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I Expect You To Die 2 Review

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Stepping back into the swanky VR shoes of the Enhanced Operative Division’s top agent is like coming home to a freshly-baked batch of exploding cookies. I Expect You To Die 2’s constant callbacks to spy classics like 007 and Mission Impossible are comfortable and familiar, but then you quickly realize this sequel to Schell Games’ fabulous escape room puzzler introduces plenty of unique tricks of its own. While not too much longer than the 2016 original, this short-but-sweet spy thriller brings a whole new batch of death-defying scenarios that each make fantastic use of VR – just, you know, be prepared to die a few times along the way.

It’s no surprise that I Expect You To Die 2 follows the same clever, roguelike-inspired approach to puzzle solving as its predecessor. You spend the roughly three-hour campaign poking through each creative escape room while figuring out the order you’ll need to complete their necessary tricks and solutions, and this also means etching out where all the traps are set. But these solutions are rarely obvious, and you often need to unlock a few drawers, unscrew a few panels, and uncork a few bottles before you can peel apart these brilliantly layered riddles.

The prevalence of traps scattered throughout provides a necessary blockade to stop you from otherwise brainlessly feeling your way through it all without critically analyzing each part of each map’s layout, and I Expect You To Die 2 hides them in some truly unexpected places. The frequency with which it drops traps into your lap – or, into your mouth – means that you need to start over often, but each time you’re forced to respawn, you gradually paint a mental map of the whole level. It works exceptionally well for a VR game that sits you down and faces you in one direction (aside from a few puzzles that require you to crane your neck or peer around a corner), and where most of what you do revolves around toying with physics objects.

I Expect You To Die 2 prioritizes being comfortable.

At least these physics objects are handled gracefully on the Oculus Quest 2, where everything reacts to your input as you’d expect it to. For example, there’s a moment early on where you need to shut off an array of lasers. Without any additional cues, you might pick up a nearby metal platter and reflect the lasers at a painting, burning open a secret nook that you might not have found otherwise. It’s all interconnected in a way that feels great when you’re in the headset, and it’s easy to forget that you haven’t even moved out of your chair.

Much like the original, I Expect You To Die 2 prioritizes being comfortable and accessible, and the hyper-convenient telekinesis gloves you use to grab things are in keeping with that philosophy. Whereas Alyx’s ‘Russells’ let you flick your wrist to pull an item close to you, these act like remote-controlled hands, allowing you to do practically anything from a distance. This means that if you can see an object, you can access it, even if you aren’t sitting close by. The catch is that it’s possible for important objects to fall completely out of bounds if you mess up, but at least I Expect You To Die 2 makes them easy to recover and highlights stuff that’s stuck behind other objects.

Figuring out the solutions and pulling yourself all the way to the end with your telekinetic spy gloves can certainly feel like an accomplishment too, especially since some of these puzzles can be deeply challenging without looking up hints. That’s a great feeling, but once I’d seen each of the six base levels in their totality it can left me wanting more – though there are a handful of hidden souvenirs and trophies to find on subsequent visits. For a sequel this long in the making, however, it’s a shame that there isn’t even more to discover, but that’s a testament to just how intricately designed each one of these puzzle sequences is.

The story told throughout them is simple but effective, giving purpose to the various locations in I Expect You To Die 2 as you fight the clandestine Zoraxis corporation. You’ll visit the backstage area of a grand theater and the well-stocked wine cellar of a schmoozy celebrity superstar, among other locations. It builds atmosphere with an intro that pays delightful homage to 007’s musical opening credits sequences, and the standout performance by Wil Wheaton as the omnipresent John Juniper is one of the best parts of the whole campaign.

I Expect You To Die 2 looks and sounds great as well; each level is richly detailed and every object makes a unique sound when you interact with it. The little details aren’t overlooked here, either. For example, much like in Half-Life: Alyx, you can pick up a wine bottle or a can of beans and shake it to hear the contents. And, much like in Job Simulator, you can pour liquids into cups and containers, then bring those up to your mouth and drink them. I Expect You To Die 2 spares none of these details.


This article was originally published by IGN.COM

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