It took several months, but the first Control expansion is finally available on PC and PS4 - although unfortunately, Xbox players will have to wait until the end of June, due to a surprise exclusivity agreement that benefits no-one. The Foundation is the first of two story expansions that Remedy has announced for Control, and is available as a separate purchase for £11.99, or as part of the expansion pass, which costs £19.99. AWE will be the second expansion, and everything indicates that it will tie into Remedy's 2010 game Alan Wake, which seems extremely interesting, but for now, let's focus on The Foundation.
The expansion can only be played after finishing the main story, and as the name implies, it will take players to the foundation of the Oldest House. Jesse Faden, more comfortable in her role as Director, is sent to The Foundation by the Board, as she tries to defuse a potentially world-ending scenario. The Astral Plane is overflowing into our dimension through an object identified as Nail, and unless Jesse manages to stop this process, it may mean the end of The Oldest House and possibly the world. During her foray into The Foundation, Jesse will also learn that Helen Marshal, who went missing in the base game, is somewhere inside, and Jesse will stop at nothing to find her.
We won't reveal any more plot-specific details, but we can say that you will uncover some new stuff regarding the Old House, the Board, and the Director's selection process. These answers, however, usually also bring more questions, meaning you shouldn't expect to find everything spelt out for you. Control's plot, world, and characters were quite abstract and mysterious, and the same is true in The Foundation, which we enjoyed. The game offers just enough for players to speculate about this strange world, leaving many details open to interpretation.
The guiding thread of the story is presented directly with cinematic sequences and dialogue, but much like the base game, you will also have opportunities to enrich your knowledge of this world through audio files and documents. You can read descriptions of strange events and occurrences as if they were little parallel stories. All of this, of course, is optional, but if you're ignoring Control's documents and files, then you are missing one of its best elements.
The Foundation is divided into a series of new areas, made up of caves, research camps, and sections in the Astral Plane. There are some interesting locations, and some that are genuinely impressive, but nothing comes close to matching the best zones and sequences in the base game. Truth be told, it must not have been an easy task, considering the Ashtray Maze was one of the best gaming moments of 2019, but it is still slightly disappointing.
The expansion also introduces two new powers both of which can only be used at The Foundation. The powers involve expanding or breaking crystals attached to the walls, ceiling, and floor, although initially you only have access to one of them. You can choose which of the two powers you receive first, which will allow you to access some places, but to enter the others you will need to revisit areas after acquiring the second. These powers are mainly used for platform sequences, especially the power to expand crystals, but they are also useful in combat, allowing you to hit enemies with crystals, or literally destroy the ground under their feet. They are fun powers that add some extra depth to the combat, although the biggest draw is the opportunity to continue using the base powers, such as levitation, throw, and shield (which has been improved).
The Foundation is a solid albeit unspectacular expansion that we recommend to all Control fans, especially considering the fact that it expands this bizarre yet compelling game world. The battle with the last boss was disappointing, and we would have liked to have seen some more distinctive and memorable sequences, but as an excuse to continue playing Control, The Foundation does its job.
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