Control was one of my favourite games of 2019, so my hype for this years’ DLC is palpable.
I’ve already covered my expectations for the DLC extensively, but now that I’ve played through The Foundation, I have to say, I’m disappointed.
There’s a really interesting story here that explains quite a lot more about The Oldest House, Jesse’s relationship with the Board, and, most importantly, what happens to Marshall in the base game, but the gameplay synching all that together is … frustrating.
How to Play
Once purchased, the content can be accessed as a mission within Control entitled ‘The Foundation’ when you’ve finished the base game.
The Foundation takes place almost directly following the events of Control. I’ll try to avoid spoilers here, but essentially Jesse goes in search of Marshall who goes on a solitary mission during the base game, and she’s called to investigate the mysterious ‘Foundation’ which has become unstable.
The Foundation is a secret place of great power within The Oldest House, a location that should only be known to Directors, but Marshall found a back door, recognizing it as a bit of a security risk because the Hiss have infiltrated their way inside.
Jesse needs to cleanse The Foundation, fighting back the Hiss, while learning more about what Marshall has been up to in her absence. But there’s a lot more to unpack here and some interesting twists to the world you thought you knew, adding all new complexities and dimensions to Remedy’s excellent narrative.
And that’s a key thing to remember as you read this review, Remedy’s narrative remains incredibly strong. There’s some interesting lore tidbits to discover in the notes, the way the story is unravelled is well-paced, and most importantly, you’ll come away from this with an all-new understanding of what The Oldest House actually is. Even though you’ll still have questions.
I was just not a fan of the setting. At all.
The Foundation is full of murky underground tunnels, samey caverns with far too many gaping chasms to fall in, and the overly familiar blinding white sights of the Astral Plane. You’ll spend most of the time clearing the way of spike-like rocks or building platforms from the walls using two brand new abilities.
The content gets better about halfway through – hiding some pretty neat secrets throughout, all culminating in a pretty epic battle – but there’s a real slog to get through the early stages as you retread familiar ground again and again, and contend with a vicious difficulty curve. Some of the enemies you come up against are massively over-powered.
It doesn’t help that the missions feel repetitive and rehashed at times, as well, which can make your progress feel slow and stunted. Particularly, the puzzle needed to cleanse each pillar is particularly frustrating as you’re continuously shooting vines away from a sphere while trying to rebuild it. Problem is, it’s time-sensitive and often rebuilds itself before you’ve had a chance to finish.
Fortunately, it’s not all bad as there is a fun side mission slightly off the beaten path that, while it doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of the Ashtray Maze, will definitely bring a smile to your face. Let’s just say there’s music, shooting and plenty of jumping. What more do you need?
And what’s more, using your new abilities gives you creative ways to fight back against the Hiss, like raising a pit of spikes up out of the ground, impaling enemies in a satisfyingly Mortal Kombat way, and creating a barrier to deflect incoming bullets. Both work well in the context of Control and add nicely to the flow of battle.
The Foundation has some exciting revelations which make it an essential play for Control fans and it really does get us in the mood for the game’s second DLC – AWE – which will hopefully see some form of crossover with Alan Wake.
Sadly, though, it’s not all plain sailing, occassionally drawing attention to the worst of Control rather than the best of it.
+ Learn more about the fascinating world of Control
+ Remedy’s Excellent Narrative remains solid, answering questions while creating new ones.
+ Some really neat secrets to uncover, including one level in particular.
+ Cool new powers provide fun ways to fight against The Hiss
– Overly familiar terrain becomes a slog to get through
– Missions feel repetitive
– Difficulty curve is brutal
Control – The Foundation DLC Review
7 out of 10
Tested on PS4 (Exclusive for three months)
Code kindly received from 505