As mentioned, I did finally complete Control on the X. Overall, I really enjoyed the hell out of the game. If you want to explore every nook and cranny and do every side quest, you're looking at a good 20-25 hour game here. This is the best Remedy game since Alan Wake and even surpasses that game in the combat department. Once you get levitate, the exploration and combat options really open up and you get a real sense of feeling like a bad ass! I never got tired of flinging items using telekinesis and the service weapon's various forms may seem limited at first but really, there's something for everyone (shotgun, rocket launcher, etc). Short and sweet? The primary combat gameplay loop here is really a great deal of fun.
This is indeed a metroidvania style game of exploration with new areas opening up as you progress and attain new powers. It works well and the level design is solid but not amazing. It can be a bit frustrating to navigate the world as the layout often feels a bit disjointed. Not a shock for a shifting building that resides outside of our space and time but the mark of a good metroidvania style game is that light bulb that goes off when you open a new path or door that leads back to a previous area allowing for a good shortcut. You don't really get that much here and you'll be leaning on the fast travel system a lot because of it.
Also, most games of this type do a great job of mixing visual cues/landmarks with a quality in-game map. Control does a wonderful job on the visual cues but the map is an abhorrent mess. That may be by design as its obvious the developers want you to feel a little lost and I think that's great (cause fuck hand holding in most games) but the map here is just utterly useless. It also has a bunch of technical issues and just serves very little purpose other than to identify fast travel points. The Metroid Prime series continues to be the high water mark for a quality 3D map and level design working in tandem to create a sublime exploration focused experience. I can forgive Remedy for not achieving those heights here. Control is pretty good in its own right but just shy of great in that regard.
Some of the side quests on offer here are really fantastic and at times even better than the main quest line missions. Many involve altered items that must be brought under control (heh). Some will feature intense and difficult boss fights. Those are the ones that stick out and the game does an amazing job of world building both in and out of missions with documents, videos and other paraphernalia strung about. The "Threshold Kids" video series about two child like puppets being educated on the Bureau of Control is just downright creepy but damned entertaining. Oh and of course they have some Alan Wake easter eggs for you Wake fans out there.
Other side quests are of the more typical fetch quest fair. To their credit, Remedy tries to wrap a narrative around each one but there's no getting around "I need you bring me x" mediocrity. It's a tribute to the combat and exploration that you'll still be engaged during these missions. Even at its lowest, Control maintains your attention and never feels outright dull.
I really liked the story and how things played out. There's definitely a bit of a pacing issue midway through as the game opens up new areas but once you get to the latter half and the game starts to shine a light on the Hiss, who or what Polaris is and how Jesse and her brother Dylan play into the overall narrative - its gets really good. They pull a nice twist on you in the end that will have you fuming but I won't say much past that for fear of spoilers.
Overall, despite its flaws I loved it. It's a big return to form for Remedy after Quantum Break left me wanting (and I liked that game). Control is in desperate need of a few patches to address any lingering performance issues and bugs. I had audio cutout from a bunch of cutscenes near the end of the game which forced me to reboot the game. There were also points where I would bring up the menu and the controls just failed to allow me to move the cursor. I had to close and reopen the menu to get it working. Other times the map wouldn't full load and I had a crash or two here or there. There's no doubt this could have used a bit more time in the oven but 20+ hours and a perfect achievement score later - I'm not mad that I was able to spend a bunch of time with the game. Bring on the DLC and a sequel!