I Expect You To Die 3 Review: This is how Virtual Reality works
The spy adventure I Expect You To Die 3 sends you on a secret VR mission for the third time. How does the VR game perform in our review on Meta Quest 2?
I've been poisoned, thrown from a moving car, accidentally hit in the head with a pipe wrench, and blown up with explosive vodka. The VR game “I Expect You To Die 3: A Cog in the Machine” lives up to its name, letting me jump off virtual cliffs as Agent Phoenix over and over again. Read my review to find out if the creativity of the latest installment in the VR puzzle series extends beyond the on-screen deaths.
I Expect You To Die 3 Review in a nutshell
I Expect You To Die 3 is a VR game as it should be. Interactive, creative and accessible. The intuitive controls and high level of comfort make it a great experience even for VR newbies. The spy story is full of amusing clichés and made me smile over and over again. Add to that challenging puzzles and creative level design. This is VR at its best – more of it, please!
Primarily tested on: Meta Quest 2
You should play I Expect You To Die 3 if ...
- you liked the first two parts
- you love crunchy VR puzzles
- agent parodies like Austin Powers are right up your alley
I Expect You To Die 3 is less suitable for you if ...
- you have enough of the agent setting after two parts
- you don't like puzzle games in general
- you don't like to play VR games sitting down
Magnificently staged escape room for secret agents
I Expect You To Die 3 starts with a short tutorial before sending you into one of the best intro scenes since VR games have been around. Inspired by the classic James Bond films, you'll glide through seamless scenes accompanied by the shadow of the antagonist and a fantastic song that could easily be from the next Bond movie.
The third installment in the Secret Agent saga is, like its predecessors, a virtual escape room at its core. Each mission throws me into a new scenario and I have to figure out what to do. Only by inspecting my surroundings can I make progress.
There is a lot of attention to detail in the level design and countless agent clichés that always make me smile. Particularly praiseworthy is the consistently high quality of all the voice actors, who accompany my sometimes absurd actions with amusing comments.
Tacky puzzles and lots of interactivity
In drawers, lockers, notes or audio logs, I find clues that lead me closer to my goal. Sometimes I have to find a hidden computer, sometimes I have to outwit a robot or outsmart a fingerprint scanner.
I can try everything the environment has to offer and create a lot of nonsense that will lead me to screen death again and again. VR agents will have to use a lot of brainpower to get through the campaign. The puzzles are sometimes quite tricky, but always fair.
A touch of Rogue-like
The deaths described at the beginning are programmatic. If you press the wrong button or accidentally mix two incompatible liquids, the mission ends prematurely, and you have to start all over again. There are no checkpoints within a mission, which can be frustrating at times.
Especially when you fail the same puzzle multiple times and have to repeat all the previous ones before you're allowed to try again. In most cases, though, I said goodbye with a grin and was motivated to do better next time.
Still, a discreet hint function would have been nice. In a pinch, you can skip the current mission in the accessibility options and tackle the next task. Of course, you'll miss all the side quests, finds, and story interludes. At least your companion will give you a brief summary of what happened.
Clever telekinesis feature and seated action
I Expect You To Die 3 is played in a seated position, but that doesn't mean there's no action in the game. There are car chases, gunfights, and other confrontations that never fail to surprise.
Fortunately, Agent Phoenix has a telekinetic chip implanted in his brain to reach all the objects in the room during the puzzle phases. Using the joystick and a held trigger button, I can move objects through the air or flip remote switches and levers.
Since a lot of stuff accumulates around me during a mission, it can quickly become confusing. Here, I Expect You To Die 3 tries to keep order with a freeze function. If I move an object using telekinesis, I can "anchor" it in mid-air by pressing a button, do something else, and come back to it later.
That way, I don't have to keep searching for new places to store things. The controls are easy to use and very intuitive. Only in time-critical puzzles, where I have to move several objects around quickly, can the controls get a bit fiddly.
Résumé: I Expect You To Die 3 – Spy fun with head-scratching puzzles
Developer Schell Games manages to capture the charm of the old spy movie classics and pack it into a challenging, amusing and technically flawless VR game. Garnished with a pinch of humor that is never overbearing, great voice acting, a nice story, and a lot of attention to detail, the third installment in the series is also consistently fun.
The puzzles are always challenging, increase in difficulty over the course of the missions, and always remain fair. Only a small hint function for the really hard heads wouldn't have gone amiss. Since there are no checkpoints within the missions, it can quickly come to moments of frustration when the knot just won't unravel.