The Foundation is Control‘s very first post-endgame downloadable content. That means events take place after completion of the main game’s campaign. While Jesse might have been successful in stopping the Hiss from taking over the Bureau, another threat has been brewing right underneath her feet. Quite literally, as the events of the Foundation take place in a completely new area that’s underneath the bureau. Helen Marshall, part of Jesse’s management team as Head of Operations, was the only one who saw this threat coming. She ventures into the Foundation without Jesse or anyone else at the Oldest House knowing, counting on Jesse to take care of the Hiss above while she handles the situation below.
During its main campaign, it’s quite evident Helen is M.I.A. Jesse and others from her management team all noticed Marshall’s disappearance but can’t seem to locate her. This is not without reason and cleverly thought of by Remedy: The location of the Foundation is considered a secret in order to protect an object called “The Nail”. The Nail is the only thing keeping The Astral Plane from bleeding into reality. You might have guessed by now, the thing’s gone broken. Thus The Board decides to inform Jesse about the location of a door that leads deeper into the Foundation for her to fix it.
It’s an interesting turn of events. The Astral Plane is now bleeding into the Foundation and it will soon reach and destroy The Oldest House. During the main game, The Board was more or less dependent on Jesse to prevent the Hiss from invading their realm. But now The Board now seems to return the favor. However, things are never as they seem in the Oldest House and soon Jesse starts to question The Board’s motives. Rightly so. Jesse has grown more confident in her role as the Director and early on decides to run the place on her terms. Were others before her blindly followed, she questions.
Often, her questions seemed to align with the ones I had, as a player. While the most important story beats are coming at you as you progress naturally, the additional lore you can find is of immense value. It’s incredibly descriptive about past Directors, their personalities, and their discoveries within the Foundation. I found these items to ensure the DLC remains incredibly grounded within the universe and thus, diminishing the feel of the DLC being ‘separate’ from the main game.
While in the Foundation, Jesse learns a few new tricks. Our Director will be able to create or destroy rock formations that allow her to reach new places. Also, she has access to a new ability in her skill-tree called ‘Shield Dash’. The new ability is most effective against a new Hiss-enemy called ‘Hiss Sharpened’. These tend to swarm Jesse and hit her with their pickaxes. Together with Hiss Snipers, these enemies prove to be a deadly combination. Like the main game, The Foundation can be challenging at times. My Jesse had most of her powers upgraded to their peak. The new dangers were nothing I couldn’t handle. Nor required me to drastically change strategies, even when the game gives you the tools to do so. That being said, the new additions do manage to keep the Foundation feeling fresh and unpredictable. Even when the location itself (mostly caverns and hallways) is visually not as impressive as other parts of the Bureau.
The only time The Foundation didn’t make much sense was when a certain someone of Jesse’s management team shows up without much explanation. That person remains by Jesse’s side while solving the threat, providing her with advice and knowledge as she goes. The game intentionally remains vague on how this person reached the Foundation. Annoying, considering all the secrecy surrounding the place and how only a selected few are allowed entry. It’s nothing big, but it did raise my eyebrow.
New missions, new enemies, new powers, new lore, new altered items to contain and new areas to explore. There is not much about the Foundation not to like. The only thing that comes to mind is that you might consider the time spent there as short. The DLC can be completed in about 2-3 hours. But that number can easily be doubled if you’re more of a completionist. I certainly would advise you to at least complete all the side missions. There’s one that’s almost at the same level as the Ashtray Maze and, considering how well-loved that level is by fans, that says a lot. Trust me, go play it. You’ll have a bureau-tifull day!