We’ve been big fans of VR for a number of years now, and a few titles stick out as timeless favorites in their respective genres. I Expect You To Die from Schell Games is one of those games, so we were extremely excited when the developed announced they were working on a sequel for it. Available for all major VR headsets right now, here’s what we thought.
Since the release of I Expect You To Die, we’ve seen a number of VR escape rooms pop up – the most notable one being The Room VR: A Dark Matter. We believe the holy grail is an escape room where you can walk around with a room-scale option rather than teleporting through a scene, but outside of a few smaller PCVR productions on Steam we haven’t seen a lot of those – not even on the Quest, which seems like a perfect fit for it with its wireless nature.
I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar unfortunately doesn’t go that route, but it’s rather unique blend of storytelling wouldn’t fit either – its spy-inspired story works best through careful direction and timing, and it would likely fall apart if you spent a lot of time walking around the room casually exploring stuff. As such, the sequel returns to the formula of the first game, and it’s every bit as fun even though it’s a stationary experience.
The puzzles in I Expect You To Die 2 are as intricate as they were before – with the narrative often acting as a fail state in how it puts a time pressure element on you. Since you’re stationary, there’s a limited amount of stuff you can explore in a scene, and the puzzles are well balanced in giving you the sense that there’s just enough time to solve it without making it feel like you’re guaranteed to do so. They’re also well-designed in that they almost always make sense when you figure them out, but never to the point of being so obvious that there’s no satisfaction gained from solving them.
As with the first game, the sequel plays out through a selection of six short stories, all presented as puzzles with multiple stages. The spy aspect makes for some truly thrilling scenes too, like when you’re struggling to make it off a doomed plane just in the nick of time. Always a guaranteed ‘edge of the seat’ moment in movies, and now you’re the star. Frustration rarely sets in as well, because even when you miss a solution there is often another way of completing a particular puzzle as well. This offers a tiny bit of replay value as well, but it’s mostly a linear experience so that’s mostly for people who enjoy experimenting a bit and seeing if they can find alternate solutions.
What really makes this a must-have game, however, is the excellent presentation. The multi-platform nature of a game like I Expect You To Die 2 means that you’re not getting ultra-realistic graphics here, as the developers once again went with a cartoon-like look for the game. It works and performs well, but the real stars of the experience are the designs of each scene, offering some great set pieces that are made even better thanks to a strong script and ditto delivery. Filled with humor, it brilliantly walks the fine line between spy narrative and spoof. It might be a tad similar to the first game and it’s not much longer either, but if you enjoyed that game then this is a VR sequel you won’t want to miss.