Review – I Expect You To Die
I Expect You To Die is an “escape room puzzle” game where you play as a secret agent for the Enhanced Operative Division (EOD) trying to thwart the devious plans of the evil Dr. Zor. You will be placed in seemingly impossible situations where you have to use your wit and a few clues to solve puzzles to either stop Dr. Zor’s evil plans or to just escape a sticky situation. While the level layouts are well done and a blast to figure out, the game heavily revolves around throwing “unknown’s” at you which will mean you will be dying a lot as you figure out what to do next. The clues and items are laid out in front of you if you are astute enough to plan ahead, but this is very much a trial and error game.
The gameplay is a perfect representation of why I love VR and I Expect You To Die really capitalizes on the use of VR and motion controls. Being able to look around and observe your surroundings in a full 360° room while figuring out puzzles works very well. The only issue is that while you can look all around, you cannot use the Move controllers behind you where the PSEye cannot see them, so the majority of your puzzle solving will be in the forward position. Overall the Move controllers work well, letting you grab and interact with most everything in each level. There were a couple times when they would jump around or twitch unexpectedly, but it’s brief and infrequent. And speaking of interacting with the world; just about everything in each level can be played around with or manipulated. Messing around with items is a fun time, setting books on fire with a lighter, smoking cigars, throwing money in a fire place, creating Molotovs out of bottles of booze, there are plenty of things to have fun with in each level. In fact, each level has a set of awards or souvenirs for finding funny things to do within it. The only downfall is that there are only 4 levels included in the base game, with more coming as DLC.
As an elite agent of the EOD you have a special ability: telekinesis. While this might seem strange, it’s very necessary considering you can’t move around the area. So being able to manipulate and grab things from a distance is a must. Another perk of having telekinesis is being able to pin objects anywhere you want for quick reference or to piece together torn up clues. This becomes unbelievably handy when trying to figure out puzzles, being able to just glance over at references is a great tool and feels very intuitive to the gameplay design.
The graphics and sound design are nothing to gawk over, but luckily the presentation is masterfully done to make you feel like a 007 agent. The simplistic design works well for VR since it keeps things clean, allowing the game to run without aliasing problems. Smaller details are also well done in the environment: gauges, books, small clues etc. are all clear and easy to read. There really isn’t any music inside the individual stages, as it’s narrated by your supervisor in a James Bond “Q” fashion, but with a bit more humor. There are however the quintessential secret agent chimes and noises for when you do accomplish a puzzle or unlock one of the souvenirs within the level. The presentation is perfect at making you feel like you’re in a James Bond movie, from the amazing opening sequence (seriously, watch it in the attached video below) to the quick witted escapes, you will be feeling like an elite agent throughout. On top of all that the main menu is cleverly done. Its not your typical menu where you select new game or options etc., you’re sitting in your office and missions are handed to you through movie reels. Insert the movie reels into your projector and it will give you a summary of the mission before you hit start. After each mission you will return to your office to receive another mission, but now your office will have a few memento’s from your most recent adventure. Every souvenir you unlock in a mission will be transported to your main office as a decoration, which of course you can play with.
I Expect You To Die is a great time from the very beginning opening scene to the final puzzle against Dr. Zor. It’s stylish, humorous, challenging and accessible. While the majority of puzzles are do-able if you stay aware and set up clues before starting, you will die a lot, but each time you die is an example of how to move forward. Unfortunately this can lead to a couple frustrating deaths, specifically in one of the levels, but once you get it done flawlessly it’s incredibly rewarding. While the Move controls are accessible, there is a learning curve to figuring out the telekinesis. And you will, throughout the entire game, accidentally pin an object in the air instead of bringing it to you. But if you are at all into wanting to be a 007 agent and like figuring out puzzles, you will enjoy I Expect You To Die. The only major downfall here is that there are only 4 levels.
I Expect You To Die is available now digitally for PSVR, Oculus and Vive.