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 (383 reviews) - 86% of the 383 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 (383 reviews)
Recently Posted
3.3 hrs
Posted: August 30
I tried. I couldn't. The UI/UX of this game is a nightmare. The movement is slow. Some of the puzzles are unexplained. Example: You need a device to scan a graffiti that is covered with green painting. You get the device. You try to scan through the green painting to see the graffiti. You can't. You need to enter the color Id. How? I don't know. You can't interact with the device. That and other things stopped me from continuing the game. The back and forth from location to location to get simple stuff is boring and annoying. You don't feel progression. padding after padding...

I don't recommend this game to anyone who gets frustrated quickly.
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17.8 hrs
Posted: August 23
At first glance, the game appears fairly unimpressive, and commits a number of Adventure Gaming's worst sins. You spend a lot of time in the first chapter driving back and forth to get items you COULD have picked up earlier, but Erica refused because she didn't know she needed them. It's frustrating, and boring, and worst of all, it means you may not stick around to experience the truly excellent later chapters!

In chapters 2-4, the story really kicks into high gear, and there's some truly original and fun aspects of Erica's abilities to explore. The painted backgrounds are always pretty and the voice acting is very good. Story, character and dialog are all solid. Really, the game's only sin is the lackluster first chapter. I can't stress enough the leap in quality come chapter 2. Maybe just grab a Let's Play on youtube of chapter 1 and skip to the good parts!
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30.8 hrs
Posted: August 20
Hidden gem.

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20.0 hrs
Posted: August 18
Erica Reed is simply one of the best stories told about serial killers in games.

Graphic is okay, the voiceovers are splendid (apart from Director Davies) and the idea of putting Psion powers into the gameplay (though not always executed well) freshens up the title.

This game is for people who:

- like the serial killer topic
- don't mind some SAW references
- can overlook technical problems (The game IS glitchy, yes, including some bugs, but no gamestoppers)
- like a good game soundtrack including songs

This game is NOT for people who:

- are impatient
- dislike scary crime scenes
- expect a technical AAA title (it's clearly not)
- look for family friendly atmosphere (CLEARLY not for children)

On a personal note I wished for another middle chapter, the pace speeds up during chapter 3 of 4 and I would have liked just another "filler".
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Space Butler
13.2 hrs
Posted: August 7
A good adventure game with a compelling story and solid voice acting. Some of the interactions are a bit frustrating (the player can't do something until the character knows she needs to do something), but that comes with the genre.
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Jarad The Lich
20.1 hrs
Posted: August 1
This is honestly one of the best point and click games I've played and thats having played a lot of Telltale's content. The story is very complex and interesting and one of the best I've seen in a mystery. Fair warning, it does start out a little slow so be prepared to have to play through the first and second episodes at least for the tutorial to stop and the overarching plot to pick up

I say tutorial... It doesn't really have much for a designated tutorial. The beginning of the game serves as a basic tutorial that shows you stuff like how to move, how to operate the UI, and the follower system, which is only really used like 2 times after that so I really don't know why they bothered to introduce it.

What really sets this game apart from other point and click games are the Cognition and Cell Phone features that provide a lot more options than your typical 'look' and 'use'.

- The Cognition ability is the main characters psychic ability that serves an integral part in solving puzzles but is more than just touching an item and getting a vision. In fact, there are four different abilities that the game requires you to use that can be a lot more demanding whether they require you to analyze multiple items in the scene or look into someone's thoughts.

- The Cell Phone has multiple features such as a "web browser" and other typical smart phone tropes that are integrated into puzzles pretty creatively but don't see much frequent use. The most used feature that I garuntee everyone will be using at least once is the hint system which is in the form of text messages. While there were some hints that werent very helpful, they always seemed to fit the difficulty of the situation. Ie. if the objective is just find something in a room and it turns out it's just on a shelf but I was to stupid to realize it, the hint might be something like "Did you thoroughly check the room you idiot?". On the flip side, if I'm stuck on an actually challenging puzzle it will give me something helpful.

Looking at the puzzles, none of them seemed to far fetched if you actually take the time to absorb all the information the game gives you, unlike me. After asking the game for a hint, I often realized that the answer, though not easy to obtain, was never overly cryptic.

Looking at this game from a purely spec standpoint is when people may start to judge it.

- The voice acting is good in most cases but the main problem is the main voice actor trying to put on a bostonian accent that seems to come and go. Not to say that she's bad, she just seems a little confused.

- The most glaring problem is with the animations which include wierd walking cycles and janky interactions with characters and items. Mouth movements are also extrememly limited and look like the people can barely move their lips. However, being the person I am, I did enjoy the couple weird glitches that caught me off gaurd.

- The best thing in this aspect is the soundtrack which does a pretty good job setting the tone and even drove me look up some the songs youtube I liked them so much (Though to no evail sadly).

OVERALL: If you are into story based games than you will be way into this but if you're someone who's set off by any technical problems then you may end up feeling buyers remorse 10 minutes in..
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27.5 hrs
Posted: August 1
Great game.
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Relatively petite falcon
7.3 hrs
Posted: July 31
Okay so after finishing the first chapter and a bit of the second chapter I can safely say i'm probably not going to finish the rest of this game.
This game suffers from three main problems that completely break immersion and make the game unenjoyable to play.

The first (and main) problem that this game has is pacing. It pads itself out needlessly. In one instance: the player sees an interactable object that is clearly meant to be picked up. The protagonist refuses to pick up said object because "she has no need of it yet". Then, several scenes later, during an interrogation scene, the protagonist needs the object, resulting in the player to backtrack all the way to where the object was located. Mind you, the movement speed of the protagonist is incredibly slow and the game has unskipable animations. In case of the dreaded interrogation scene, the player first has to quit the dialogue screen, then stand up, then walk all the way to the door and then press exit before being allowed the option to select the map and loading the area where the protagonist (not the player!) neglected to pick up the very obviously placed item in the first place. This has to be done every.single.time the player forgot something or the player didn't forget something but the protagonist simply refused to acknowledge something. This problem would have been fixed easily if the UI was equiped with a button that instantly brought the player to the map screen. It also doesn't help that the game is awfully particular about how you have to solve certain dialogue trees. "I am hungry" says a character. "Have a donut" I reply. However, the game won't let me give the donut to the character. I instead have to backtrack to a vending machine, grab some crisps, offer the crisps to the man only for him to tell me "No i prefer something sweet" so i could give him the donut that i wanted to offer him in the first place. (edit: Notice how a lot of the time spent in the game has NOTHING to do with solving murders in a fashion that involves the paranormal and instead has you running after people's needs like some disheveled butler because they're too lazy to do it themselves)

This brings me to the second point: Some of the puzzels make NO logical sense and are incredibly convoluted. Mind you that some puzzels are nicely written, like the one at the start at the game. There's a clear cut problem, you acquire certain tools that let you deal with that problem and you solve that problem. However later on in the game certain hurdles are being thrown at the player without any clear-cut explanation as to how to deal with them. There is a hint system but if some of the puzzles made more sense then the hint system wouldn't be needed. This in conjunction with the constant backtracking and the unskippable animations/slow movement speed makes the game incredibly grating. You can spend 10 minutes with this game and have the impression that you haven't progressed much at all.

The third, and last, problem that his game has is character design. I'm going to assume that the developers of this game are teenagers, or had the mindset thereof, when designing Erica Reed (our main protagonist). For example, she pulls a gun on her collegue "because she is angry" when said collegue asked her to wait for reinforcements. She's constantly acting like an angsty teenager but she's supposedly a 30-something FBI agent. At one point one of the characters called her performance as an fbi agent wildly inconsistent and as a player i'd have to agree. She's certainly not the most professional or likable person that I played as. Her collegues are not much better. You have the cliché fat guy who always sits at his desk eating donuts, never lifting a finger. You have the cliché ♥♥♥♥♥y boss lady who is screaming at you one second and asks you how you're holding up immediately after. You have the nondescript receptionist lady whose name i can't recall. And finally you have the guy who offers weird, unwanted sexual tension because what poorly written tv drama could ever go without that trope. Come to think of it, that's precisely what the characters are. Tropes. They never feel like well rounded characters and as a result you never get to feel personally involved in what's going on. I always felt like i was playing a video game, as opposed to being absorbed into the story. Also, much of the story is being told by the exposition lady at the antique store (kind of makes me wonder why Erica Reed never visited her before the game began). Thankfully, dialogue is skipable (notice how this isn't something to boast about).

The game does have some genuinly nice and satisfying moments, but they're too scarse for me to recommend this title.
Avoid like the plague.
Props for the visual style though.
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Geek Fresh
27.0 hrs
Posted: July 31
This is a great point-and-click game packed with a compelling story arc, fairly complex puzzles, and interesting main characters. The cutscene art is vibrant and well done.

My only frustration has been frequent crashes. A quick search through the forums revealed that this might be due to a known, raptr-related issue in-game. Using the '-force-gfx-direct' command line option solved that problem for me. The game has run without any problems so far (~1 hour). w00t

UPDATE: no crashes or lags since updating the launch options, going on 5+ hours of game time since.
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17.6 hrs
Posted: July 16
Decided to give a review since it’s not getting a lot of love/credit.

The Good:
It successfully creates that dark/thriller murder mystery atmosphere (a bit like se7en in a way). The serial killers cases are dark, gruesome and pretty interesting to follow. This is definitely the strong point of the game. Putting all clues together to discover the identity of the killer is done in an unconventional way. It enters into the Psychic world, looking into past and the future, tampering with memories and all that good stuff. The story does take a while to get going, and there are some obvious “fillers” (basically all the Rose scenes which serves as tutorials/progression) but overall it’s pretty good, dark, filled with twists and stakes definitely pick up much earlier on the other episodes.

Oh and soundtrack is pretty good!

The Bad:
It does have some flaws. Some people point out bugs, but in my entire play through I only encountered one (when I failed one puzzle and had to reload a save) so can’t say much for that. But yes there will be character walking glitches but that’s nothing out of the ordinary and the voice acting can be weird (lack of emotion, delivery, and big pauses between lines in some cases) but it got better in the latter episodes (or maybe I got used to it?).

Edit: Forgot to say the way character moves is pretty.... ridiculous. Yes It kinda looks bad, and when someone talks (cutscenes) it looks unpolished but the same could be said to the telltale series. So graphically expect the same as telltale games.

The only thing I’d complain is the “delay” between actions, or inputs. Doing something like trying to open a locked door can take up to 10-12 seconds! Only to say it’s locked in the end. And then to take back control of your character can take another 5 seconds. And there are a lot of “locked doors”. This is my only complaint but the game was good enough for me to ignore that, and note that it doesn’t happen for everything but you definitely notice.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
30.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 20
Hidden gem.

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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
13.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 7
A good adventure game with a compelling story and solid voice acting. Some of the interactions are a bit frustrating (the player can't do something until the character knows she needs to do something), but that comes with the genre.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
85 of 96 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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50 of 56 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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40 of 47 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 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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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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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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