Review – I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar
I have been anticipating I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar ever since I played the first game. It was so charming and fun that I didn’t want it to stop and I just wanted more. The unique puzzles and gadgets, plus how you had to interact with the environment for clues was fantastic. Finally, we have the follow up and I have to say it doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Schell Games has mastered the escape room genre, wrapped up in a James Bond spy theme.
I Expect You To Die 2 follows up pretty soon after the events of the first game. Zoraxis thinks you died so this is the perfect opportunity to go even more undercover and thwart his plans with little suspicion. Of course the guise of death only last so long once plans start being interrupted and Zoraxis discovers you. You discover more insidious plans, more villains, and even a famous celebrity named John Jupiter, who is voiced by Wil Wheaton. The levels and characters are much more involved in this one, which I appreciated a lot.
Like the first game, the sequel isn’t all that long if you don’t bother doing all the hidden and extra stuff. It took me about three hours to complete all six levels of their base content. Of course there is plenty of extra stuff to do inside each level. There are hidden items, different ways to successfully complete the level, special interactions with certain objects, and speed running. However, I feel like the levels are much better this time around, offering way more interaction. Also, there are far more steps and queues involved in this one which felt amazing when you planned it right or just narrowly escaped death.
Speaking of death, yes, there is plenty of death in I Expect You To Die 2. Honestly, some of the deaths had me laughing out loud in my office like a psycho. Some of these are completely unexpected and one in particular was such a classic spy movie scenario that it had me cracking up. In one of the levels you’re on one of the bad guy’s planes and everything is designed to kill you in some way. However, not knowing this I’m messing around grabbing a cigar, light it up with my lighter, put my hat on – you know, just having some VR fun. All of a sudden, the cigar blows up in my face and I’m greeted with my analysis as killed by fake cigar. It’s little moments like this that I love about the level of fun and interactivity here.
The levels themselves are very well done and some of the most unique in the escape room genre. Each level has their own unique settings, puzzles, objects, and solutions to figure out. Typically, the best method is to fully interact with everything you can while pinning important clues and objects around you. As you proceed, this makes it easier to grab what you need during an unforeseen event or when you need to act fast. Some traps you may see coming, but this title had plenty of surprise events that had me panicking for a quick solution or simply killed me instantly.
It’s hard to go into great detail about the levels without spoiling, them since so much about I Expect You To Die 2 is that feeling of solving the puzzles and learning the layouts. However, I do want to give some small ideas brought forth that I thought were nice additional touches. In the first level you have to replace a backstage worker in a play and there are a list of instructions as well as the coordinator you have to listen to. Now, if you don’t put on the headphones you can’t here the coordinator and will miss certain cues. Also, if you hit the cues for the play, you’ll get additional dialogue and actions. It’s the added immersion and interactivity brought forth in this sequel that really sets it above the original.
Controls have remained the same as before and the interactivity with objects feels about the same depth. Not that this is an issue, because I praised the first games level of interactivity between the player and the world objects. You still have your power of telekinesis and are able to pin objects and clues around your body for quick access. You can still wear various hats, eat plenty of food, and use psychics-based objects realistically. One addition that I liked was the use of masks. There are special spy masks that are linked to the story, but if and when you find these they typically show you hidden points of interest. I thought this was a cool immersion tactic being able to peer through the masks as if you were really wearing it.
Visual art style has remained the same stylized, simple, bold color pallet, but overall details do seem enhanced. I’m not sure if it’s only because I’m playing on better hardware this time or if there has been a significant bump in overall detail, but it is looking better. I’m running off of my i7-9700k, RTX 2070, and 16gb of ram and it runs it perfectly. No hitches, no bad frames, the game runs smoothly, and I never once got any sort of motion sickness from it. I really enjoy the overall aesthetics of I Expect You To Die 2 with its amazing James Bond inspired intro and the fun high tech feel of the gadgets. Overall, Schell Games knocks it out of the part with its art and level design.
Sound design has also seen a major increase in not just quality, but overall design as well. There is a lot more spoken dialogue now and it’s not just from the main guy who helps you. The villains and other character get more spoken parts here and they’re done convincingly well. Wil Wheaton does a fantastic job with voicing his character in here as well. Besides that, there is more music variety this time around and I love every bit of it. The soundtrack fits perfectly with the spy theme and visual style, and yes there is another opening song cinematic, and yes it’s amazing. Besides that the general ambient sound effects and objects are all well done. I don’t really have any complaints here with the sound design.
I Expect You To Die has officially become one of my favorite VR franchises, and yet again I’m sitting here super excited and wanting more. Somehow Schell has outdone themselves creatively in every way and I can’t wait to see what kind of crazy stuff they get me into next. They have solidified themselves as a top tier developer in the escape room genre, and anyone who is looking for a great puzzle game that will make you think, laugh, and feel like a spy needs to grab this game.
Following the same art style as the first, the simple and bold color palette is pleasing and makes things easier to read.
Fantastic attention to detail with the player interactions with all objects. The puzzles are complex and require a lot of planning and observation.
Sound design has improved a lot from the general ambience, sound effects, and the voice acting. The music also sets the tone for the spy aesthetic.
Fun Factor: 9.0
Schell Games knocked it out of the park with a sequel that feels new and doesn’t borrow too many ideas from its predecessor. I was laughing and having a great time figuring out puzzles and surprises.
Final Verdict: 9.0
I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar is available now on PlayStation 4 VR, Steam, Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, Valve Index, HTC Vive.
Reviewed on Oculus Rift with an i7-9700k, RTX 2070, and 16gb RAM.
A copy of I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar was provided by the publisher.