If your spy shoes have gotten dusty since Schell Games’ previous VR puzzler, I Expect You To Die, then you’re in luck. Schell Games’ I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar is the upcoming sequel to the spy puzzler that launched back in 2016. Much like the first, this is a seated VR game that makes good use of a compact play area, and it’s heavy on tactile physics-based interactions that make you use your hands to solve puzzles rather than do combat.
The Spy and the Liar spans about six levels that aim to take you deeper into the lore behind the mysterious Zoraxis corporation that was established in the first game, and I recently got to play through the first three of those levels. Specifically, I played through the grand stage, the luxury airliner, and the tinker’s workshop. Without spoiling any of the individual solutions that I used in order to get through the first half of the campaign, each level offers a unique and interesting way to interact directly with the environment, but there’s generally only one path to the end. That must be figured out through trial and error, however, and it’s easy to die by accident and need to start over.
I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar Screenshots
But at least there are some genuinely interesting zones here. For instance, the tinker’s workshop and the luxury airliner are totally different from one another. Not only are they both visually unique – filled with interesting props that make them both feel lived-in and real when you’re inside the VR headset – but the way you unravel the puzzle in both areas makes creative use of those props. What struck me the most is how interactive each environment is. As you play through a level, for instance, you will gradually uncover new compartments and sections that were cleverly hidden before. At one point, I needed to deflect an oncoming laser that would have surely killed me, so I grabbed a steel platter from a nearby bar cart. Underneath that steel platter was a bottle of booze that I uncorked and took a swig from. Across the aisle, I found a cigar dispenser and a lighter, and upon lighting up the cigar I was unpleasantly surprised to find that it had exploded in my face. As you feel your way through each level, you will run into a ton of these different types of interactions, and they all feel right at home in VR.
I previewed I Expect You To Die 2 on the Oculus Quest 2, so I can’t speak to how well it will run on other platforms. But I can at least say that the overall visual detail is astounding on the Quest 2, which keeps things consistent and smooth even when you’re finagling with a bunch of physics objects. I did run into a few situations where an object with which I needed to solve a puzzle fell outside of my field of view or behind a piece of geometry where I could no longer grab it from a distance, but it’s convenient then that levels are structured so that once you know the solutions to earlier bits of the overarching puzzle, you can easily restart the level and quickly get back to the point where you lost your place.
The environments that I Expect You To Die 2 places you into are tight and compact, and you never need to swivel or crane your head too much or move too far out of the comfort of your seat in order to do stuff. As I mentioned earlier, your hands can extend outward and grab far away objects as needed. This is also helpful for plucking stuff off of ledges or opening distant containers which may contain clues, buttons, or other key items. It all feels great.
When you’re sitting inside of the headset, this 007-style opener is satisfyingly entertaining.
Another part that struck me is the fantastic opening sequence. There’s an entire song and dance bit featuring I Expect You To Die 2’s main villain, Jon Juniper, played by Wil Wheaton. It’s impossible to convey the cool factor when you’re reading about it on text, but when you’re sitting inside of the headset, this 007-style opener is satisfyingly entertaining. Even the staging area between missions has cool, interactive stuff to find. For instance, you can rummage through photos and documents that fill in background lore for each of the levels you visit. There’s no real gameplay impact to looking at these, but they add a cool effect to the staging area, making it feel like you’re really a spy with your own collection of intel.
I Expect You To Die 2 is promising to be a short if densely packed spy-thriller VR puzzle game that builds upon the world first introduced in 2016’s I Expect You To Die. If you love physics interactions in VR or want to play a VR game that doesn’t invoke a lot of motion sickness, being that this is entirely set in a confined zone with little in the way of movement, you may find your next VR fix right here when I Expect You To Die 2 launches on August 24.
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