Cognition, An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 2 - The
It's that time again. What time, you say? Time to play as a fiery
redheaded FBI agent from Boston who uses post-cognition powers to solve
crime. No doubt about it, Cognition: Episode 2 must be... an Erica Reed
Okay, so maybe Erica Reed isn't yet a household name. We can't all start
at the top, and Erica hopes to climb the ladder of successful
point-and-click adventure heroines with this, the second in an episodic
adventure series bearing her name. In case you haven't been keeping tabs
on the indie adventure releases this past year, here's a recap: The
first in the Cognition series, entitled "The Hangman", was released
around Halloween of this past year and featured a pretty classic
point-and-click style adventure. Of course, every adventure has to have
a twist, and Cognition's is the ability to "see" the past through
objects in the environment where a crime took place. Think The Dead
Zone, but give Christopher Walken a Boston accent and hair like a fire
The first episode was no blockbuster, but it had the makings of a good
series. Now that episode 2, entitled "The Wise Monkey" has been
released, we can see whether Phoenix Online Studios is stepping up their
game as the story unfolds. One interesting and unique thing going for
the Cognition series is the look - cel-shaded characters in 3D paired
with digitally painted backgrounds is actually pretty neat in the best
circumstances, but close-up views during dialogue don't look so hot.
That's generally forgivable in this genre, though, where the most
important factor is: story.
So how does the story measure up? All I can say is that if you liked The
Hangman's story, you'll like the continuation. Cognition's character
development can be a little awkward at times but Erica and friends are
likeable in their own way and miniature dramas interweave between the
action as you progress. The Wise Monkey keeps the gritty, "anything can
happen" tone of The Hangman, so points for consistency. The game does
feel like part of a series rather than its own standalone tale, so I
would definitely reccommend playing the first episode before jumping
into Part 2. The occasional puzzles throughout the game are added into
the story somewhat plausibly, but of course a certain degree of
disbelief should be suspended. If you like crime-solving dramas, you'll
probably get by just fine. For some, the addition of slight supernatural
elements certainly doesn't hurt.
Some of Cognition's pros: A decent story, cool puzzles, unique
"post-cognition" gameplay mechanics, appropriate, moody tunes, and solid
visuals. Sticking to the classic point-and-click interface was a good
...And then the cons: Unnecessary, boring animations. Sometimes you're
watching a character slowly saunter across the room without any
particular reason. The voice-acting is also pretty substandard in a few
areas (and I'm no snob!).
Overall, Cognition offers a better-than-decent adventure with a few
innovations marred by an equal number of blemishes. Love crime drama and
solving the case? I say go for Cognition. But if you don't play
adventures very often and are looking for a big winner, skip it.
- Josh Waters
awkward at times thanks to long loading and unnecessary animations, the
latter of which seems to have gotten worse for this installment.
surface, the graphics seem fairly impressive but the odd combination of
3D and digital painting isn't amazing.
are the highlight of this category, setting the mood pretty well for
each scene. Unfortunately, the voice acting is spotty at best.
pretty decent value provided you buy the entire series, but the
individual price per episode isn't quite worth it.
others of the adventure genre, Cognition Episode 2 is pretty average. It
serves as a solid continuation of the Cognition story, but if anything
it offers just a little less than the first installment.