Schell Games has a knack for making deeply intuitive VR games, with its spy series standing out across the gaming medium, and I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine further cements its place in the escape room genre. It’s by far the most fun I’ve had in virtual reality, featuring smartly designed and layered puzzles, and gorgeous visuals that consistently impressed me throughout my time with it. If you’re a fan of the series or want to dive in for the first time, you are in for a treat. It is time to embody Agent Phoenix once again.
Although its story isn’t the main focus in I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine, it’s still rather cool. Zoraxis continues to be a thorn in your side, and this time it’s working with former agency inventor Dr. Prism. Imagine if Q went rogue and formed an alliance with Spectre. Knowing James Bond inside and out, working against him in some global scheme…it would be pretty terrifying (note to self: contact Barbara Broccoli about future 007 movie plot). That is exactly what has happened in this game, as Prism feels she can create a much better agent, albeit robotic, and funded by the enemy.
After one of the most impressive openings to any video game ever, you’re thrust into the world of espionage once again. If the theme song doesn’t get stuck in your head or your mouth isn’t flung open the moment it begins, I’ll be surprised. Props to Schell for the amount of work that has gone into the Bond-inspired intro because it really is a work of art. Of course, the super spy that is I won’t be distracted by pretty lights in the face of what’s important, however, the game is damn fantastic, and there’s not a lot I wasn’t a fan of.
The level of detail put into the puzzles in I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine is impressive. While the series is known for its layered approach to these puzzles, it goes a step further and offers different ways to solve them. It’s hard to talk about them without spoiling, but some are much more bombastic than before, putting the pressure on in squeaky bum time sections like in the front seat of a moving car. Death will likely find you, and it might seem frustrating at first, but it’s quite easy to get back to where you were.
Some puzzles take time, and you have to think about what your next step will be. The game isn’t particularly long, but having complex sections adds to how long they take to complete. It was never outright difficult, however, there were a few times where I did take some time to know exactly what I had to do, as you’re dropped into a situation without any help. Thankfully the controls are pretty responsive, and a lot of the environment can be interacted with. You can use telekinesis to pick up objects from afar and bring them closer, as well as freezing them in the air.
In the first puzzle, I ended up with multiple cocktail menus in front of me hanging in mid air as I concocted them with a nearby shaker. There are various collectibles to find, such as mini robots, and while not tucked away behind complex labyrinths of walls and chambers, you will need to look everywhere and explore everything if you want to find them. I Expect You To Die 3 is enjoyable from start to finish, and the way Schell Games has continued to build and improve on the series’ 60s spy aesthetic and clever puzzles impressed me more than any other VR series out there.
I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine is a wonderfully designed puzzler that puts you into the shoes of Agent Phoenix once again, with puzzles that are layered and interesting. The graphics are impressive, and the level of detail in each location goes a step further than the previous entries in the series. With a great intro, some stellar voice work, and style of Bond-like proportions everywhere you look, it never disappoints, unless you die, but hey, that’s on you!
Gorgeous 60s spy aesthetic
Failure may frustrate
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