I Expect You To Die 2 Review: From VR with Love
Ah, Agent! So good of you to come, we’ve been expecting you! You see, Zoraxis is back at it again — you know, the baddies from the first game? Right, well, this time they’re making some concerning moves towards world domination, and you’re our best agent for the job. Only problem is, they think you’re dead — what, with the goings on from the first game and all — so you’ll need to get creative when it comes to infiltrating and investigating. Now, get going! The world won’t save itself!
It’s glamorously difficult being the world’s greatest secret agent, but someone’s gotta do it — and in I Expect You To Die 2, that someone is you! Developed and self-published by Schell Games, I Expect You To Die 2 is a gloriously fun follow-up to the first game, I Expect You To Die. Featuring six new missions, a cunning new superstar villain John Juniper (voice by Wil Wheaton), and a dazzling new opening number performed by Puddles Pity Party, I Expect You To Die 2 aims high and hits all the right notes.
I Expect You To Die 2 has players taking on the role of the most experienced and talented Agent the force has. Waking up in one of the agency rooms, HQ lets you know that you’ve surprisingly survived through the events of the first game despite Zoraxis’ best efforts. Unfortunately, there’s no rest for the weary — Zoraxis is moving closer to achieving world domination, and your specific set of skills are required to stop them. What skills, you ask? For one, you now have a telekinesis implant in your brain, allowing you to manipulate objects within sight. Additionally, you’re just… well, Agent, you’re just extremely intelligent, quick, clever, dashing, and many more positive adjectives. Shall we thwart Zoraxis, then?
Controls in I Expect You To Die 2 are made with accessibility in mind. Although it’s fun to move around in rhythm games, being seated in one place for escape room/puzzle games makes concentrating much easier. It’s explained in the game that you have a telekinesis implant that allows you to move objects just by using your mind, which allows you to get things quick and painlessly. My favorite part about this mechanic is that you’re also able to make things float in mid-air, which is nice when, for example, you want to read a clipboard but don’t want to hold it. Not even physics will hold back the world’s greatest agent!
As for the environments, I genuinely loved exploring every little nook and cranny — and I didn’t even have to leave my seat to do it! Each level has a set of puzzles you’ll need to solve according to the storyline, such as playing a stagehand in a theatre or avoiding booby traps in a private plane. In the majority of the game, the story progresses when you trigger certain steps, so don’t feel rushed trying to get through the levels. It’s great fun to poke around desks and drawers to find drinks to chug and food to chow, but also all sorts of accessories to wear. One level has an entire getup of a hat, glasses, and moustache, which the other characters will comment on once you don the look. I Expect You To Die 2 does feel like a 70s spy movie, but it also feels lightheartedly silly in that older comedy kind of way, which is a genuine delight.
Speaking of the levels, there are six in all, which, depending on your familiarity with the first game, the genre, perfectionism (or lack thereof), or some combination therein, can take 3 – 10 hours to finish. I wouldn’t say the game felt short — I think “tight” better describes the title. But for those concerned, there are watches to pickup that will enable players to speedrun the level; additionally, there are trophies to find in each level, which can take some time to uncover, especially in the later levels. For those who just love to get immersed in VR environments, there are also just plenty of little gags to discover if you want to sit back and take your time with the title, my favorite being an actual cask of Amontillado in the wine cellar. If you love the goofiness of old spy movies, the length won’t matter much to you, but the production value will absolutely impress you.
Now I know that Wil Wheaton was the star power behind I Expect You To Die 2, and I fully admit that his performance was stellar as John Juniper; however, that opening sequence sung by Puddles Pity Party stole the show. It’s great to watch on its own on YouTube, but seeing it in its full 360° glory is nothing short of spectacular. Plus it’s just such a catchy tune that I found myself singing along to it days later. As for Wil Wheaton, his acting prowess shines through as a snobby, self-centered actor, and where this is most apparent is in his radio interviews players can listen to while seated in the mobile van HQ. Thanks to the phenomenal voice acting, you really do get a sense for the characters in I Expect You To Die 2, how they might act, and how you’re supposed to feel about them.
I don’t have any real complaints for I Expect You To Die 2 — great storyline, fun gameplay, no technical issues, superb voice acting, and plenty of moments that made me literally laugh out loud (or at least crack a smile). I do think that some might grumble about the game’s length, but when you consider what the title is parodying, it can help to liken it to a playable spy movie instead of your average VR escape room fare. As far as I’m concerned, nabbing I Expect You To Die 2 is a no-brainer — in fact, grab the first one while you’re at it, as both are extremely enjoyable and deserve to be in your VR library.
I Expect You To Die 2 is a fantastic VR escape room experience that plays up the thrilling spy movie genre in the best possible ways. With an incredible voice cast, a show-stopping 360° intro sequence, and exciting puzzles that will really make you feel like a big screen secret agent, I Expect You To Die 2 belongs in every VR library. So, what are you waiting for, Agent? Stop Zoraxis’ evil plan for world domination — we’re counting on you!
Final Verdict: 4.5/5
Available on: PS4, PC (reviewed); Publisher: Schell Games; Developer: Schell Games; Players: 1; Released: August 24, 2021; MSRP: $24.99
Editor’s note: This review is based on a copy of I Expect You To Die 2 provided by the publisher.