Control’s first DLC release “The Foundation” finally makes its way to Xbox One, thereby ending its three-month exclusivity on PC and PS4. The Foundation takes place immediately following the conclusion of Control’s base game, and needs a completed save to start.
The fastest way to begin the DLC is by fast travelling to Central Executive and then by heading over to the Hotline Chamber. A ringing phone is the catalyst that will send Jesse Faden underneath the Oldest House where it is discovered that the Astral Plane is bleeding in. This brings about all kinds of havoc, that if left unchecked would spell doom for the Bureau.
Shortly into the expansion, Jesse starts to encounter more Hotline messages like the ones with former Director Trench, but these feature the Head of Operations, Helen Marshall. So, along with stopping the Hiss and preventing the Astral Plane from destroying the Oldest House, Jesse is tasked with finding out what happened to Marshall and hopefully preventing her from experiencing the same fate as Trench.
The Foundation is a welcome addition to Control as it seeks to answer, or at least start to answer, some of the questions that remained at the conclusion of the base game. And with it are new abilities and a new enemy type.
The new ability introduced is called Shape, and actually has two subsets: Create and Fracture. Create allows you to explore new areas by creating crystal platforms in certain places, allowing you to climb your way through the winding tunnels in the Foundation. Fracture, on the other hand, lets you destroy crystals that impede your progress. These abilities are initially offered as a choice between one or the other and you’ll be limited to only using it for the first half of the DLC, they are also only usable in the new area introduced in the Foundation.
They mesh well with the existing framework of Control, which already had fantastic gameplay elements. Along with the new ways to navigate they also add another layer to the combat. Create allows you to raise spikes out of the ground to impale your foes, while Fracture lets you use conveniently placed pitfall traps to put an end to them.
There is also a new enemy type, the Hiss Sharpened. This strain of Hiss will run at Jesse wielding pickaxes, and can momentarily manipulate time to jump out of the way of incoming attacks or close some distance on Jesse – quite the combination. They hit hard and can easily overwhelm Jesse if she is backed into a corner.
But beyond that there won’t be much new in terms of combat; the rest of the enemies can be found in the base game and the puzzle-solving elements are also pretty straightforward. But for me, the combat in the base game was unique enough on its own to warrant continuing to play just for the story.
Speaking of which, it won’t take long to get through The Foundation. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise because the base game of Control was also a pretty quick game, and focused heavily on narrative elements that pertain to the main plot. The Foundation’s main story can be completed in around two to three hours if ignoring the side missions, and to do everything the DLC has to offer it’ll take a couple of extra hours.
At the end you’ll discover Marshall’s fate and once again save the Bureau from another terrible event, finally receiving some closure! Just kidding.
Control’s campaign was defined by open-ended plot lines, intrigue, and mystery, and that stays the same in The Foundation. At the end of the story Jesse is left with more questions than answers, but she will seem more determined to succeed as a Director where Trench has failed.
Jesse’s character development continues to be expanded on and, to me, she seemed like a more determined and self-assured person in The Foundation. Some of the doubt and anxiety that was present in the main game still lingers, but more confidence, and even some humor, is included that was all but absent in the main story. Along with 100 percent more puns.
“Have a bureau-tiful day”.
Okay, it was only the one pun but it stuck with me. Regardless of the total pun content, it was nice to see that the game, while serious, can take a more lighthearted approach to storytelling.
Thankfully the wait for more Control shouldn’t be long, with more DLC expected this summer. And even better is that this second expansion will be released on all platforms simultaneously, which means no three-month exclusivity. It’s called AWE and interestingly enough will feature the world of Alan Wake, because the two games take place in the same universe.
When all is said and done though, if the base game of Control didn’t strike your fancy then The Foundation DLC on Xbox One isn’t going to add much else that you’d be interested in. But if you enjoyed Control, I definitely recommend picking up The Foundation. And for those who can’t get enough of the plot, it might be worth just going straight for the Season Pass.