FBI agent Erica Reed has an uncanny talent: she can see the past and piece together how a crime unfolded. But not even this sixth sense could save her younger brother, Scott, from a brutal serial killer. Three years later, the investigation into Scott’s murder has gone cold -- but Erica’s work has only just begun.
User reviews:
Very Positive (347 reviews) - 85% of the 347 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 19, 2013

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Buy Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller - Season One + OST Vol 1

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“Greater and more sinister things await us in the following episodes. I can't wait.”

“It is soaked with gloomy style, is gorgeous to look at and listen to, sets up its plot points with great precision, and takes off in the third act as it builds to a huge climax with a disquieting final shot that makes me genuinely eager to play the second episode.”
3.5/5 – Adventure Gamers

“An exciting story, an interesting main character, challenging puzzles, and a grandiose. atmosphere make for me this first episode a worthy spiritual successor of the Gabriel Knight series, which hopefully will be even better with each new episode. Besides The Walking Dead is the best for me so far (serious) Adventure game experience of the year.”
85% – Adventure-Treff

Season One

Order the Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller - Season One to get all four episodes (The Hangman, The Wise Monkey, The Oracle, and The Cain Killer), plus the prequel e-comic, Provenance!

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About This Game

FBI agent Erica Reed has an uncanny talent: she can see the past and piece together how a crime unfolded. But not even this sixth sense could save her younger brother, Scott, from a brutal serial killer. Three years later, the investigation into Scott’s murder has gone cold -- but Erica’s work has only just begun.

Jump into Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller, the exciting four-part series that brings Erica face to face with the deranged demons of her past. A serial killer is loose in Boston -- one who seems to be leaving deliberate clues that only Erica, with her unique post-cognitive abilities, can uncover. Is she finally on her way to solving Scott’s murder? Or, blinded by vengeance, is she falling into a trap that could cost Erica her life? And how does this new killer know her secret?

Winner of six 2013 Reader’s Choice Aggie Awards, including Game of the Year, this edition of Cognition includes everything in the original game, plus brand new director commentary for all 4 episodes and exclusive content including concept art, storyboards, outtakes and other behind-the-scenes material about the development!

Developed by Phoenix Online Studios (makers of the King’s Quest spin-off The Silver Lining), with contributions from veteran game designer Jane Jensen (Gabriel Knight, Gray Matter) and comic book artist Romano Molenaar (Batman, X-Men, The Darkness), Cognition is a thrilling adventure that grips you and won’t let go.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: XP/Vista/7
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI or NVidia with 512 MB RAM**
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: ** - Not recommended for play on Intel systems with integrated/shared video memory
    • OS: XP/Vista/7
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI or NVidia with 1 GB RAM**
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: ** - Not recommended for play on Intel systems with integrated/shared video memory
    • OS: Snow Leopard (10.6.X)
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz*
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI or NVidia with 512 MB RAM**
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: * - For Mac systems, an Intel-based processor is required., ** - Not recommended for play on Intel systems with integrated/shared video memory
    • OS: Snow Leopard (10.6.X)
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz*
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI or NVidia with 1 GB RAM**
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: * - For Mac systems, an Intel-based processor is required., ** - Not recommended for play on Intel systems with integrated/shared video memory
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (347 reviews)
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237 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Recently Posted
13.7 hrs
Posted: September 26
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Resonant Drifter
19.3 hrs
Posted: September 24
With a unique talent to see pieces of the past, Erica Reed must try and solve a series of murders that are personally connected to her and the people around her that she loves. Through four chapters you must use your cunning and special gift to stop the killer, but will you be too late?

  • Excellent storyline that is set up like an episodic TV series
  • Dark atmosphere like a 90s thriller (Profiler, early X-Files, Millenium)
  • Overall very good puzzles with little frustration
  • Really good music/SFX/voicover work (for the most part)
  • Interesting/fleshed out characters

  • Some animations are weird
  • Some pieces of the puzzle aren't obvious
  • Some parts of the story seem dumped on you

Overall, this is a very good point-and-click adventure game. I was very surprised! I loved the whole 90s cop drama atmosphere and interaction with the characters. Over the 4 episodes you really start to feel for the characters as they descend down this path. The puzzles are well done. I didn't have an issue with a puzzle that couldn't be resolved by logic or by coming back at a later time. Well worth it if you like police adventure games!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
28.7 hrs
Posted: September 19
Weak in some parts but lots of fun.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
17.5 hrs
Posted: September 16
Loved this game. Interesting story, unique gameplay that evolves with each game, and good voice acting, especially for the genre.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
2.8 hrs
Posted: September 16
nice game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
5.1 hrs
Posted: September 14
Not without problems, but a must play for adventure game fans.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
12.4 hrs
Posted: September 10
It has a good plot and I got surprised and scared many times. The animation was a bit off for me. One of the characters mouth animation was funky and in the final episode, Erica glitched on me a few times. I grew attached to many of the characters and was sad to what happened to them but I was still happy for the ending. Other then that this is an awesome game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Carlos Danger
5.0 hrs
Posted: September 10
The first couple chapters of this are really well done. The story doesn't hold up in later chapters, whicih also have some weird diversions (Vietnam?), but overall well worth playing through.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Zap Rosdower
5.7 hrs
Posted: September 9
The animations in this game at times are completely ridiculous, and the story kind of falls apart in the later chapters, but I'd still solidly recommend it as a well done point and click adventure game with innovative additions. There are tooo few mystery/horror type P&C games like this around (the two Still Life games two other decent ones).
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
23.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 18
Iam pretty sure i got this game from a bundle, so i dont see whats the point to write a review, my opinion wont be counted, handled as a secondary citizen, but i liked this game so why not?

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is a crime themed point and click game. Some part of the game pretty scary, some very emotional and all of the game very interesting.

The story immense, interesting and you cant stop about thinking what will happen next. Voice acting decent, awesome music, if you own this game you definetly should play this game.

The game has a few issues, game frozen 3 times on episode 1 this issue not came up on other episodes tho. There are graphical issues asswell, related to character bodies but you will forget about these while enjoying the story.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
87 of 98 people (89%) found this review helpful
17.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 29, 2014
You play as Erica Reed, a Boston FBI agent with a deeply troubled past and some supernatural abilities, which are introduced to you throughout the first episode.

Cognition is a traditional point and click adventure game, and it doesn't add too much to the formula. When you click on something, a small radial menu shows up of things you can do with the object, and its context sensitive. You can look at it, use it or grab it, or use your currently equipped inventory item on it. The graphical inventory is on the right side of the screen, and you can not only equip an object, you can also look at it, use it, or combine several objects together.

It definitely has a very mature comic-book feel to it. The cutscenes are delivered in the standard "motion comic" style, with minimal animation - mostly to highlight the important aspects of the scene. The actual gameplay has full cel-shaded environments and characters, complete with mouth movements to accompany the voice acting. The music is also wonderfully done and definitely sets the mood for each scene. The best thing I can say about it is that it didn't get in the way, which is the point for a game like this. It highlights the atmosphere appropriately.

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller may have some clumsy animation, some robotic faces and the occasional instance where the tech and the art don’t quite gel, but it is a hugely competent adventure game in every other regard. One that provides stimulating puzzle mechanics that make perfect sense within its world, and a compelling story that quickly gains momentum and keeps it up until it culminates in a thrilling, memorable finale. That’s categorically what you want from the genre.
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51 of 57 people (89%) found this review helpful
19.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 28, 2014
Cognition is an adult graphic adventure about lost, revenge and fate.

Story is really well done and progresses nicely without feeling forced, most puzzles are logical, all characters are complex and have motivations that you can understand, this is helped by the great voice acting.

The game has a supernatural twist, but it doesn't feel cheesy and works well in the game for the most part, allowing for some very interesting mechanics.

DIfficulty is well balanced except a couple puzzles that might require an effort, but everything is feasible and can be deducted logically, no need for weird guessings. There are a few moments where you can actually die, but it's not frustrating since the game allows for fast retrying.

All 4 episodes are quite good, but the third one is weaker because it focuses on a single location, although it's needed to move the plot further and get ready for the final of the game, so it can be forgiven and it's not bad anyway, just not as good as the other 3 episodes.

The game has a few technical bugs, like the character moving through objects, but none are gamebreaking, just a few little annoyances.

Overall I greatly enjoyed the game and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an adult graphic adventure with an interesting plot.
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41 of 48 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
36.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 30, 2014
Cross between "the mentalist" and the nastiest CSI torture killing episodes you've ever seen.

Steep learning curve on episode 1, fighting with the interface to work out ways to advance the adventure.
Probably most people will give up somewhere along this lengthy episode which is a shame because Episode 2 and 3 are real gems, better than vast majority of adventure games.

This a very long and involved adventure game with challenging puzzles.
I am skilled with this type of game but lost patience several times and consulted walkthrough.

The gore and shock of this series is a seriously over the top and would be quite upsetting and disturbing for most. I struggled not to barf at times. There's one viscious torture killing after another and it gets to be a bit much.

The dialogue and characters are well done for this type of game.
There is a lot of implausible high drama, cliff hangers and twists, perhaps akin to a comic book series.
It does make for an exciting ride.

I liked it, but honestly think only a small subset of gamers would.
* need patience for a very long game with challenging learning curve, interface, and puzzles.
* have unusually strong stomach for truly over the top gore and disturbing content (torture killing)
* appreciate convoluted plots and well written dialogues
* like adventure games with paranormal (psychic) aspects.

Sherlock: jack the ripper might be another good title for fans of this game -- highest quality writing though the game is quite old.
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36 of 41 people (88%) found this review helpful
30.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 9, 2014
This game is a point & click, mystery solving game. Was not sure i was really going to enjoy it, but quickly found myself liking the game.

The voice acting is pretty good. I really liked the characters, especially the main one, which is pretty important in a game.The game is styled like a comic

I found myself getting stumped A LOT. Almost felt like I had to actually be an FBI agent to crack the case. lol. The game does no hold your hand, and what you should do next is not always obvious. The game has a tip system, but it lets those who want to figure things out on their own, do so. The cases are pretty lengthy, more so if you get stuck a lot, like me. The story has small alternate paths. They don't change the story too much, but it's nice to have the small alternate choices

Small negative is that sometimes you have to travel back and forth to the same spots several times in a row, and it gets a bit annoying. Like in the first episode I recall having to go to the antique store, then back to the station, then back to the antique store, then back to the station again.

This game definitely might be flying under a lot of people's radar. I feel it deservers a bit more reCOGNITION.
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35 of 40 people (88%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2013
Cognative dissonance at its finest.

I like the comic book stylings since I'm a comic book kinda guy. Efforts like this are ensuring a resurgence in the genre.
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29 of 31 people (94%) found this review helpful
18.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 30, 2013
Fantastic game. One of the best stories in a video game I've played. Intriguing yet disturbing, and full of tense moments. The closest analog I can think of are the Ace Attorney/Phoenix Wright games. Now imagine those games without the court cases. Now add in much deeper investigation scenes accompanied by extremely cool "cognition" techniques, and you basically have Cognition.

I can not emphasize enough how good the story is. Big budget $60 games struggle to achieve anything close to this. The characters have real emotions and real backstories, and the player will feel for them. Some characters make me want to punch them in the face, others make me tear up inside. Its these bonds that really make the player attached to Erica and her situation.

The story really takes off due to the tense moments. Although all games have tense moments, Cognition handles these so much better. The intensity never lets up. Just when the tense scene seems to be ending, something even crazier springs up. Best of all, Cognition is not afraid to have harmful consequences. In other games, I am relatively calm even in tense moments because I know everything will be fine once I complete the scene. Not so in this game. Even if everything is executed correctly, key characters will die, gruesome imagery will haunt the player and the sanity of the player will be repeatedly questioned. All in all, a must play and a must buy.

+ Incredible story
+ Engaging characters with personable backstories
+ Mood appropriate music
+ Innovative "cognition" mechanics
+ Vivid imagery
+ Intelligent puzzles that are never too vague

- Minor graphical glitches
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34 of 40 people (85%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
19.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 4, 2015
Review: Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller

"Cognition promises to be an exciting game for adventure fans with a rich story and beautiful (and creepy) visuals!"

This is what Jane Jensen says about this game. If the mastermind of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers would make such an appraisal, why would you even care about reading my own opinion? Well, maybe you have never heard of Jane Jensen. You have never played Gabriel Knight. You may have never even played a Point-and-Click Adventure at all. Go ahead, read further.

You will find yourself taking the role of Erica Reed, a Boston FBI Special Agent, accompanied by her partner John McCoy. Right after the start they are rushing to a cemetery in order to rescue Erica’s brother Scott, who is being held captive by a psychopath called "The Cain Killer". He is known for gruesome murders involving siblings who get tortured with devices you would only expect to see in a Saw movie. Erica owns a special power, the cognition, that only she and her partner John know about. Explained simply: She sees what others did in the past, trying to use this to her own advantage. Right now you, the player, will make her use of it to get into the crypt where Scott is being held. If you read the Official Description carefully, you will already know how this is going to end..

3 Years Later..
Erica spent the last 3 years trying to find the man who did this to her brother. Having not found him and losing control of her life she is forced to close the Cain Case and move on. But soon after she begins to investigate the next murder, she finds clues - left for her. Clues pointing out that whoever killed that person knew about Erica’s "special gift". Is it the Cain Killer again? A new serial killer? And why would he know about Erica’s Cognition Ability? With the help of Rose, the owner of an antique shop, medium and expert for psychic abilities, and her Partner John, Erica tries to solve this puzzle in the four acts of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller.

Use your mouse to click, Erica moves, doubleclick and she runs. Press Space to highlight Objects to interact with. Congratulations, you just learned the basic controls. Some objects can be used, others can even be combined in your inventory. This is the bread and butter of Adventure Games but learning to use this efficiently will save time, time you will need to solve some of the puzzles this game has to offer. I had a tough time with some of them but if you get stuck there is a really nice hint system. This games story is amazing and it knows how to keep you engaged if you get stuck. Ericas special power, the cognition, is key for nearly every problem you will get confronted with. It requires some trial and error but it adds possibilities other games simply can’t offer. Your power will evolve while progressing, forcing you to rethink situations, finding new ways to solve puzzles.

The overall setting is dark and stylish, combined with cutscenes that appear in nicely drawn comicstrips. I must admit that I encountered some bugs while playing like mouths that looked like broken boxes. This is nothing that breaks the game but tends to look a bit funny sometimes. What keeps you really entertained instead is the amazing soundtrack which all of you should give a listen even after finishing Cognition. Whether your heart needs pumping or your soul cries for relaxation, this games music makes sure that things start to get emotional. Believe me.

Big Text, Quick Facts:

  • An intriguing, dark and mature story with an exceptional plot.
  • Interesting main protagonist..
  • ..and many antagonists
  • Dark graphics with comic looks
  • Veterans AND Newbies will quickly get used to controls and mechanics
  • Fresh take on problem solving with Ericas Special Powers
  • Rewarding puzzles
  • Nice hint system
  • Amazing soundtrack
  • Comic Look (listed as pro but not everybody likes that kind of style)
  • Puzzles might get tough sometimes, literally forcing you to use the hint system
  • Graphical bugs
  • At some points I simply felt overwhelmed with where to go or start
  • Too hard for kids eyes and ears


If you haven’t shut your mouth with shaking hands, asking how all of this could have happened, you haven’t played Cognition yet. Be prepared for a clever, dark and brutal thriller that plays with emotions - but brace yourself for some tough puzzles that might discourage you at first sight. Do not let this happen. Use your Hint System if it gets to hard and enjoy the plot.

There is something I have to add for those of you still hesitating. I haven`t played Gabriel Knight or any game connected with Jane Jensen before either, so my praising words should be an assurance for all of you.

8,5 / 10

No drama, Just Reviews
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26 of 29 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
19.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 1, 2015
Short version: 81%
(Episode breakdown: 95%, 94%, 64%, 79%.)
A paranormal serial murder thriller packed into a point ‘n’ click adventure? It’s easy to sell this concept, harder to actually pull it off. Cognition luckily manages to do that, although not without problems.

Long version:
Psychic cops and serial killers are always a good mix in the hand of capable writers, and Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is a nice example of that. It follows the struggles of the titular FBI agent, who needs to tackle not one, but four different murderers preying on the streets of Boston.
Her story is structured like a television miniseries with four self-contained episodes. Arguably, the first two ones are the best as they remain close to the concept of being about the investigations, while the third episode is just a huge plot dump constrained into a single location, and the fourth hastily ties everything together using a set of rather tired clichés (including the classic ‘you are suspended!’ one).

Still, the plotting is spectacular; each episode has endings that would make you grip the edge of your chair if they wouldn’t also feature the best, most complex puzzles, with perfect music to boot. The developers really knew how to reward patience.
As for the rest of the game, Cognition is a fairly standard point ‘n’ click (with an uncomfortable interface) that adds cognitive powers on top of the usual item manipulation. The use of these powers is not really consistent; there’s one that you invoke maybe three times in the entire story, even though you spend half an hour acquiring it.

Graphics aren’t too spectacular: the backgrounds look good, but the characters are weird and glitchy. The audio is a lot better with a memorable soundtrack, and all main actors do an astounding job playing their (fairly stereotypical) role. It really helps getting immersed in the game, which is always great for thrillers like this.
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21 of 23 people (91%) found this review helpful
22.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2013
A really great game for a little money. FBI agent versus the serial killer - sounds cliche? Don't worry, the story will surprise you a few times. Especially the first two episodes are very enjoyable and worth playing. The story is like the mixture of two famous film thrillers: Seven and Silence of the Lambs.
+An interesting plot and characters
+Story twists
+Nicely written dialogues
+Mechanics: typical adventure with some puzzles and action elements
+Voice acting
+2D graphics (great comic stylised drawings )
-Initially great story slows down at the end
-Towards the end of the game the characters' choices become unreasonable and ridiculous
-3D graphics
However, try it if you like point-and-click thriller style adventure games.
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