Review Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 2

 Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Continues with Episode 2: The Wise Monkey

Phoenix Online Studios released Episode 2 of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller on January 30th, 2012 .  It continues the tale of FBI detective Erica Reed, who has cognitive powers.  Through point and click game play on your PC, you help Erica Reed solve the case of the Wise Monkey and hopefully rescue her partner, Sully.

Play Episode 1 First

Cognition An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 2 - all that gaming stuffThe game takes off immediately where Episode 1: The Hangman ended.  You should finish Episode 1 first.  Otherwise, there are MANY spoilers in the first five minutes of the game. If you haven’t played before, note that there are NO tutorials in Episode 2.  You’re going to take a lot of clicking around to try and figure out the game. You’ll also be missing all of the background on the characters, Erica’s history, her cognitive powers, etc.  There are also a few cases where your character will be asked for information learned during the first episode.  I strongly recommend playing Episode 1 before Episode 2.   Also note that, like Episode 1, this is NOT a children’s game.  There is murder, mutilation, and cursing in the first few minutes.

I still strongly enjoy the way Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is drawn and textured.  While Erica’s hair appeared to grow between episodes, the rest of the game contains the same gritty, old-school comic book style that fits a murder mystery perfectly.  I mentioned in my review of Episode 1 that some of the animation and graphics seemed clunky.  There are still examples of empty pixels (especially around the edges of the characters’ faces) and other misses. It seems better than Episode 1, though.  There is less “moonwalking.” It appears that the characters finally managed to find some gravity in Boston.  There did seem to be more examples of objects not being grasped. Every time Erica adds something to her inventory by placing it in her jacket she looks like a magician – no bulges can be seen and her jacket never appears to be full.

Cognition An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 2 - all that gaming stuff

Game Pacing

Episode 2 moved along much faster than Episode 1.  Part of this was understanding how the game play worked, and having an idea of what was coming next.  But the story also seems more compelling. There are more characters to meet and talk to, and less “running around” in Boston, trying to find various pieces to solve the mini-puzzles within the game.  I believe the developers took a bit more time and care this time around. The order of where to go also seemed more obvious this time around. The characters’ dialogue and Erica Reed’s internal monologue offers clues on where to go next.  And, as before, if you get stuck you can always use your cell phone to call Erica’s dad for hints.

Watch Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 2 “The Wise Monkey” Trailer:

Cognition is currently available for sale from the developers directly at the Cognition Game Store.  You can find additional places to purchase the game here.  The first two episodes of four, “The Hangman” and “The Wise Monkey,” are available for download for $9.99 each.  A Season Pass, which includes all four episodes upon release plus the digital comic, is $29.99.

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