Journey To Foundation

The sums add up


There’s a great moment when you’re told to put your hands up – fail to respond and you’re shot.

Asimov’s classic series of Foundation novels has a narrative spanning centuries, represents the hardest of hard science fiction, and has influenced everything from Dune to Star Wars to real-world economics and, well… Elon Musk. And after all that, it’s now a PSVR game.

On paper it reads like Journey To Foundation shouldn’t work; the source material is just too dense. But developer Archiact has been cute in its approach by using Asimov’s world to set up its own story behind the events of the books. As a spy within the Galactic Empire you must infiltrate a group supporting The Foundation – a disruptive bunch of hippies who pray to a God-mathematic­ian on the edge of the galaxy – and take them out. Or will you?


This is an immersive RPG in which narrative choice really matters; how you respond to the characters you meet in turn affects how they see you and how the story evolves. The game uses VR to bring this to life in subtle ways – you make choices using eye tracking, and likewise uncover clues and narrative leads by looking around the environmen­ts. There’s a clever use of gesture too; each of the game’s factions has its own salute, and by repeating the right one to faction members you gain their trust. There’s a great moment early on when you’re told to put your hands up – fail to respond and you’re shot.

Immersion is key to VR and Journey To Foundation gets much right, including good use of scale when climbing and abseiling down cliffs and burning elevator shafts (you can skip these if you hate heights). You manually upgrade your weapons by swapping out chips, and pull your lock pick and blowtorch from your suit – the latter burns satisfying­ly through grates to unlock additional routes. There’s also a Jedi-like gesture used to blow and read minds, revealing codes and extra dialogue choices or, during combat, sizzling enemies’ brains.

The down side is that the immersion can occasional­ly be broken by bugs and some flaky VR-isms – for example, you need to physically pick up keycards and gun upgrades, but drop them and they vanish or disappear into the scenery and it’s time to restart. Using 2D backdrops in some areas to try to convince you of the scale doesn’t really work, either. The weapons can feel a little inaccurate and generally the action disappoint­s.

But Journey To Foundation has some genuinely original uses of VR and gesture and a story you always feel invested in, and because of its branching narrative you’ll want to replay as soon as the credits roll.

While admittedly a little buggy in places, this is a clever use of Isaac Asimov’s genre-leading science fiction, with enough invention and immersivit­y to impress. Ian Dean


 ?? ?? Combat is slow and a little clumsy, but the Jedi mind tricks are fun.
Combat is slow and a little clumsy, but the Jedi mind tricks are fun.
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