The years leading up to the release of I Expect You To Die were full of promise. With VR being so new, developers jumped at any chance to prove that their games could be more than just tech demos for the latest hardware. Players wanted something not only interesting but also engaging and most importantly, fun.
The road was not easy though. There were plenty of games that felt more like experiments than actual products.
Many things have happened since then, and the virtual reality scene has changed a lot. Many titles have come out since then, all vying for players’ dollars. New headsets are being introduced by major companies every day, with the Quest releasing recently to widespread acclaim. And while it’s still early days (and nobody can really predict what’s next), I Expect You To Die is no longer the only game in town. It is, however, still one of the most engaging titles on any VR platform.
I’ve played it before for PC and PSVR, but never had the chance to try it on Oculus Quest (which I finally got at the Oculus Connect event). I was eager to see how it would work, and if the shifting control schemes would be a problem.
Surprisingly enough, I was pleasantly surprised. The controls worked even better than expected on the Quest, with every teleportation shift feeling smooth and natural. This made exploring all of its layers much easier and more fun. I was really impressed by how well the game played, and that’s something I wasn’t expecting at all.
The Quest also showed that it can handle a lot of things better than other platforms, like PC and PSVR. For example, there were no loading screens when changing between areas (which is possible in some levels), which made everything feel like one cohesive experience. Some levels also looked much better than others (which is something that was already noticeable on other platforms).
The main benefit of playing it on Quest, though, is how available it becomes. Having the game always available in the living room makes it way more accessible than trying to find a compatible PC, hook it up to the TV and all of that hassle.
While at first glance everything seems pretty straightforward, the more you play the more layers you discover. The puzzles start out as relatively simple tasks, but they get way harder as time goes by. You’ll later be tasked with hacking computers and doing some really complicated stuff in order to beat the game.
There’s also an extra layer of difficulty because of how you control things. To avoid making the teleportation mechanic feel like a cheap way to move around, the developer made it so that you can’t teleport into any object (unless it has a special marker). It does make moving around more difficult, but it makes sense in the context of the game.
The game itself is split up into 4 different levels (with only 2 available at first), each with its own style and tone. There’s also a pretty big amount of replay value, as there are multiple ways to beat any given level (and some collectables that you can only pick up on certain playthroughs).
There are also some light puzzle/adventure elements to spice up the otherwise straightforward puzzle formula. By interacting with the environment, you can see things that are hidden from your line of sight or hear some information that is important to solving puzzles. These elements are used pretty infrequently though, so don’t expect anything too special.
There is also a hint system available, but it’s of limited use. You can get clues for some puzzles if you get really stuck (which will only happen to the most dedicated players), but they disappear after a certain amount of time. This prevents you from consulting them on your next playthrough and makes the game more challenging -in a good way.
The game also features a nice progression system, where you unlock new masks that do various things. One makes you able to hear all sounds at once (and makes your brain hurt when it happens), while another lets you teleport in the air. These are neat little additions that can help or hinder in different situations, giving players more options on how they want to approach a given puzzle.
At the end of the day, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it played on Oculus Quest. It worked even better than I expected and had no major issues while playing it. It felt like a natural extension to my previous experiences, which isn’t something that can be said for many games today. If you were a fan of the original I Expect You to Die, this sequel is definitely worth checking out. It’s a great experience that builds upon its predecessor’s strengths and is available for an unbeatable price.