Review – I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine

I Expect You To Die 3 Cover Image

“Someone seems to have stuck a knife in my wallet.” -James Bond, ‘Octopussy‘. We are back again with another entry into the I Expect You To Die series by Schell Games, and I couldn’t be happier. It has become one of my favorite VR series, and I know I’ve said this already in my reviews of the previous games, but it still needs to be emphasized: it is the most fun I’ve ever had with VR escape room games. Each time a new entry comes out, Schell Games out does themselves, and this one is no different. I know I’m gushing here, but that’s just because of how much I enjoy them. Let’s get into the review, and hopefully my excitement gets you to jump in with me.

After the cliffhanger of an ending in I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar, I’ve been eager to get back in and continue my pursuit of Zoraxis. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything here for The Spy and the Liar or Cog in the Machine, but yes Zoraxis still evades our grasp. However, this time he has even more brilliant help, siding with a scientist and former Agency Inventor, Dr. Roxana Prism. Dr. Prism believes that she can create a robotic agent that is even better than you, and Zoraxis can give her the freedom to create it without the red tape.

I Expect You To Die 3 Dr. Prism

Oh don’t mind me, I’m just enjoying a drink with your robot…

The great thing about this dynamic of going against a former agency inventor is that she knows a lot of your tricks, and has some unique defenses when you solve something. In I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine the puzzles are far more intricate, and require a lot more observations and understanding than some in the previous games. The hardest parts of reviewing these games is not being able to talk about the specific puzzles, because that would just ruin them for you. Just know that you will be using every move in your book for each puzzle.

Another perk about going against a former agent is that you will be doing far more cool James Bond-esque stuff. Of course, every former entry had you feeling like Bond in a way, but I Expect You To Die 3 really steps that up. Previously, you were stationary in a booby trapped spy car; this time you will be actually driving a spy car while infiltrating a locked down truck driving down a freeway. There is more movement in this entry, but luckily Schell Games has added in some comfort settings to help with the more mobile levels.

I Expect You To Die 3 Spy Car

Being able to actually drive the spy car this time around was awesome.

Speaking of puzzle complexity and length of the total game, I feel like I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine if far longer because of harder puzzles. The last game I was able to finish it in around three hours without doing side stuff or finding hidden items. However, this one I’ve been stumped on quite a few of these solutions which has resulted in a far longer game. Don’t worry, it isn’t longer because it’s unfair, it is that there are more steps to each puzzle and the complexity has been increased.

Keeping in line with the hilarity of the series there are still plenty of moments that will have you laughing from a ridiculous booby trap, or from accidentally doing the puzzle incorrectly. The beauty of this game is I’ve never felt upset, annoyed, or frustrated with unexpectedly dying. It’s the exploration of trial and error, but not in a punishing way, that hooks you. There were plenty of times that I died at the final part in a puzzle, but since I already know the solutions leading up to it, it doesn’t take long to get back where you were.

I Expect You To Die 3 Submarine

There is a twist in this level that I did not see coming.

Clearly for this game to work VR, interaction has to be top notch and the series has always been good in that way. You can still interact and wear hats, chew gum, use telekinesis, and the whole nine. However, there has always been no destruction in the items, and I was kind of hoping that little extra bit of realism would be added. Throwing cups, plates, tea pots, coffee pots and such don’t break, and it can kind of look silly as they just roll around after been tossed across a cave. It’s by no means a deal-breaker, but something I did hope would be stepped up with the rest of the game. My only other complaint is that there can still be few times where interacting can be a bit wonky, especially when there are so many items to grab in some levels.

Visually there has been a clear step up in overall fidelity, and that is huge considering I played the previous one on PC VR with an i7-9700k and a RTX 2070. This time I’m playing it on the Meta Quest 2, and it looks a lot better. No more muddy textures for even close items, and it’s cleaner to look at. The overall art design still keeps that wonderfully bold color pallet, but it’s even more clean this time around. Which is even more impressive considering the levels are larger and more dynamic. The only downside of playing on the Meta Quest 2 is the tracking isn’t as good as my Oculus PC setup, but that’s not the games fault.

Ski Gondola

Always remember to find your cool clothes and light up a stogie while you watch the fireworks.

I’m probably going to sound like a broken record with by parroting point from my review of The Spy and the Liar’s sound design, but they’ve really perfected it since the first game. More villains and enemies in I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine means more opportunity for great voice acting, as well as funny observations and lines for the characters. All the characters, especially Dr. Prism, are voiced beautifully, and her robot minion is innocent, but menacing. The sound effects are also all well done, creating a believable environment to mess around with. The sound track of course hits all those fantastic spy and Bond themes pulling you into the world even more. Of course, the opening credit roll song is fantastic as always.

I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine really hammers home just how great this series is and that there is still so much they can do with the formula. It’s the third game in and not a single aspect feels repetitive, stale, or tedious. Schell Games continues to push themselves and the series forward with great new ideas, more demanding puzzles, and better visuals. Much like the previous two games, I absolutely recommend this game to any VR puzzle fan.


Graphics: 9.5

The art style remains as striking and bold as before, but now with even more ambitious environments.

Gameplay: 9.0

There has been a step up in puzzle depth, quality, and interaction. However, at this point I’m expecting more from destructible items.

Sound: 10

Sound design remains top notch across the board with even more voice acting during levels and fantastic sound effects.

Fun Factor: 9.5

With even larger and more complex levels, I Expect You To Die 3, has stepped up its game and continues to offer some of the most fun and unique puzzles in the VR genre.

Final Verdict: 9.5

I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine is available now on Meta Quest 2. Available September 28th, 2023 on Steam VR.

Reviewed on Meta Quest 2.

A copy of I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine was provided by the publisher.