Control: The Foundation

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Control: The Foundation Game Poster Image
Episodic expansion is short on gameplay, deep on story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Jesse is continuing her role as Director of the Federal Bureau of Control, solving a few lingering mysteries and uncovering more. Her main goal is to uncover the truth, though the world she's operating in seems to be in a murky moral gray area.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jesse is a positive character, having survived multiple traumatic events while still coming through strong. She's fighting for a better world in her role as Director, but also willing to question the moral ambiguity of the organization and its extradimensional "Board."

Ease of Play

The game's controls feel natural and intuitive. Although there are a lot of abilities and weapons at Jesse's disposal, they are all easily accessible and work well together.

Violence

Players are regularly attacked by possessed human (and humanlike) creatures. Players use a combination of psychic abilities and a supernatural handgun to defeat these enemies. There's some blood occasionally shown onscreen and there are some more graphic portrayals of violence in cutscenes. Defeated enemies tend to explode into a puff of smoke and disappear.

Sex
Language

Profanity, such as "s--t" and "f--k," occasionally appear in the dialogue.

Consumerism

The Foundation is the first of a series of planned paid downloadable content to the base Control game, expanding on the story in an almost episodic fashion.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Collectibles occasionally reference drinking and smoking, including "Hotline" videos showing the previous Director smoking cigarettes and some of the Bureau staff drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Control: The Foundation is the first paid expansion content for the game Control, and is available for download on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows based PCs. This is the first in a planned series of paid downloadable content, expanding the story of the base game in an episodic fashion. Violence occurs regularly, with players using a combination of firearms and special powers to defeat enemies. There's some blood and occasional disturbing imagery shown onscreen. Parents should be aware that the dialogue contains some profanity and there are also scenes referencing alcohol use and smoking.

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What's it about?

CONTROL: THE FOUNDATION continues the journey of Jesse Faden and her otherworldly role as Director of the Federal Bureau of Control. Still reeling from the aftermath of the Hiss invasion of the Oldest House, Jesse is summoned by the extradimensional Board to deal with a new threat to the Bureau. In the deepest recesses of the Oldest House, known as the Foundation, an essential Object of Power known as The Nail is stored. This artifact serves as the conduit between the Oldest House and Astral Plane, where the Board resides. The Nail has somehow been damaged, and making matters worse, the Bureau's Head of Operations, Helen Marshall, is still missing after the Hiss invasion. Now it's up to Jesse to explore the Foundation in an attempt to repair the Nail and to find out what happened to Marshall. But what secrets will Jesse uncover in the shadowy depths of the Foundation? And how will they change her view on the Bureau's true purpose?

Is it any good?

When the original game came out, it introduced gamers to a weird, wild world filled with extradimensional entities, reality changing powers, government cover-ups, and a strong female lead. The Foundation keeps this trend going, picking up right where the main game leaves off. Although the base game feels like a complete experience on its own, The Foundation still manages to seamlessly incorporate itself into the overall adventure. It does exactly what a good expansion should do by naturally adding on to what the fans are already familiar with, both in terms of story and in features, while setting the stage for the future.

Over the course of the story, The Foundation gives players a couple of new powers to play around with, giving Jesse the ability to create or destroy crystal structures in specific areas. While these are useful and fun, they're also limited to specific situations and locations. These abilities are used more as a way to get from Point A to Point B in the expansion content than anything, and they don't add anything to the base game. In fact, from a strictly gameplay perspective, The Foundation is relatively self-contained. Players explore the lower levels of the Bureau, backtracking and revisiting different areas there as they search out the four nodes of the damaged Nail. It's more closed in than the main game, but it's also meant to be a much smaller, episodic adventure. Still, from a storyline point of view, The Foundation adds some hefty twists and turns to the game's lore, and does a fantastic job of leaving fans of the game eager to discover what happens next.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about downloadable content. What are some ways that the release of additional downloadable content enhance gameplay? How can episodic releases help to extend the lifespan of a game?

  • How are women generally represented in video games? What are some examples of strong and positive female characters in video games?

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