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Control abilities: how to get and master them all

Control abilities
(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

A cross between the MCU’s Scarlet Witch and an especially homicidal Jedi, your various Control abilities turn you into a telekinetic badass. As you progress through Remedy’s trippy action-adventure, you can unlock five physic powers, three of which are only accessible through optional side quests. 

Below you'll find out how to earn all of them and the best perks to assign for each one. Before we talk about each power, though, here are some quick, more general tips on ability upgrades.

Control ability skill tree

Jesse earns upgrade points as she completes quests. These points can be spent on making abilities more powerful; each power has five different tiers, and each one costs more ability points than the one before.

However, you can only access Control’s skill tree from fast travel points. If you’ve got spare ability points, make sure you spend them at the main Central Executive hub or other control points before heading off to take on another mission.

Control mods

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Abilities can be further improved with Jesse’s Personal Mods. These perks come in four tiers—Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Prime—and can usually be found in chests. Hiss also regularly drop them during fights, with tougher enemies usually spitting out rarer, more useful mods.

As Jesse earns Milestone Rewards for completing quests, she can eventually unlock up to three different mod slots. But, for a decent chunk of the game, she’s restricted to just the one. Make sure you assign that first mod carefully—hint: use it on a Launch perk. 

You can also build random mods from the Astral Constructs menu at fast travel points. These come in different tiers, but the higher ones cost Source (the game’s currency), House Memories, Undefined Readings, and Threshold Remnants (materials earned from defeating Hiss and completing Board Countermeasures). You acquire these side quests from the Central Executive, with each asking you to kill X amount of Hiss in a specific Sector of the Oldest House.

Now onto your Hiss-annihilating Control abilities...

Launch

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

This telekinetic throw is the most useful power in the game and mustn't be missed. In the Unknown Caller mission, Faden earns the fancy move after cleansing an Object of Power known as the Hotline. 

As it’s the most effective ability in Control, we suggest upgrading it before spending ability points on any of the other powers. There are also three additional side powers complementing Launch that are tied to increasing the ability’s tier power. 

Reach the second tier of Launch to unlock the Launch Explosives ability. This handy trick costs two ability points and lets you return enemy grenades and other projectiles. It proves super handy during the granite-hard Salvador boss fight. 

Once you unlock Launch Explosives, you can spend a further two ability points on Launch Enemies. As you’d expect, this power lets you chuck Hiss around with merry abandon. After you earn this ability, an even more powerful version opens up that lets you throw around even heavier enemies.

The last optional addition for Control’s most versatile power is Launch Strength. This add-on lets you levitate and hurl heavier objects, allowing you to instantly squash weaker Hiss like mind-controlled bugs. 

When it comes to Control mods, make sure you always have at least one slot assigned to Launch. Faden is restricted to just a single mod slot in the early game, so you want your first perk to be dedicated to this throw. Mods that reduce Launch’s energy cost by the greatest percentage are the most useful, as you’ll be using this deadly telekinetic party trick a lot.

Evade

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Those Objects of Powers really are the most wonderfully crappy, subversive pieces of all-powerful junk. Still, at least they give Jesse some serious, Hiss-stopping powers. This is the case with a battered old merry-go-round horse that rewards you with the Evade ability.

Evade is a flashy dash move that proves invaluable in rooms where Hiss are peppering you with long-range projectiles. You can unlock this ability by taking on the Merry Chase side quest and cleansing the resulting paranormal pony.

The Object of Power is found in the Maintenance Sector of the Oldest House. Go to the breakroom with the blinking red light and you’ll fall down into the Astral Plane. Jump over the platforms to reach the merry-go-round horse in the middle and Evade is yours. 

Evade doesn’t have a skill tree, so you can’t directly upgrade it. If you want to use it more regularly and efficiently, spend those ability points beefing up your energy bar. You can also decrease the energy cost of Evade with the Dodge Efficiency mod. Happy dashing!

Shield

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

This ability lets Jesse resist incoming attacks with a floating wall of rock. To unlock this optional power, first locate the A Good Defense side quest, which is tied to finding a collectable file called Research and Records: Home Safe Tests. 

You can pick up this document in the Maintenance Sector. Travel to the control point near the NSC Energy Converters, then go into the room filled with chunky supercomputers… and some former Oldest House employees stuck in suspended animation above. The file lies at the top of the stairs on the left, sitting under a clock on a small blue cabinet. 

Once you have the side quest, track it, then make your way to the big lift in the Maintenance Sector. Head through a set of metal detectors and you’ll stumble across a training course. Finish this fairly easy set of obstacles within the time limit—which involves shooting targets, launching power converters, and surmounting platforms—and you can cleanse the Object of Power associated with Shield.

Once you complete the Astral Plane training, the game drops a series of Hiss on you back at the Oldest House. Bust out your new Shield ability to deflect their attacks with ease. 

Upgrade Shield to level two to then buy the optional Shield Barrage, which propels debris at nearby Hiss once you release the ability. As for mods, look for Shield Efficiency perks to reduce the energy cost of this power. 

Seize

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

This ability lets Jesse temporarily turn low-health Hiss into temporary allies. Pepper enemies with Launch and your Service Weapon, but leave them a sliver of health. Then possess them to set them loose on their fellow bad guys.  

As Seize is optional, you first have to unlock the A Captive Audience side quest. You can do this by finding the Research and Records: Astralnauts Information document, which can be found near the Parapsychology (don’t check our spelling) control point. You can find this document in the large room with the brain statue… which you should totally Launch into brainy bits. The doc lies on a cabinet in a corner on the left, right next to a whiteboard. 

After tracking the side quest, go back to the main room in the Parapsychology area. Follow the door signs for the Hypnosis Lab, then look for the control unit with dual screens. The object of this puzzle is to recreate the cube shape that lies on a white poster through the window behind the control unit. Pictured below is the solution you're looking for.

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Once the conundrum is solved, interact with the X-Ray Box Object of Power to be transported to the Astral Plane where you can then unlock the Seize ability. 

If you reach Seize level three you can buy an optional ability that allows you to control an extra Hiss; this is an add-on that costs three ability points. Reach level five and you can purchase yet another addition that lets you Seize large Hiss enemies when their HP is low. 

Certain mods also drastically decrease the amount of time it takes to physically take control of an enemy, so make sure to look out for Seize Efficiency perks if you’re fond of the mind-controlling ability.

Levitate

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

The other ability you can’t miss comes near the end of the main story, during the My Brother’s Keeper mission. As you can probably tell from its name, it’s a power that lets Jesse hover in the air like Magneto… only without the tacky sci-fi helmet. 

The Benicoff TV Object of Power you’re looking for lies in a gravity-defying section of the Containment/Panopticon area. Most of this mission is fairly straightforward, with the exception of the fight against Salvador. This boss can prove mighty trick if you don’t know what you’re doing: he can easily damn near one-hit-kill Jesse with his grenades. Make sure to hide behind pillars to avoid his fire and that of his Hiss cronies.  Also, unlock the Launch Explosives ability to catch his projectiles and throw them directly back in his face. 

Upgrading Levitate to level three gives you the option of unlocking the Ground Slam power for an extra three ability points. This lets you slam to the ground once you’re done levitating, causing all kinds of damage to the Hiss scum beneath. 

Levitate isn’t of that much use in combat, but it does prove crucial for certain late-game sections where Control suddenly throws some fiendishly tough platform sections at you.