t really hurt you.
“I’m waiting, Brandon baby,” he taunted, backing up and glancing at the dried creek. Following it would bring him to Long Island Sound, where not even a flaming bronze rage skeleton could possibly evaporate it all. Probably.
Brandon Baby did not enjoy the new nickname and wrenched its body free of the coagulating molten glass underneath its ribcage. Its arms pressed into the lakebed to lurch forward and it began to take large desperate lunges up and out of the dried canoeing lake. Something hissed inside of it and dense steam was expelled from its noseless pore to shroud its visage. That was the cue to start running.
Seth gave a hearty salute and sprinted as fast as he could while veins of fire began to appear in the sky and spikes of obsidian burst from the nearby grass. He didn’t dare look over his shoulder to inspect the locomotive cry of steam that burst from the Forge Monster’s eyes and the orange cone of light that now washed over him, as if in its eyes, he was already melting.
[Part three coming soon ish maybe.]