If you were looking for a good reason to return to Remedy’s excellent Control, this is it.
The Foundation is Control‘s first expansion, released on PS4 and PC three months before Xbox One. Thankfully there won’t be such a delay when the second expansion, AWE, launches later this year. The Foundation adds a new area to Control, along with a quest line that’ll take you around 4-5 hours to beat. While its highs don’t reach the insanity of the Ashtray Maze, it packs in enough action and intrigue to keep you gripped.
Only accessible once you’ve completed the main storyline, The Foundation sees you heading under the Oldest House to its foundations. There, an object of power called the Nail has seemingly been destroyed, and as a result the Astral Plane is seeping out and causing strange and destructive phenomena to occur in the real world. And so of course it’s your job to stop it. You are the Director, after all.
“While its highs don’t reach the insanity of the Ashtray Maze, it packs in enough action and intrigue to keep you gripped”
Early into The Foundation you have to make a difficult choice. Finding yourself in the void, there are two paths to take, tied with a decision. Do you want the ability to create, allowing you to manipulate crystals in order to create platforms and raise spikes tom kill enemies? Or the power to destroy, allowing you to shoot crystal structures until they crumble?
The choice may seem like a hard one, but ultimately you’ll end up with both. Though the board might not be happy with it.
Your choice, which takes place an hour or so into The Foundation, affects how the rest of the DLC plays out. With your newfound powers you need to locate four monolithic keys, though whichever power you choose first first determines the order. In any case, you’ll find yourself exploring a variety of environments and engaging in some truly challenging combat scenarios, especially if you haven’t played Control for a while.
Much of The Foundation takes place in a cave system, comprised of stalactite-laden tunnels and openings that could make you believe you’re exploring Mars what with their red rocks and otherworldly atmosphere. There’s also plenty of exploring to be done in the Void, however, and there you’ll be using your new powers to navigate monolithic platforms. Crystals need destroying to release gargantuan blocks, and others need drawing out to bridge epic gaps. And in between these bouts of puzzle platforming, hostile forces test your resolve.
“The Foundation [is] a worthwhile expansion. Maybe even one of the best in recent times”
Most of the enemies you face in The Foundation are your typical Control fare: shielded soldiers, flying assholes that fire rocks at you via telekinesis; the usual. New to The Foundation are pick-axe wielding melee-type enemies, however, meaning it’s more important than ever to keep on the move. Your new abilities come in useful, though, as you can use them to your advantage. Enemies stood on crystal platforms can be eradicated immediately if you take away the ground they’re stood on. And if an enemy or two are stood on a crystal outcrop, why not make suddenly make it grow to impale them? Combat is made just that little bit deeper.
The Foundation finishes with a boss fight that will both surprise and possibly frustrate you until you’ve got your tactics in order. You’ll certainly need your new abilities to succeed, that’s for sure. After that, there are some optional quests to be discovered and completed, adding yet more playtime to an already quite meaty piece of DLC. And landing alongside The Foundation is an update for all Control owners adding new feature and content regardless of whether they’ve purchased The Foundation or not.
An improved map makes it easier than ever to navigate through the Oldest House, while the new Shield Rush ability comes in handy when tackling The Foundation. If when you return to Control you decide you don’t like how you spent your skill points, you can now reallocate them if you wish, though it will cost you some essence. And finally, if you’re playing The Foundation on PC with an Nvidia RTX graphics card, you’ll be able to make use of DLSS 2.0, which really does improve picture quality.
Of course, The Foundation‘s narrative is just as much of a draw here as the action, but to say too much about it would spoil it. You can rest assured that it adds yet more meat to Control‘s world though. And so with that, The Foundation becomes a worthwhile expansion. Maybe even one of the best in recent times. It actually feels like it has purpose, that it achieves something. It’s not just an afterthought made to cash in. So, if you love Control, definitely consider picking it up.
Control – The Foundation is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC. We reviewed the PC version with code supplied by the game’s publisher.
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