Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 3 Review: Improving Upon Its Predecessors

Here’s something I haven’t seen in some time: An episodic point & click adventure game that isn’t from Telltale Games.

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller from Phoenix Online Studios is a four-episode adventure game series starring the titular Erica Reed as an FBI agent haunted by the death of her younger brother. She develops some psychic abilities that let her look into the past during the first episode The Hangman and the player would use those powers during the game to investigate and progress through the game.  The story felt like prime time TV crime drama but worked. What didn’t work so well were the excessive tutorials that got in the way of the story. The second episode The Wise Monkey figured you were already familiar with Erica’s powers so it cut you loose a lot faster so it could introduce you to the many characters of the story. While the story remains good, the voice acting conveyed extreme negative aspects of the characters–aka it was downright annoying.

At the very least, the third episode of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller titled The Oracle has learned the mistakes from the previous two episodes and is now paving its way into being an excellent point & click adventure as it picks up from the bloody finale of The Wise Monkey. This time the focus is on Erica Reed’s powers as she backtracks through the past to piece together the events of the present.

There are four different events that somehow tie together and finding out how is the challenge to getting through this episode. Occasionally the challenge ramps to impossible when you have the  solution to a puzzle that you can’t solve yet because the timing isn’t right so you leave it in the back of your mind until the right time. But then you forgot about that solution when the right time comes and now you have to rely on the vague hints sprinkled around the area.

So while the gameplay may need some more tweaking before the last episode The Cain Killer, the story, characters, and visuals keep me engaged in The Oracle enough to finish the episode and play it again with 20/20 hindsight. You may need to have a feel of the previous two episodes, but Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is worth playing if only to appreciate good story and good old point & click adventure gaming.