I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine review — Wound too tight

In the fight against Zoraxis, Agent Phoenix (that’s you) is The Agency’s best asset. Phoenix’s latest job is to investigate Dr. Prism, the genius behind the Telekinesis implant, after her departure from The Agency following the failure of her Robot Agent project. Ensuring her safety and preventing her from leaking intel to Zoraxis is top priority in your upcoming missions. Godspeed, agent.

While I haven’t played the series up until now, I Expect You To Die represents my ideal VR experience. Something relatively stationary that lets you solve puzzles, interact with the environment, and is able to be played in smaller sessions. Cog in the Machine is all of these things, but it also has a few glaring annoyances that can get in the way of the fun.

I Expect You to Die 3 Gameplay - Quest 2 [GamingTrend]

I Expect You To Die puts you in the spy gloves of Agent Phoenix, with the ability to use your TK powers to move objects around and complete each level’s objective. In one mission you might be mixing a cocktail to counteract poison, while another will have you speeding along a highway trying to disable a truck carrying some dangerous Kinesium for Zor. It’s all wonderfully tactile in a way that you simply couldn’t achieve outside of VR, while still erring on the side of convenience over realism as opposed to something like Bonelabs. If you accidentally toss some important papers out of sight, you can easily TK them through another object. You can even wear hats, change your gloves, eat doughnuts, and smoke a cigar.

I never found myself getting inordinately uncomfortable in any of the six levels, even the driving one. I only experience the normal amount of VR sickness, but there are additional comfort options for those who need them like motion comfort tunneling, toggling controller haptics, and even removing elements from each mission like the moving highway. It’s not a huge suite of options, but that last one is incredibly impressive in the way it tailors each mission to be just a tad more comfortable.

As for the missions themselves, they require a lot of creative problem solving and out of the box thinking in addition to thoroughly searching the environment for clues and tools. It can take a while to figure out what you can and can’t interact with, for example in the first mission I only realized the robot butler (Robutler) had a key I could grab by reading a walkthrough. That’s mostly because he’s farther away than most things and the resolution is low enough to not see it, but this is the most egregious example. Most other levels only take about 10 minutes to figure out what you can do, then another 10 to finish everything, with target times for every level being around 9 minutes if you want to speedrun.

The thing that makes IEYTD3 take much longer than it should is the hefty amount of trial and error. There are a ton of ways to die in the game, as it says on the tin, but dying will send you back to the very start of the mission even if you were just trying to figure out the boss. The first level is still the worst of this, with a ton of steps in between you and even attempting the boss again, and it was the only level I needed a walkthrough for (the website actually has a nice hint system ala Universal Hint System), but the lack of checkpoints is still frustrating. Death is often sudden and instantaneous with a single mistake sending you way back. Levels are supposed to be replayable, with optional objectives and hidden collectables, but I would rather replay them on my terms rather than being forced to. I don’t think death should be removed entirely from the games, some of them are very funny and the possibility adds tension, but a few optional checkpoints would be appreciated.

Speaking of hilarity, these games don’t take themselves too seriously and have some excellent voice talent. Dr. Prism is voiced by Daisy Lightfoot, who does a wonderful job of being intimidating yet sympathetic. The Handler, your somewhat competent and delightfully British narrator, is once again portrayed by Jared Mason. Finally, all the robots are played by Luis Bermudez, who has some great comedic timing and delivery. The dialogue can get grating at times, but that’s because of the repetition and has nothing to do with the performances.

I also need to mention the music. While the opening sequence and song are the big standout (and worth playing the game just for that), the rest of the soundtrack hits that perfect tone of secret spy action. It just makes you feel cool, even if at the moment you’re putting a coin in one of those machines that stretches them out to put a neat pattern on it.

David is the kind of person to wear his heart on his sleeve. He can find positives in anything, like this is a person who loved Star Fox Zero to death. You’ll see him playing all kinds of games: AAAs, Indies, game jam games, games of all genres, and writing about them! Here. On this website. When not writing or playing games, you can find David making music, games, or enjoying a good book.
David’s favorite games include NieR: Automata, Mother 3, and Gravity Rush.

I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine review — Wound too tight


I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine

Review Guidelines

I Expect You To Die 3: Cog in the Machine is a great VR experience. It’s incredibly tactile while still remaining convenient and easy to play. However, having to repeat the same parts of levels over and over to progress can get very frustrating.

David Flynn

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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