The name’s One, Player One. International super spy and the best damn agent the service has at their disposal. With Dr. Zor out for revenge, whatever the reason, it’s up to you to head into the field to dismantle the dastardly plans that Zoraxis have in motion.
The one problem for you is that they know you’re coming and have prepared accordingly with security measures and booby traps. Expect to have lasers trying to slice your head off, poison gas, oxygen deprivation, grenades without stopper pins, and plenty more that’s all designed to kill you. They are escape rooms which are allowed to be genuinely deadly by the simple virtue of being virtual reality and not, well, reality.
Dr. Zor is bound to succeed quite often as well, as each level presents you with a series of trial and error puzzles that you have to overcome. It feels like there are innumerable ways to die in this game, whether it’s failing to figure out and solve a puzzle in time or your own missteps leading to a sudden and explosive end. On one occasion, I found myself rushing to a dead end of death and failure as I struggled to get my head around the situation I was in, but thankfully, it rarely feels like a chore because of the charming pastiche of Britishness and the inherent silliness of the scenarios.
A seated experience, this is best played with a pair of Move controllers for your two independent hands, but interacting with items in the world is a little different from the conventions established by other games. To pick up an item within reach, you have to pull the trigger, but this doesn’t lock the item in your grip, and as soon as you let go, it drops to the floor. What this means is that, in order to fire a gun, you’re holding with the trigger and then fire with the Move button. That feels back to front initially, but you get used to it.
The reason for this is that you can also interact with items further away from you with telekinetic powers. You need to be able to use the other face buttons on the controller to bring items closer to you, send them further away or have them hovering in midair, which is particularly useful when you pick up an item that you need to refer to on the fly.
Playing on DualShock 4, it’s more focussed around where you’re looking as opposed to where you’re pointing. The telekinesis pointer is always viewable, while the analogue sticks help you to manipulate objects. It doesn’t feel quite as fluid as playing with Move, and you don’t need to move the DualShock 4 from your lap, but it gets the job done.
The one real complaint is that it’s all over too soon. Each of the four levels give you some room to play in, but instead of being madcap fully interactive sandboxes, most things you can interact with have a purpose for the mission as a whole. Once you figure out the puzzle, you can easily speed run them in a couple of minutes each, and there’s only a minimal amount of replay value as a consequence.
You’ll be finished in maybe an hour and a half, depending on how much you struggle with the puzzles, with only a handful of quirky joke objectives in each mission and developer commentary bubbles to tempt you back. Even padding it out with a couple of shooting galleries or taking them same scenarios and remixing them with different jokes and things to do would give more reasons to dip back in.
That said, it’s a stylishly put together game and a delightful pastiche of the good old British Secret Service. As the title suggests, it lampoons classic Bond films, all the way down to the excellent title sequence and faux-Bond song reinforcing time and again the game’s expectations of your longevity.
Putting you into cunning espionage themed escape rooms, I Expect You To Die is a fun VR puzzler with a charming sense of humour and dozens of ways to die. Sadly, there’s only a handful missions to take on, making this yet another VR game that’s over before it’s had a chance to really get started.
Version tested: PlayStation VR