Why Control’s Foundation DLC Fails To Build Off Its Base
At the end of Control, Jesse Faden saved our world from an invasion of extra-dimensional creatures called The Hiss and completed her first assignment as the director of the Federal Bureau of Control. Still, Jesse’s work is far from done; Control’s universe remains full of unseen threats and looming dangers. The Foundation puts Jesse back on the front lines in a battle for the planet. Unfortunately, this battle feels a little too familiar.
In The Foundation, players who completed Control’s main story are now able to travel to the lowest depths of the FBC building where they discover that the astral plane is leaking into the bedrock of the Oldest House. In order to prevent both realities from colliding with one another, Jesse must repair a giant monolith called The Nail by completing a series of trials. These trials are basically a bunch of fetch quests full of combat encounters that keep the action moving. The Foundation’s narrative features the same strange fiction tone present in the base game, but it is missing some of the magic that made me fall in love with the original. The narrative doesn’t evolve much past the “repair the astral barrier” concept, and we don’t get any new insight into Jesse as a character.
Fortunately, Control’s core combat still holds up, and Jesse learns two new abilities. My favorite addition is Create, which allows Jesse to terraform certain sections of the environment. I enjoyed sending deadly spikes up under my enemies’ feet or creating rock walls to shield myself from enemy fire. Unfortunately, Jesse can only create new rock formations in designated areas, which is limiting. On the other hand, Jesse can also use Create outside of combat to tear up sheer cliff walls to create platforms, which can be used as stepladders to new areas.
Jesse’s other new ability, Fracture, allows her to smash crystal formations spread across the FBC’s foundation. Naturally, this opens up a few new areas on the map, but I was also able to send my enemies tumbling to an early doom by shooting the crystal floor out from under them. Overall, Fracture isn’t as versatile as Create, but it is useful a few times. Sadly, you won’t be able to bring either Create or Fracture back into the main game, since they are exclusive to the Foundation DLC.
Aside from Jesse’s new abilities, The Foundation doesn’t bring a lot to the table. The new Foundation environment is a boring cave-like network featuring a relatively straightforward hub-and-spoke design. The Foundation includes one new enemy type, called the Hiss Sharpened, that races toward you wielding axes, but they don’t feel much different from enemies you face in Control’s main campaign. It took me a while to even realize they were new.
In the end, The Foundation is little more than an excuse to return to Control’s blockbuster action and use Jesse’s telekinesis powers to toss some heavy objects around the room, which is still a blast. Create and Fracture are nice additions to Jesse’s toolkit, but they don't fundamentally alter Control's moment-to-moment action, and I generally defaulted to Jesse's base abilities during most combat encounters. You can run through all of The Foundation’s content in about four hours, but unless you’re itching for a reason to dive back into Control’s world one more time, you can skip this fight.