Schell Games today announced that its long-awaited follow-up to I Expect You to Die (2016) is set to launch on all major VR headsets August 24th. The spy-themed puzzler is already looking like a worthy sequel, offering fun and interesting ways to die, plenty of easter eggs, and a story that would be the envy of any would-be writer of a James Bond film.
I Expect You to Die is one of those early VR titles that seemed to have figured out the formula. It was popular when it first came to PC VR headsets in 2016, and it consistently ranks in the top 20 paid Oculus Quest apps to this day.
While there’s been plenty of DLC along the way to keep players coming back for more, I’d say the reason it continues to impress newcomers is owed to its clever puzzle design, fun and unexpected deaths, and a truly superb level of world building that really brings the game’s spy-themed universe to life. Not only that, but all of it’s done from the seated position, which is a sort of unique bottleneck that forces the game to always serve up something new and surprising—typically in the form of a deadly gadget or unexpected plot twist.
Now, nearly a month out from launch, we’ve gone hands-on with I Expect You to Die 2: The Spy and the Liar both through its publicly available demo and a sneak peek at the first three levels too. I can’t say too much beyond what you can figure out from the demo—no spoilers here about the story or any specific puzzles—but it’s safe to say it’s really shaping up to follow in the original’s footsteps.
The sequel’s first three levels are strong openers to what I can only assume will be another twisty-turny, back-stabby adventure. It’s got six missions in total, but also includes speed run and souvenir card systems for the sake of replay value.
So far the first half of the game has been chocked full of interesting spy gadgetry and interactive objects, which oftentimes are more than meets the eye. Oh, and Star Trek TNG’s Wil Wheaton voices a guy. He may be more than meets the eye too… Wheaton, that is. I said I wouldn’t spoil anything.
Like the first game, you’ll need to fish around for clues but also tread lightly as to not inadvertently die by drinking something poisonous, running out of breathable air, or being sliced in half by a casual laser beam or two. You’ll need to get creative and use your brain to solve multi-step puzzles, sometimes accomplished in more than one way, and really truly try not to explode yourself.
I played on Quest 2, and it’s clear the studio is at home developing for the standalone format. Set pieces are well realized, and frankly look better than many PC VR games I’ve played in the past.
I’ll be saving the rest of my thoughts for when the full game comes out on all major VR headset on August 24th, where it will be priced at $25. Schell Games is putting out pre-orders on a few platforms starting today, which brings the game to a 10% discount for Oculus Quest and PlayStation VR. Anyway, make sure to check back then for our full impressions next month.