Control: The Foundation Review – Missing the Magic

    Title: Control: The Foundation
    Developer: Remedy
    Release Date: March 27, 2020
    Reviewed On: PS4
    Publisher: 505 Games
    Genre: Action/Adventure

When I played through Control, I was filled with wonder as I praised Remedy for their world-building and character development. They presented this over-the-top and surreal story that only became more complex during each moment. Still, it was immersive and engaging.

Now, with the new DLC, The Foundation, we are called back by the Bureau for a new mission. However, this time Jesse Faden is equipped with all of her powers from before, with a little more to discover along the way. However, the best parts of this new content are not going to be found directly in front of you.

The Foundation begins with Jesse getting a strange message from the Hotline, which finds her and the team investigating deep underneath the Bureau. Evidently, the hiss has been leaking into the world from down there, and she is tasked with stopping it. All of this leads to her destroying four monuments sprinkled around the underground map and ultimately discovering why it’s all happening in the first place.

We get to see a new side of Jesse in this DLC. She has much more confidence when dealing with the supernatural, and she is just more comfortable with her powers. However, a different side of her is shown as she is met with the possibility of failure. She seems to be lead by her impulsive nature, which helps and hinders her actions. Most of all, they just make her a more well-rounded character, which paves the way for the writers to use this in future stories.

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I ended up not liking the repetitive nature of this DLC. There are many times where you’ll encounter the same cavern halls that seem to be copied and pasted to make the new underground area larger. In the base game, each are had its own identity as you’d make your way through the building. However, here it’s just all kind of empty. There are times where you’re just running through caverns with nothing really happening.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some significant areas found in this new map. The Warehouse is by far the most interesting, but this could be because a side-quest where I needed to find lost IDs forced me to explore every inch of the level. The side-quests are perhaps the best part about the DLC as the main quest can be completed rather quickly.

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To help you get through these new areas are two new powers, the ability to destroy crystals and the ability to grow them. Paths are sometimes obstructed by these crystals, which can now be shot and destroyed. Growing them, on the other hand, allows you to get to high places or across long distances. However, both can be used in combat, and given how unforgiving some of these enemies can be, it’s best to master these powers to get through encounters quicker.

I liked these powers to an extent, but I felt that they made the last boss a breeze as the entire arena is littered with ways to take advantage of the skills. Looking back, I enjoyed the side-quests a lot more than the straight forward main missions since it seemed to repeat itself over and over again. Sure, it was fun exploring new areas, but the reasoning behind it didn’t feel the same as what is presented in the main game.

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The Foundation has a handful of different enemy types that you’ll meet every now and then, but a handful of the battles are optional. However, these battles offer a great way to test your skills, given that they are challenging. Still, I didn’t think there was enough variety in the enemies that you meet throughout the story.

The DLC content doesn’t shove the optional missions in your face, which might make some players miss them entirely. There’s a real lack of variety here, and it’s sad remembering just how complex and fantastic Control’s story is. Coming to this is a bit of a disappointment as it is pretty much more of the same, with a couple added abilities.

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The Foundation shows us a different side of Jesse that fleshes out her character in some fantastic ways. I enjoyed seeing her play the Director and get comfortable in her new position. However, the story lacks any real execution on these new developments, and on top of that, players are sent on a repetitive quest that only seems to make things more complicated.

The Foundation will keep you busy for a few hours, but in the end, the side-quests are the best part about it, which is sad. I didn’t care for the new powers as they just made the glaring copy and paste environments more apparent. However, if you enjoyed the gameplay and battles from the base game, you’ll get that here, with even less direction.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.