hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

MYSTERY!

Review: Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller - Episode 2

Mar 26 // Fraser Brown
Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller - The Wise Monkey (iOS, PC [Reviewed])Developer: Phoenix Online StudiosPublisher: Phoenix Online StudiosReleased: January 30, 2013MSRP: $9.99 ($29.99 for all episodes) Still reeling from her showdown in Boston's Old Meeting House, Erica is not given a moment of respite. Minutes after The Wise Monkey begins, her colleague and romantic interest, Sully, is brutalized and kidnapped right in front of her eyes, the latest victim of The Wise Monkey serial killer. While the many unanswered questions over her brother's murder and the events of the day before still fill Erica's mind, her main concern in The Wise Monkey is the rescue of Sully, and she has a new boss -- an intolerable man in an appalling pastel blue suit -- breathing down her neck. There's no timer counting down to Sully's demise, but the personal nature of the investigation, as well as the fact that it appears as if nobody else is doing anything about it gives agency to the adventure. It's quite a bit shorter than the previous episode, but it's also more focused. During much of The Hangman, Erica was dealing with the dramatic shift in her abilities, and there was a large amount of exposition -- this time it's all about taking down a serial killer. Erica's new boss, McAdams, is a bit of a shit, but he makes it clear that rescuing Sully should be a top priority for everyone. So, it's a tad strange that Erica has no back-up or aid whatsoever. In fact, the two times she needs help from the FBI, she has to break the rules, potentially losing her job, when she is pretty much ignored. Even her mentor and sometimes partner, John, is of absolutely no help. In fact, the fat, donut-gobbling fellow spends the entirety of the game sitting at his desk. It's an odd shift from the previous game, where Erica spends quite a bit of time working out the case with her colleagues, each time getting a new puzzle to solve in return for their assistance. Barely any of the characters established in The Hangman get more than one short bit of dialogue, actually. Erica's IT buddy doesn't even feature at all, his desk sitting empty with a sign saying "AFK." I found most of the characters to be two-dimensional at best, so I had hoped to see them fleshed out a bit more this time. I guess making them completely unimportant barring Rose, Erica's psychic mentor, and Cordellia, her comrade in misery -- and even they get only the smallest of roles -- is one way to solve that problem. The upside is that this forces Erica to be something of a lone hero, a role she handles with aplomb. Her dialogue and Raleigh Holmes's performance makes up for the lack of other interesting characters quite a bit, and Erica spends much of the game in a believably frustrated state. She clearly doesn't have time for bullshit, and when she's not getting angry at suspects, she's making sarcastic remarks about some of the idiots she has to deal with. A particularly memorable scene sees Erica interviewing the ex-roommate of a suspect, who unfortunately happens to be an irritating new-age forgetful ditz and tarot fan. A lot of the scene is played for laughs, and it may have felt tonally out of place in a thriller if it wasn't for Erica's obviously thinning patience, having to put up with this idiot when she has a friend to rescue.   One of The Wise Monkey's most obvious improvements are the puzzles, which I found hit or miss in the first episode. Erica's cognition abilities are far more prominent, and they make for the most intriguing head-scratchers. On top of the abilities she uses in The Hangman -- all of which return -- she gains a new power where she is able to see the past via interacting with multiple inventory objects. It's put to good use over the course of the game, and gives greater meaning to some of the items she picks up. Outside of the cognition puzzles, everything else is logical, though not without some degree of challenge. I confess I was stumped for a wee while a couple of times, and not due to unnecessary obfuscation. My only real complaint in regards to this aspect is the not-insubstantial amount of backtracking, with several puzzles running across multiple scenes, and some areas being used with quite a bit of frequency, leading to them outstaying their welcome. The case itself is a grisly investigation, with the victims' corpses being horribly desecrated, and one with far more compelling twists and turns than its predecessor's. Its climax will undoubtedly leave some unsatisfied, however, although I suspect it will be a matter of taste, as Cognition episodes seem to revel in cliffhangers and creating more questions.  Though The Wise Monkey is not all it could have been, it's a strong second episode. Much of it, however, felt almost like filler. The murder of Erica's brother and The Hangman case remain effectively untouched throughout most of this installment, and it does worry me that it has now set up even more mysteries while answering absolutely nothing. I don't doubt that it will all tie together somehow, but Cognition throws so few bones to the player that even the enjoyment of speculation is fruitless. 
Cognition episode 2 photo
A gruesome second outing
The coffee in Boston's FBI offices must be a really special kind of black sludge, capable of turning ordinary investigators into relentless machines. Or maybe Special Agent Erica Reed has just transcended the need for rest or...

New mystery car game photo
New mystery car game

This mystery game 'might' be a new Destruction Derby


A return to a once glorious franchise?
Feb 23
// Chris Carter
You're going to need a little context for this one, so here's a brief history lesson on the destruction derby genre. In 1995, Reflections Interactive began work on a franchise for Sony called Destruction Derby. Thi...
The Ship video photo
The Ship video

Criken's Quickies takes a humorous look at The Ship


The indie "whodunit" PC game explored
Feb 11
// Chris Carter
Although the indie PC game The Ship had a myriad of technical issues, the fact remains that it was still good fun with the right group of people. As a whodunit experience, The Ship tasked players with avoiding one mystery ki...
 photo

The Phantom Pain trailer gets an 'Alternative Version'


What are you up to, Joakim Mogren?
Dec 21
// Jordan Devore
Well, that's two more times I've had to watch the trailer for The Phantom Pain, a game announced by Moby Dick Studio at the 2012 Spike VGAs that may or may not be Metal Gear Solid V or connected to the franchise in some curr...
 photo

Can Pop-Fiction finally uncover the Mega Man 9 'secret'?


Capcom's most annoyingly elusive mystery
Oct 21
// Tony Ponce
I don't know why I don't share GameTrailers' Pop-Fiction more often. That show is great! It's been just over four years since the Blue Bomber returned to his 8-bit roots in Mega Man 9. And though game masters have torn every...
 photo

Is Square counting down to World Ends with You sequel?


Aug 20
// Jim Sterling
[Update: By setting your computer's clock forward, you can reveal more information on the countdown. Changing music and the gradual reveal of the city have practically confirmed something TWEWY-related. The last two days of t...
 photo

Club Nintendo now offering mystery boxes


Apr 25
// Chris Carter
Remember all those "mystery toy" lines in the 90s, where you'd buy unknown capsules that would sometimes dissolve in water? Many toy manufactures are still making them actually, preying on our child-like sense of curiosity --...
 photo

Even more hints of a The World Ends with You sequel


Apr 21
// Tony Ponce
Even since we learned that The World Ends with You characters would be appearing in Kingdom Hearts 3D, rumors have been swirling that a sequel to the sleeper DS hit is just around the corner. We still don't have any confirmat...
 photo

Valve recruitment ad points to hardware plans


Apr 13
// Jim Sterling
Valve is recruiting, but it's not just looking for a few extra bodies. According to its job listings page, the company wants hardware boffins to help create brand new gaming experiences. Those adamant that Valve is working on...
 photo

Just Add Water teases Hand of Odd, which is great!


Apr 12
// Jim Sterling
I remember first reading about Hand of Odd, way back in my school days. A simulation game set in the Oddworld universe, it had only promises to deliver until it was postponed in 2004. Last year, Just Add Water confirmed it wo...
 photo

Discovery Project is a thing about things with things


Mar 09
// Jim Sterling
Here's another mysterious PS Vita announcement for you to ruminate on. It's called Discovery Project and it's about ... something.  Kadokawa Games joined forces with Sony to tease this mysterious project, which seems to...
 photo

Mega Man creator working on 'amazing' PS Vita game


Mar 09
// Jim Sterling
While most of the Vita's "announcements" today have been fairly unimpressive, there has at least been one intriguing tease. It comes courtesy of Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune, who revealed he's working on something "am...
 photo

Testament of Sherlock Holmes vid has a lovely ambiguity


Dec 21
// Conrad Zimmerman
I love a good mystery and, as a result, I'm a big fan of Sherlock Holmes stories. I haven't played a game yet which I felt did a truly great job of putting me into a Holmes mystery, but The Testament of Sherlock Holmes ...
 photo

Atlus' next game's title starts with a 'G'


Dec 13
// Josh Tolentino
And that's about all they've revealed about it so far. G-reat. They've also G-amely invited us, and any one of you g-oons out there who g-ives a poop about Atlus' next g-ame, to try to g-uess, as they drop more clu...
 photo

Valve begins hyping something (HALF-LIFE 3 CONFIRMED OMG)


Dec 12
// Jim Sterling
This past Saturday, Valve released a video featuring Portal 2 antagonist Wheatley. Unsurprisingly, the Internet descended upon it with icepicks and magnifying glasses, ready to take it apart and examine every frame for clues ...
 photo

'Unbelievable' PS3 exclusive teased as 'The Last of Us'


Dec 05
// Jim Sterling
Sony has a PS3 exclusive in the works that, apparently, we "will not believe." It's due for unveiling at the Spike Videogame Awards on Saturday, but we've been given a little taste today, courtesy of a teaser site called The...
 photo

L.A. Noire director's next game is Whore of the Orient


Nov 28
// Jim Sterling
L.A. Noire writer/director Brendan McNamara is getting back on the saddle following Team Bondi's demise, putting together a brand new game with a rather flavorful title. It's called Whore of the Orient, and word of its d...
 photo

Green Man Gaming pulls EA games from shelves


Oct 08
// Jim Sterling
Digital distributor Green Man Gaming has yanked Electronic Arts games from its virtual store shelves around the world, except for the United Kingdom. It is the second service to do this, with games controversially disappearin...
 photo

Square Enix removes memory card requirement from Vita box


Sep 30
// Jim Sterling
[Update: Square Enix has indeed confirmed that Army Corps won't demand a memory card, so the conspiracy theories can be laid to rest. However, the fact that a "Memory Card required" logo still exists is what really unsettles ...
 photo

A new Sony video has popped up on Youtube and sparked an avalanche of rudderless speculation from rabid fans. The live-action trailer contains elements of various videogames, including LittleBigPlanet, Metal Gear Solid and T...

 photo

I Am Alive spotted in the wild via ESRB rating


Sep 26
// Jim Sterling
Ubisoft's I Am Alive looked all set to join Sadness as the next big game that was never going to happen, but an ESRB content summary has been recently spotted that seems to say otherwise. We've had a few tips pointing it out ...
 photo

Sufferrosa is an 'experimental storytelling project'


Sep 11
// Tony Ponce
Do you like Choose Your Own Adventure books? Do you like pompous foreign art experiments? Were Sega CD FMV games the highlight of the 16-bit era for you? Then you are gonna love Sufferrosa! From director Dawid Marcinkowski of...
 photo

Warhammer 40K: Space Marine disappears from UK Steam


Sep 09
// Jim Sterling
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is on sale in the United Kingdom today, but those looking to get the game on Steam will notice that it's suddenly not on the storefront. The game recently blipped out of existence, and nobody's ...
 photo

Have more Sherlock Holmes screenshots


Aug 30
// Victoria Medina
Round two of the Testament of Sherlock Holmes screenshots are in and the game still looks good. The Testament finds the detective unable to solve a crime that paints him as the main suspect. As he begins to look more guilty h...
 photo

Namco x Tecmo is a thing, but what kind of thing?


Aug 29
// Nick Chester
A website has been launched teasing an apparent Namco Bandai and Tecmo Koei partnership. But what could it be? The site displays the words "Namco Bandai Games Inc x Tecmo Koei Games Co Limited," with a countdown clock pointin...
 photo

Team Meat teases next game with sai, boxes, trolls, cats


Jul 26
// Jim Sterling
Oh, Team Meat, you wacky pair of pricks!
 photo

GameTrailers tackles the Triforce myth in Ocarina of Time


Jul 03
// Tony Ponce
I bought The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D despite not yet owning a 3DS. I just wanted that soundtrack so badly. Does that make me a whore? I think that makes me a whore. Anyway, here's another video to satisfy your Ze...
 photo

'GoldenEye Reloaded' domains spotted in the wild


Jun 27
// Jim Sterling
A bunch of domains have been found for GoldenEye Reloaded, with common opinion suggesting that a port of last year's Wii re-release could be on the way to systems such as Xbox 360 and PS3.  No real details outside of the...
 photo

E3: Test Subjects Needed (Update)


Jun 11
// Jim Sterling
[Update: Current theories suggest that this is either a promotion for The Dark Knight Rises or chewing gum. If I'd have known that at the time, I'd have shoved the envelope in the face of that polite young Asian lady.] During...
 photo

Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team outed by rating board


May 31
// Jim Sterling
THQ is hard at work pimping Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, but according to Australia's OFLC ratings board, there's yet another game brewing -- Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team.  THQ Digital Studios UK is apparently working ...

  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter?
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -