Harding. Chris Harding. Hmm. It doesn’t really roll as well as the super suave James Bond, does it? Luckily I’m neither super nor am I suave, but I am a pretty good spy, or at least that’s according to my time with I Expect You To Die. Alright, that’s bollocks. I’m actually awful and I’d be replaced within a day, but damn it I had a blast. And I got blasted. And poisoned. And shot. Basically I’m the anti-Bond. The only job I’d get at MI6 would be as the tea-maker, but even then, I’m not especially good at brewing a brew.
So, what is I Expect You To Die all about? Basically, you’re a spy and it’s your mission to not die. No, really, that’s the main selling point for this game. The missions themselves have goals, but you’ll find yourself dying. Lots. So it’s always your goal to live as long as possible to figure out the solution to the puzzles.
I Expect You To Die is essentially a puzzle game, much like those games where you’re locked in a room and you need to escape, except in this instance you must actively do stuff otherwise you’ll meet a sticky end. Using the PS Move wands (yes, you need two) you’ll tinker around with the game world, concocting explosives, shooting at the occasional bad guy, smoking fat cigars – you know, spy stuff. For the perverts reading this, no, there are no typical scantily clad ladies for you to lay your mitts all over. Each mission starts with a briefing in HQ before you’re placed in the situation and let loose upon it, to varying degrees of disaster.
The first mission had me sat in the driving seat of a fancy car that was in the cargo hold of a huge airplane. My mission: get that car out of the plane, don’t die. I died within about a minute due to the car belonging to some big-time criminal with a taste for the evil things in life. Then I died again. Then I died some more. Each time I died, I laughed a little and learned a little more. The game demands that you die over and over again in order to learn how to escape these lethal situations, and while that may not sound so appealing on paper/screen, it’s actually good fun and there’s a real sense of reward when you finally get the job done.
What isn’t fun is that the game isn’t that long, though the intellectually challenged may find their playtime to be exponentially higher than the average player. There’s only a handful of missions and they can be ploughed through fairly quickly if you’re a bit of a smart arse. My main gripe with I Expect You To Die is that it doesn’t beg to be played again. The graphics are clean enough and the silly voice acting is wonderfully daft in every way, as is the moment-to-moment gameplay, but it’s just not enough to get me to jump back into these deadly scenarios when I know I’ll be able to solve the puzzles by taking a shortcut I learned the first time. Shame, then, but not the end of the world. That being said, you are timed on your missions, so perhaps going for a record time could be fun? Or just beating your old times? Personally, that’s not really for me as the challenge is lost from the outset, but I could see how some may find some value in it.
On the technical side of things, I Expect You To Die is a decent looking game. The game’s world is clean and free of unneccessary clutter with a smoothness that we’ve come to expect from PSVR games. No, it’s not the most detailed game, nor is it a tour-de-force for the PSVR and its capabilities in the graphics department, but it doesn’t really need to be. I never had any issue with making out what anything was, even when I was scrutinising the identity card of a hapless henchman.
Now, the controls. To be fair, I can’t really say much against the game’s controls. It is a little bit of a bother to get used to the telekinesis powers that you wield as a secret agent (yeah, you’re a Jedi/Bond wannabe here) as you can’t freely walk around the game world. Being that you’re stuck in one position at all times, you’ll need to use the Jedi powers to interact with objects that aren’t within reach. It’s a little fussy to begin with as you need to use the face buttons on the PS Move wands to pull objects towards you, push objects away, or even leave them hovering in mid-air for easy access later in the level. I think the main issue with this is that the face buttons are rarely used by games on the PSVR, so trying to remember where each one is can be a little confusing. Still, by the end of my first mission I’d gotten the hang of it pretty well, and I’m guessing the vast majority will, too.
The tracking was never a big issue for me, though playing seating on a sofa did present a few awkward moments where I’d need to reach down and open a drawer, but my hand would be blocked by the very thing I’m sitting on. Not a deal-breaker, just a tad off, though this can be remedied by using the James Bond Force. Strangely, after a few hours of play, I came out of the game and found it weird that things didn’t fly over to me when I raised my arms… My tip: Maybe take a break every so often, lest you lose touch with reality…
I Expect You To Die PS4/PSVR Review
I Expect You To Die is a silly game that doesn't expect you to take it all that seriously, even if it does expect you to die in some pretty nasty ways. I drowned. I suffocated. I got shot. I had my head taken off by a laser beam. I had a bloody good time.
It's just a shame that it's over within a few short hours and that the replay value isn't especially high. Dare I say that I would actually like some DLC for this game? Hell yes.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game that was bought at the cost of the reviewer. This has no effect on the content of the review or the final score awarded.
*Reviewed using a PS4 Slim.
Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella.