Charlie loves her video games as much as she loves dumb, charming JRPG protagonists: probably way too much. You can often catch her spending too much time being emotional over LGBT stories in games. She also thinks Yakuza 6 is the best one.
In ‘The Foundation,’ the first paid expansion for Control, The Oldest House is once more in danger. There’s a great big shifting pit buried far beneath the surface of the Bureau owned building. I’m now fighting another indescribable threat. Can I prevail? Can I find Helen Marshall? Will I even get the answers I need?
The story goes like this. Just after you’ve managed to control a large part of the hiss threat in The Bureau’s Oldest House, a new terror has been thrown into the mix. The mysterious nail (that giant diamond like object you see in much of Control’s iconography) that was purposing as a barrier between this world and the astral plane, has been broken. Henceforth, a leak of further anomalies now exists. Somehow, Helen Marshall, a character that went missing in the game’s campaign, is wrapped up in all this. Only she holds the answers.
I think I would’ve at any chance jumped in to play as telekinetic hero Jesse Faden again. Still, with the deep underground setting that’s given to me in The Foundation, it’s a welcome change of pace. As I’m both pursuing Helen Marshall and working out the source of the Astral Plane’s leak, I’m floored at the visuals. Wandering long, winding caves, a deep red sand lays beneath my feet. Crystal formations I can’t quite identify sprout from walls. White bright lights, that feel almost blinding if I get too close, seep in through cracks in the ceiling. Old cave paintings are in some areas, raising questions at just how old the mysterious Oldest House really is. The Foundation’s unique imagery is something you don’t see often in games, and I love it.
There’s plenty of new to see in the world of Control thanks to the expansion too. There’s a new hiss enemy type known as the Hiss Sharpened. The Hiss were already this terrifying force in the game, possessed humans and other quite indescribable foes that made even hovering in the skies hard and dangerous. Now, this new type are intent on getting more in your face, being fast and agile and swinging welded pickaxes at you. Another anomaly, a favourite side activity by Control fans, is there for you to calm too. Without spoiling too much it’ll take you on a fun high speed pursuit in a tunnel, while an 80s synth esque backing music track plays.
“The Foundation’s unique imagery is something you don’t see often in games, and I love it.”
In your pursuit for Marshall and resolving the anomaly you’ll also gain some new abilities under your belt. They’re used to interact with and use the crystals you’ll see all around the tunnels of the expansion. They can also be used lethally and non-lethally. I could uproot a group of crystals from the ground, impaling enemies that stood above it. On the non-lethal side, I could use this very same ability to create platforms to access new areas. All in all, it provided a nice addition just to have that many more powers and tactics in my arsenal.
As for where the story goes in the expansion, it’s not the bombshell, game changing plot I was expecting. That’s really okay though. It aptly explored one question I had coming out of the initial game. Combine this with the bombastic cinematography both in and out of cutscenes, and level design, and it more than wet my appetite for the Control world.
In short, The Foundation won’t blow you away with huge narrative beats. Instead, it’ll offer you more insight into an already vast and interesting world, along with a great new setting. There’s plenty to explore, love and marvel in all around you. No burning questions will be answered but, some 7 months after release, I’m just thrilled to be playing as a badass telekinetic powerhouse again.