It Ain’t Termites
HIGH It’s more Control!
LOW The “Swift Platform” mission needs work.
WTF Something went horribly wrong with the lipsyncing.
The Foundation is the first expansion for Remedy’s excellent 2019 title (and my personal game of the year) Control. For further information on the base game, please see this review. This article will only address The Foundation.
First things first — players who want to jump into the new content will need to finish the campaign first. Those who haven’t rolled credits on the story won’t be able to begin this expansion.
In this add-on, there’s trouble in the Oldest House. Protagonist Jesse Faden must go down to its lowest level — the foundation — and suss out what’s wrong down there. I won’t spoil any narrative elements, but players might recall that head of operations Helen Marshall went missing during the original campaign and was notably absent for the remainder of the game. The Foundation reveals what became of her and wraps her storyline up.
Looking at what The Foundation adds, players will get an all-new environment made up of a series of caves and the kind of structures that are typical in Control — a lot of cold stone monoliths, time/space abstractions and a bunch of scattered paperwork and audiotapes. It feels like a natural expansion of the environment, and I was right at home.
There are (as far as I know, anyway) four missions in the content. One is the main story concerning Marshall, and the three others are optional sidequests. They’re all par for the course, but it seems safe to assume that the standout was supposed to be “Jesse Faden Starring in Swift Platform”. Unfortunately, the cool factor is seriously diminished because it’s too difficult, too long and the nearest checkpoint is too far away.
Mechanically, players can look forward to a new melee-type enemy who’s more trouble than one might expect, a “Shield Rush” ability which is incredibly useful for blocking damage and pushing enemies off of ledges, and two new powers — “Create” and “Fracture”.
While traversing the foundation’s caves and stone-rich environments, Jesse can use Create to cause rocky outcroppings to sprout out from walls and floors. These can serve as platforms or as damage-dealing spikes. Fracture gives Jesse’s gun the power to shatter pre-existing stone pillars and growths that block her way. They’re well-woven into the foundation area and give the missions a bit of a metroidvania feeling, but they can only be used in predetermined spots set by the devs. Without the ability to manipulate stone at-will, these abilities will likely be ineffective anywhere else in the Oldest House.
Overall, The Foundation is a satisfying package that delivers more of what players got from the original campaign, and this is a good thing. The combat scenarios are tense, the locales are interesting, and it’s between four to six hours of new content for those looking to spend more time with Jesse Faden. It might not advance the storyline much and it doesn’t do anything radically different, but there’s no question that those who enjoyed Control should jump in and see what’s happening in the basement.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Remedy and published by 505 Games. It is currently available on PC, PS4 and XBO. This copy of the add-on was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to it, and the main questline was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and contains Blood, Strong Language and Violence. Control might be rated M, but I didn’t experience anything memorable that some T-rated games like Uncharted don’t get away with. There is violence and language, but none of it is over-the-top. I don’t see any problem with early teenagers playing this with some adult supervision.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes but an option to toggle enemies’ health bars between red or yellow exists.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Control features subtitles in three different sizes for all spoken dialogue in the game. It also features an option to put a shaded box behind the subtitles for better clarity. Control features text-overlay options for signs in the world, but the subtitle size changes do not affect the sign overlay text size. Control is more difficult without sound due to a drastic music change that signals when enemies are on the attack and when they’re asbent. This music change has no visual cue. Also, Control includes three options for subtitle sizes, the largest is shown below.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls on the PS4 version. Y and X-Axes and stick sensitivity can be changed. A picture of the PS4’s controller setup is below.