I Expect You to Die 3: Cog in the Machine Preview
In 2021 I had the pleasure of reviewing Schell Games’ I Expect You to Die 2. As I noted then, it set a new standard for VR games. It had a level of polish and depth rarely seen on the platform. Now, Schell Games is back with I Expect You to Die 3: Cog in the Machine. I’ve had a chance to preview its first few chapters, and what I see so far is another solid entry. While some of the previous game’s irritations remain, it looks like Schell Games have upped the complexity and production values to deliver more spy-spoofing fun.
Like its predecessors, I Expect You to Die 3: Cog in the Machine will be an escape-room puzzle game. You’re once again in the role of Agent Phoenix. Your old enemies, the evil Zoraxis Corp., are back at it, joining with the brilliant Dr. Roxana Prism to develop an army of killer robots. Placed in a number of seated scenes, you’ve got to solve puzzles and stop their evil plans before it’s too late.
Brain Busting Puzzles
This series is known for tough brain-teasing puzzles, and the third instalment appears to be no exception. After a short and easy starting sequence, I found myself investigating Roxana Prism’s lair. Schell Games has clearly added even more complexity to puzzles this time around, as I experienced first hand. All the parts and clues are there for you to put together. But figuring them out and moving on will require all your wits and ingenuity. If you liked the challenge of I Expect You to Die 1 and 2, be prepared to be right in your element with lots of challenge in this next title.
From what I experienced, scenes are really well done, with quality and polish. Visuals are beautiful, and you’ll love the game’s trademark James Bond-style opening sequence — a series trademark. It even features an Adele soundalike singing the main theme this time around. Voice acting is excellent as always, and little visual touches will be a delight for any fan of spy thrillers like the Bond movies or Mission Impossible.
Some things I didn’t like about the last games, though, are still disappointingly present. While I Expect You to Die 3: Cog in the Machine is a seated VR game, there’s a lot of awkward twisting, reaching and stretching for you to get items. Many drawers, buttons and other required objects were placed far off to my right or left, or even a bit behind me. It felt cumbersome and a bit tedious after a while. I really wanted the ability to turn my point of view, but it wasn’t available.
A Few Nitpicks
Manipulating objects is also still a bit finicky. Pointing your Touch controller and reeling in works fine, but highlighting the right object can be hard. This is something I noticed about the last game as well. I even encountered the odd bug where items were placed behind other objects. I had to stand up or reach out to target them. This happened in the first level when I had to pick up a martini glass. It started off on the floor and behind a table, requiring me to stretch forward to pick it up.
At its best, the I Expect You to Die series is tough but entertaining. And that’s still the case from what I’ve seen of I Expect You to Die 3: Cog in the Machine so far. In the three levels I tried, the trademark humour, polish and clever puzzling is back and better than ever. I just wish the physical part of being a spy wasn’t quite so awkward. But overall, this third instalment has lots more of what made the first two titles great, and is shaping up to be another VR hit.
I Expect You to Die 3: Cog in the Machine is expected to release on Meta Quest 2 and Steam VR in Summer 2023.
** A Meta Quest 2 code was provided by the publisher **