When I try to get friends and family to try out virtual reality, one of the first games I get them to try is I Expect You To Die. Schell Games really knocked it out of the park on their first outing in its spy-based escape room series. But that was in 2016, and later this year, they are releasing the third instalment in the series.
I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with the newest title, I Expect You To Die 3: Cog In The Machine, and the first three missions using the Oculus Quest 2. Let me tell you, it’s clear almost instantly that Schell Games is a master in the art of VR, and it is on full display here.
The story picks up at an inconsequential time after the end of I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar. Agent Phoenix continues his battle of wits against the titular Dr. Zor and his new budding partner Dr. Roxana Prism, with Roxana’s goal being to replace agents with robots. That being said, there is no real need to play the previous entries before diving into I Expect You to Die 3, but you really should. They are fantastic games.
This adds a new level of excitement to each stage, as the ending of the first three levels ended with a sort of tête-à-têtes with this robo-agent. And the game wastes no time in dropping you into the action. What’s surprising is even on their third outing Schell Games keeps one upping themselves. The level of complexity and sheer thought put into each one of these rooms is outstanding.
“…I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine is precisely in tune with the past games.”
During the first level, we needed to mix certain cocktails to help us through the level by exposing hidden ink, as well as giving our robot butler something to drink. And even though things got pretty crazy near the end of the level needing to balance a few things happening at once, I never once felt like it was too much. In fact, with the climax of each of the levels I played, I was hooting and hollering to the ether while narrowly escaping.
Out of the three levels I played, the second one, which takes place in a mine, was a little less impressive compared to the other two. This is only because there didn’t seem to be too much going on, but it managed to be a blast still, pun intended. And the third level was easily one of the most fun moments I’ve had during my whole VR experience. It was the one level where I was shouting and being giddy with each step of the level.
The third level really drills down on the spy thriller drama. I don’t really want to spoil the entirety of it because it’s one of those moments that is better experienced firsthand, but you are in a car. What really helped me to be a fan of Schell Games’ I Expect You to Die series, was that I had incredible flashbacks to that opening mission in the first game, where we are trying to escape the plane in a car.
“…there is no real need to play the previous entries before diving into I Expect You to Die 3…”
But Schell Games defied and excelled past my expectations with just the sheer amount of interactivity and complexity in each of these levels. While you definitely will gain more out of the experience having played the first two, with subtle nods to the previous entries, it is still not a requirement.
Not to mention, the story so far has been hilarious, and I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine is precisely in tune with the past games. The story is there if you want it, and it is fantastic so far, but you could also play it purely for the fun of thinking your way out of these escape room-style puzzles.
“I Expect You To Die 3 seems rife with secrets that I can’t wait to explore fully.”
After finishing each level, as usual, we can see the side objectives, and some of them had me scratching my head on how one would complete them. There is one for not using a screwdriver during a particular mission, and I have no idea how one would do that because the screwdriver is integral to the mission structure of that level.
There are also hidden figures in each mission that, once you get all of them, open up a secret safe in our lobby where we choose the mission. Once we get our hands on the full game, I am very excited to see what’s hidden behind that safe door. I Expect You To Die 3 seems rife with secrets that I can’t wait to explore fully.
What I had high expectations for was the intro sequence, as I Expect You To Die has had in the past these unique intro sequences that genuinely make you feel like you are living a James Bond intro sequence. In this outing, they take it to a new level. By far the best intro sequence they have crafted. I sat through it a few times just to catch all the intricate details.
Overall, the bar was already high for Schell Games, and I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine. They went above and beyond, and if I didn’t already own a Quest 2, I would buy one just to play it. I can’t wait to play more, and now I’m just counting down the days until I can dive back in.