Wednesday 26 July 2017

Games: Step into shoes of a super-spy

I Expect You To Die, (PSVR/PC), 5 Stars, Age: 12+

I Expect You To Die
I Expect You To Die
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

"Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!" snarls Goldfinger triumphantly in the 1964 film, only for 007 to save himself with some quick thinking just moments later.

From this kernel of super-spy inspiration, developer Schell Games spins a clever twist on the scenario in virtual reality with IEYTD. Each mission plonks you into a dangerous slice of espionage, such as infiltrating a lab, stealing a car (from a plane!) or escaping a failing submarine.

Your goal is to manipulate the real-world objects around you - and in virtual reality there's a delicious physicality to tasks such as unscrewing a hidden panel, disarming a bomb or mixing a chemical cocktail. With each mission played in a seated position, Schell smartly enables you to manoeuvre objects from afar by telekinesis instead of reaching awkwardly in virtual space.

The VR setting disguises the fact the puzzles are just simple variants of familiar locked-room brain teasers. But coupled with the archly delivered narration, a superb Saul Bass-inspired title sequence and occasional flashes of humour, IEYTD proves an amusing, if brief (just four missions), adventure as a super-spy.

Rock Band Rivals, (XO/PS4), 4 Stars, Age: 16+

In the battle of the plastic instruments, Rock Band looks to have outlived long-time rival Guitar Hero. That's probably to do with RB's series of free updates that have tightened and improved the rhythm action.

Now here comes the first paid expansion in the form of Rivals. Surprisingly, even frustratingly, it incorporates no new songs. Instead, it adds just two core modes - socially oriented multiplayer and a rags-to-riches tour.

The former enables "crews" of up to 10 players to play alone or together to rack up competitive scores in a global league. The latter intersperses genuinely amusing live-action mockumentary interviews with a series of gigs.

Both prove interesting additions - one for the hardcore, one for casuals - but you pay a stiff price for such thinly spread extra content. The much-promised online multiplayer option is still missing, too.

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