Cognition, An Erica Reed Thriller - Episode 2 The Wise Monkey Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Cognition, An Erica Reed Thriller - Episode 2 The Wise Monkey
Reviewed by
Josh Waters
on
Cognition, An Erica Reed Thriller - Episode 2 The Wise Monkey Compared to 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.
Rating:
3.0

Gameplay 6.0
Graphics 6.0
Sound 6.0
Value 6.0
Developer: Phoenix Online
Review date:
Feb 2013
Reviewer:
Josh Waters

6.0


Cognition, An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 2 - The Wise Monkey

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 thriller! 

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 truck. 

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 move too. 

...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 

Gameplay: 6

A little awkward at times thanks to long loading and unnecessary animations, the latter of which seems to have gotten worse for this installment.

Graphics: 6

On the surface, the graphics seem fairly impressive but the odd combination of 3D and digital painting isn't amazing.

Sound: 6

The tunes are the highlight of this category, setting the mood pretty well for each scene. Unfortunately, the voice acting is spotty at best.

Value: 6

It's a pretty decent value provided you buy the entire series, but the individual price per episode isn't quite worth it.

Overall: 6

Compared to 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.






 
 



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