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 (176 reviews)
Release Date: Sep 19, 2013

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Recent updates View all (4)

November 11

Cognition German translation is now available!

Great news! We have just released the full German translation of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller, available now in the latest update to the game.

Genießen Sie das Spiel!

14 comments Read more

July 31

Cognition: Game of the Year Edition!

We're very excited today to announce the release of Cognition: Game of the Year Edition!

Thanks to the amazing support of our community, Cognition won SIX 2013 Reader's Choice Aggie Awards this year, including Best Adventure Game! In celebration, we've added a ton of new bonus content - director commentary, concept art, videos, outtakes, and more! Plus some bug fixes while we were at it. :)

The GOTY edition has been marked down to $14.99, and also now comes with Volume 1 of the award-winning soundtrack by Austin Haynes, featuring the single "The Taking" by Robert and Raleigh Holmes.

We hope you enjoy the new edition of the game and thank as always for your amazing support of Phoenix Online & Cognition!

15 comments Read more


“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!

Steam Greenlight

This game was picked with help from the Steam Community. To vote for other games you’d like to
see made available on Steam, please visit Steam Greenlight.

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**
    • Hard Drive: 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**
    • Hard Drive: 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**
    • Hard Drive: 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**
    • Hard Drive: 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
Helpful customer reviews
43 of 45 people (96%) found this review helpful
19.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 28
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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14 of 14 people (100%) found this review helpful
36.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 30
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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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
14.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 10
Review of all 4 episodes

I was ambivalent about recommending this game. It's in dire need of editing (both in the story and in the gaming elements) and full of technical problems. It's almost reaching the "so bad it's good" end of the spectrum. And yet it's also fun and beautiful and original. I'm giving it a yes because I'm a sucker for lovable trainwrecks, but only if you buy it heavily discounted. Because while I'm all for supporting devs that create a project of love (which this game clearly is), for that asking price I also want a polished experience (which this game CLEARLY isn't).

Here's a rundown of what to expect:
  • A very convoluted story of the crime/supernatural B-movie variety, that tries its damnedest to twist whenever a twist is possible, and also when it's not. It often makes no narrative sense, yet it has moments when it's surprisingly gripping. I also appreciate the bleak and mature atmosphere it tries to convey. Treat it like a paperback novel, one that's not winning any awards, yet is fun if you don't take it too seriously.
  • Characters so weird that they're occasionally interesting, with inexplicable/over the top motivations, often completely unlikable (which makes them occasionally very likeable - which, again, is weird).
  • Puzzles covering the whole range from the very original, refreshing, interesting and satisfying to the "so obvious it's funny" and "so unnecessarily complicated and counterintuitive it's clear someone was trying too hard". Add to that some mind-numbingly boring fetch quests, a bunch of questionable QTEs of the "die 5 times in order to figure the puzzle out" variety and a later added "trust" system that completely undermines any meaningul storytelling coherence, and you can officially say this game has it all. Yes, that was sarcasm. Or not, your mileage may vary.
  • An honest if somehow flawed effort at gameplay progression and variety from episode to episode. Every chapter introduces new gameplay and puzzle elements, that for the most parts add to the game. Though again, when you try to do everything, chance are few you'll get anything right. Often you're just left baffled at why oh why no one told these devs that not EVERY idea they come up with needs to be implemented in one single game.
  • Gorgeous comic-book visuals, at least while nothing is moving. Once a character starts to walk though, we verge on "so bad it's good" territory.
  • Great soundtrack, good sound design overall, very hit and miss (mostly miss) voice acting.
  • Poor, though not horrible, UI.
  • A very mediocre hint system that tries not to ruin immersion yet often lets you down (especially when later on the story becomes so confusing you don't have a clue what you're doing next).

    Most importantly, you should be aware to expect:
  • Glitches. Oh the glitches. Hilarious dancing characters, persistent floating objects, clipping, dialog skips, dialog repetitions, and so on and so forth. Also: Occasional crashes. Overall: General technical incompetence. This is again one of the areas where you've got it all, from utter frustration to incredible "so bad it's epic" laughs. If it's any consolation, most of the glitches and bugs are not game breaking (though you may need to be prepared for the occasional restart from the latest save point).

    So after all this, why did I click yes? Because this game has moments of sheer brilliance. Even if they are drowning in a sea of near misses, complete disasters and epic fails. It tries really really hard to include everything and your dog, and in the end it succeeds in very little. It's very often like watching a trainwreck. And yet those moments of brilliance in it are geniunely fun to play. Despite all the problems (and sometimes because of them), I had fun with this game.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
17.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 23
I was drawn to Cognition because it had the same art style as Jane Jensen's game, Gray Matter, and it also offered the same type of addictive story-telling that I enjoyed so much. The music was also good, it set the mood for a modern noir detective story and it helped with the immersion.

Just to give you an idea of what the story is about, it's about an FBI agent named Erica Reed who uses her psychic powers to see the past which helps her piece together her murder investigations. It's something akin to Law & Order meets The Medium.

I enjoyed Erica's refreshing personality and her interactions with her partner, John, and her on-again-off-again lover, Sully; she was sarcastic and witty and I related to her struggle for moral insight during investigations as well as making peace with the past and letting go. And, just the theme in general is interesting since Erica was able to interact with items and see visions from the past that added perspective and depth to the story.

And the game also brings up the long debated argument and encourages players to question if crime is ever justified.

I'm sure I could go on and on about the game but I don't want to spoil it nor turn this review into a novel.

The game has four episodes and it took me roughly seventeen hours to play through comfortably without rushing.
I personally recommend that you find the time to sit down and play Cognition rather than play it in short bursts, otherwise you run the risk of forgetting small details about the story. In this game, every little bit matters and ties up at the end.

Be forewarned, it has quite a few moments in which I personally got stuck on certain puzzles and needed to do certain things that I would never think of trying unless I had the guide handy. You can use the Gameboomers one without too much worry of seeing spoilers as you progress.

Unlike some other episodic games, Cognition ends satisfyingly well and without a cliff-hanger that would beg for a sequel; it ends in a way that doesn't require a sequel but it certainly is open for one if the writers choose to continue. So, you probably won't need to worry about feeling that continuity itch.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 8
In Cognition, you play Erica Reed (of course), a detective with the FBI, as she solves cases. This is a point-and-click adventure game, with various puzzles along the way. The unique twist in the game is that Erica also has a psychic ability which you can enlist to help solve the mysteries she encounters.

I really wasn't expecting much, as most point-and-click games are merely competent, but nothing special. In this case, however, I have been very pleasantly surprised. Everything about this game is done incredibly well, from the graphics, to the music, to the voice acting, to the strong female protagonist, to the well-written story. The puzzles you encounter along the way are sometimes challenging, but not impossible. Highly recommended for anyone who likes this kind of game, I doubt you will be disappointed in the end.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 25
Good people + hard work = great product. As naive as it may sound, I strongly believe that. When people with the right ideas and enough love for their project show real commitment, failure is just not an option. And this is the case of Phoenix Online Studios and Cognition. Crowdfunded through Kickstarter, Cognition is a crazy good adventure game, and playing it you kinda wonder how this game could have been made with just 35k dollars.

Despite being pretty common the story is very interesting, it's a thriller story with a strong paranormal vibe and a revenge theme, but what is really good is how they managed to link all the investigations Erica will be involved in. Great work, cool plot twists. Characters are also well described, I loved Erica from the very beginning with all her flaws, fears, doubts. She's a very strong character, but at the same time someone you can relate with. Tridimensional. Puzzles are interesting, not very hard to crack but not super easy either, you'll probably get stuck a couple of times (at least it happened to me, and I loved it, getting stuck and having to think it's a big chunk of what an adventure game is about, for me). Plus, having Jane Jensen (yes, you heard, Jane Jensen *__* ) as a story consultant is a real added value.

So, to wrap it up, a very good game. Interesting, challenging, not a game you'll easily forget. Try it.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 2
Fantastic art with a really twisted story and a gripping soundtrack. The game doesn't necessarily hold your hand even though you can get hints. One of the best murder mystery games out there and it's an indie title!
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 6
Cognition is a good buy and I suggest that waiting for a big discount will make things better.

When all the game reviewers say that this game is like a roller coaster ride, they were not kidding. The story lines were full of twists which were unexpected to even begin with. The story line is at the top so just read it. I'm not going to spoil anything.

The level designs are good, though plagued with occational bugs and glitches (It didn't ruin the game but it was still irritating to see them sometimes). Be warned though, the puzzles can be tough at times and it can get rather vague at the first 2 episodes.

Soundtrack successfully immerses players into the game so go ahead and buy the soundtrack along with the game. You know it is good when it can immerse and go along with whatever situation that goes along.

Puzzles can be creative at times and seriously, you will have to think ALOT in this game or you will not progress anywhere. While most games only introduce and shows you whatever the main character does for a living, this game shoves you into their shoes and expects you to try it out.

This game is a 4/5 :D
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
26.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 21
Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is an excellent adventure game. It's one of the best "pure" adventures games that I've played since TellTale's The Walking Dead: Season 1. quite frankly. Cognition's first season is excellent, with more twist + turns in the story; really logical puzzles (for the most part); really good character development.

Without spoiling too much here - Erica Reed is a cop, her brother Scott gets taken, and she begins chasing after this serial killer. You play mostly as Erica, embarking on this journey of finding out more about this killer, the past of the killer, and who the killer plans to attack next. This is just the tip of the iceberg here, as there's a lot more than that that is going on in this game, story-wise, play-wise, and character-wise.

A few of the puzzles are tough, but the Hint System can give you just enough to point you in the right direction to help you figure it out. At some point - Erica begins having visions, learning she has powers that can help her solve puzzles. Not only that, but there are puzzles based around her visions are extremely well integrated into the game. I don't want to spoil too much, but each episode seems to integrate a new type of puzzle that has to deal with her abilities.

Even the final episode (Episode 4) introduces a new mechanic, which I'm sure is going to have some replaying the last episode, since it can even change some of the actual journey of the final chapter & the actual final outcome of the game.

There's very few flaws + problems w/ this season. The voice-acting quality is the biggest problem, as it's all over the place. Erica, Cordelia, and John are the best voice-acted characters; and then the quality for the rest of the characters are all over the place. The graphics do have the very interesting, stylish and comic-book type of look - ranging more on the artistic side, instead of having any sort of real technical quality.

None of those above-said flaws should stop you from playing this game, as those are very minor problems with this game. After 26 hours or so with this game, there was hardly any moments where I was not wanting to find out what's going to develop and happen next in the story + to these characters. The game kept things fresh with new puzzle types + new game mechanics, with each episode. With never a dull moment, even for its length - the game kept me constantly engaged. Fans of murder-mysteries; cop + FBI stories; old-school style adventure games w/ logical puzzles (and a Hint system to help those who get stuck, which will point you a bit in the right direction); great character development; and great dialogue - look no further than the excellent Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller.

Final Grade = B+
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
20.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 13
Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is a mature point-and-click (P&C) adventure game heavily focused on storytelling and puzzle-solving with high doses of drama, thrills and unexpected twists which grab your attention right from the start. Set as a gritty murder mystery theme with supernatural elements, you follow Erica Reed, a FBI agent in Boston, trying to unveil and take down the Cain Killer who murdered her brother. While the concept may sound a bit convoluted, it does its job surprisingly well, enough to express gratitude to its godfather, the Gabriel Knight series, for the inspiration and stand on for its own merits.

The strongest point of Cognition is perhaps in its story and narration. Firstly, Cognition is not for the faint hearted. Unlike most P&C adventure games which are traditionally light hearted and occasionally “cartoony” in tone, that is absolutely not the case here. Instead, it is a totally fresh approach -- albeit nothing new per se –- for adults looking for a genuine thriller. As stated earlier, Gabriel Knight is clearly a big inspiration, however Cognition pushes that envelope. What starts as a simple search for the Cain Killer, it eventually turns into a complex story where Erica finds out that there are more killers similar to him, each with their own creepy personalities and unique, yet gruesome, ways to kill their victims and how other characters turn out to be not what they might have seemed at first glance. Almost everyone is hiding dark secrets, and there are plenty of legitimate moments of unexpected twists which you would have never thought of. It can be argued that the game feels like a B-type movie, but if that were the case, it would be amongst the best. Cognition boasts many moments of shock horror, tension and emotional rollercoasters in its journey; sometimes to its own detriment, funnily enough. As much as the story is solid throughout the game, at times it does feel a bit forced with the whole mature content and the melodrama from some of its characters in certain situations, as if the developers tried really hard to make an emotional impact on the audience. So yes, it is forced at times, but nevertheless it is good to see that they are taking risks and throwing all they got into your face. So, on a personal note, it does have an impact. In the end, after the shocking revelations in Episode 3 and seeing the final conclusion, I felt for the characters. Although the story does stumble upon some pacing issues typically midway through an episode, they all start and end on high notes. Lastly, Erica Reed is an exceptionally well-written female protagonist. A bit cocky at times, but as her character development grows with each new episode you start to like her even more and sympathise for what she has to go through. Plus, the voice actor for her is amazing. There is rarely a moment where she cannot deliver a line appropriately.

The most unique game mechanic, even for a P&C adventure game, is Erica’s supernatural cognitive powers which allow her to see events from the past when touching objects. This makes puzzle-solving and the gameplay in general fresh and interesting, setting them aside from the traditional and mundane mechanics of clicking around to see what happens. Moreover, each episode introduces other new abilities and mechanics which allow her to perform various other tasks. In general, the cognitive mechanics are ingenious, functional and most importantly fun to use.

The hand drawn artwork and backgrounds capture that comic book vibe brilliantly and set the mood fittingly. Likewise, all the cutscenes never seize to be so captivating and tense. There is nothing not to love about them. On the other hand, there are possibly two grips with them: the character drawings move statically during the cutscenes and some of the hand drawn backgrounds can look a bit rushed and unpolished in some areas. But with a great soundtrack as well, Cognition’s setting and atmosphere are well established.

The puzzles here never feel hard throughout most of the game, but they can still be challenging (especially in the second last episode) and sometimes silly. Yes, there are a few puzzles which seem a bit out of place (ie. lockpicking the boss’s office in full view of everyone else) which can break some of the immersion, but in most parts Cognition provides interesting approaches to puzzles with its cognitive mechanics. The puzzles get even better with each new episode, except in the final episode which lacks as many puzzles as in previous episodes and instead focuses more on tying all the loose ends of the story.

Surprisingly, through a first playthrough, the game can last as long as 20 hours, at least in my case. Thus it provides quite a lot content for its current price tag; substantially more than other adventure games out there, even compared to high budget ones. Even through a second playthrough, now knowing how to solve all the puzzles and where to go to look for clues, the game is perhaps around 15 hours long, which is still remarkable.

As much as Cognition seems to be like the best new P&C adventure game in years, it has some major flaws which can harm what it sets to achieve. Firstly, graphically it is not impressive at all and by that I mean the character models. Since it uses the Unity engine, the characters look like plasticine. Moreover, the animations are not impressive either. There will be moments which they can break immersion if you are a nitpicky person. If you are looking for something as fluent and polished up as The Book Of Unwritten Tales’ graphics for example, Cognition is not what you are looking for. And that is a big problem because it makes Cognition look unprofessional on the surface. While the artwork is great and praise-worthy, seeing average looking models with clunky animations on top of beautifully hand drawn backgrounds can be underwhelming. Luckily, if you own the Game of the Year Edition, most of the animations are much smoother and polished up, but nothing too drastic. The transition from the hand drawn characters in cutscenes to 3D does not work.

Secondly, due to the scope of the game and the size of the team, there had to be some compromises on realism. For instance, buildings can be rather unpopulated. The FBI station’s main office is a long room with no more than around six people (not all interactive) including Erica inside. Surely the FBI has a lot more agents in a single room in real-life. It is understandable that being confined by a small budget and probably lack of manpower stopped the team from adding more realistic details. And on the topic of realism, in a way it fails to realistically capture how FBI agents actually behave and work due to some improbable dialogues and situations which you would not see in real-life. While the story is gripping and it is its stongest point, Cognition is not very realistic in some aspects.

Lastly, the support characters can be corny and cliché at times, but plausible if you can accept them as they are.

Conclusively, Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is a blasting experience from start to finish which will sure leave a good lasting impression after finishing its long gritty story in the style of Gabriel Knight and Jack The Ripper; even despite its flaws due to the lack of resources that well-established companies like Telltale Games have at their hands. It is good see such a young and talented developing team taking risks with their mature story and unique gameplay mechanics. It definitely rivals acclaimed games such as The Walking Dead and even Jane Jensen’s Gabriel Knight in the story department. So if that is enough incentive for you to give this game a chance and get past its undercooked graphics and animations, it will be the best $10 you will ever spend. And yes, I would proudly say this was the best point-and-click adventure game of 2013. Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
19.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 16
A great murder mystery game for those who like to wrap their minds around a thrilling story! Really memorable soundtrack and voice acting, and the puzzles offer just the right amount of challenge.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
28.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 12
I was scepticle about this game before I start playing it - mostly because I was not a fan of the genre ( point & click adventure) at all.
The only reason I started it is to see how "♥♥♥♥ty" this game was. But I was wrong
After I finished the first two episodes of the game I was eager for more - I had the first two episodes from a bundle and I wanted to continue playing.

Such a well written and story rich game, with amazing graphics. It gives you the suspense of a great thriller and at the same time makes you eager for more.
Now that I finished the game I must say that you can never evaluate a game or a genre before spending enough time of playing it.
This is the game that made me a fan of Point & Click Adventure Games and one of the few that I'll always look up to when it comes to Point & Click Adventure game with rich and intriguing story
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 17
GReat thriller game (point and click). It's great fun trying to solve very interesting cases. Is worth every penny.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
Best Point & Click game i ever played, and i have played alot. The puzzles really hard (for me), but the story was the one always driven me foward to finish the game.

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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
14.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 17
A truly fantastic point-and-click adventure game in 4 episodes. I am not going to spoil too much here as I want it to be left completely open to be enjoyed.

In short, you play Erica Reed, an FBI agent who is after an insane killer who has made his murders a little too personal. That is all I am going to say for plot! You'll just have to play it to find out more....

This game is designed in the style of a dark comic book. The graphics are nice though the characters are outlined in rather grating black lines which I wasn't too fond of. However, the environments are beautifully hand-drawn pictures, very similar to Broken Sword 1, 2 and 5.

The interface is very simple, using point-and-click mechanics that adventure game fans will be fairly familiar with. Objects of interest in the surroundings usually stand out a little so no pixel-hunting is really required. A major plus!

The game is delievered with a nice soundtrack, with pieces set to carry forward the emotions that the scenes are trying to portray. This really brings out the emotional, tense, and tender moments throughout the game. The voice-acting ranges from mediocre to good.

There is a small choice system in this game. Sometimes situations will be presented whereby there is more than one solution (and more than one possible achievement). This adds a small replay value as the choices can affect the subsequent reactions.

If you can forgive the graphical glitches, you will become truly immersed in this story-rich adventure, which delves into the very heart of the human psyche, and seeks to question our conscience and how far we will go if pushed.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
19.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 14
Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller has many things I could say about it, but because the plot is a thriller/mystery I’m going to try and keep away from spoiling any surprises the game might have in store for anyone daring enough to give it a try.

Ultimately I gave the game thumbs up. Cognition was by no means a flawless creation, but it impressed me with how different it was from other point and click adventure games I have played.

It was basically a horror game that made you think. Not to many of those lying around.

Now I know it hints at what to expect in the title. The game is technically a thriller, yes, but it is so full of gore, twisted psychology, mind games, deathtraps and people dying in horrible ways that the only thing that seems to keep the game from plunging into the full fledged horror-only end of the spectrum is the fact that the main character, Erica Reed, is an FBI agent with some psychic abilities.

Still, the writing is so dark an twisted that even being a psychic investigator in the FBI doesn’t really help Erica Reed much and she often comes out as more of a victim trying to survive than anybody who is successfully solving anything. It’s not even to hard to guess who the evil sick killers are as soon as they are introduced, but the puzzles, sick mind games, and music are so disturbing that most players will find it hard to stop playing.

Despite it's ability to grip an audience, the over all presentation of the game still does flip flop a bit in quality. Sure there is the great draw of that dark atmosphere and the developers do a ton of things right as far as creepy tension goes, but there are a couple of moments where the presentation trips over itself. Voice acting was hit or miss. The 3D animations would occasionally go from wildly over the top movement to actually breaking the character model, causing the character to glitch out and crash. It can be a bit distracting, listening to what sounds like a bipolar Erica Reed doing an anime style fist pump and then spontaneously having her head spin 360 degrees kind of takes a person out of the seriously tense moments. Luckily these bizarre issues were few enough to not really bother players with a forgiving sense of humor.

The over arching storyline is divided into five parts. Each of the five episodes seemed to have their own strong moments, paired together with little flaws in detail. There were plenty of moments when, if anyone stopped to really think about it, it would seem that the characters did things that would make no sense just to further the plot. In fact, there were many ways for the killers to have been caught in each episode, but FBI protocol and any logic associated with that setting is conveniently thrown aside in favor of a over dramatic scene or additional puzzle.

For instance, there is one laughable moment were Erica Reed thinks she has to figure out how to steal an old tape recorder and tape from a grumpy colleague then goes about breaking a couple of laws in the process, but the whole time I can’t help but wonder why she can’t just go to her boss, use her smart phone to record things or, heck, hop in her car and go to a local electronics store to buy her own hand held cassette recorder for around $20 or so.

Does Erica Reed's actions make any sense in the above situation? No, but it's not distracting enough to ruin the game for anyone who has tried other games in the point&click genre. Sure the dips in logic are noticable but not crippling to the bigger scheme of things and most casual players will probably shrug them off.

In the end, what really won me over was how the game made you thinks when it came to puzzles. If it’s a very mature game with mature content, you expect some very difficult and mature logic solving puzzles right? Well the player actually can get that here! It actually makes the player think and a player can solve most of them without using the hint system if one puts one’s mind to it. I really enjoyed the complexity of the puzzles and I ended up using the hint system more to navigate through nonsensical parts of the story to find them than to do any actual puzzle or logic solving because of the long awaited challenge they represented.

In conclusion, I give Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller a thumbs up, although it's a twitchy thumb with warts just around the thumbnail. Honestly, I’m not sure if this game is for most audiences, since the game seems to have been made for people so desensitized that they no longer have a gag reflex combined with the tendency to have the patience level of a saint. I'm not even sure making any more "Erica Reed" thrillers (if that's the intent behind the needlessly lengthy title) would be a good idea considering how random the plot was, but was this game was different enough to stand out in a crowd and entertaining in it’s own right. I say give it a shot, just be aware that you might have to talk to a therapist when you are done playing.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
27.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
I don't usually write reviews. Some games are good, some are so so and some are bad but I tend to roll with it. In this case I have to start by issuing an apology to the developers. I deeply and sincerely apologize for waiting for this game to go on sale. You deserve to make every penny possible on this game and I hope that you are planning to invest in more Erica Reed or similar games based on the Cognition elements. When you do I will be there for first day sales and willingly pay the prices.

This game snared my attention from the first few moments of the introductory comic book and DID NOT disappoint right through to the conclusion. The story line is engaging and intense. The voice acting is AMAZING. The game play is engaging with puzzles that are not simple but don't drive to distraction trying to figure out things that just don't make sense. I can see where there will be players who will critique the graphics but for me they were fine. Not flashy but they supported the story - and in this case the story is the main draw.

I heartily recommend this game to anyone who enjoys an well written thriller.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
21.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
Let me get the bad things out of the way first:
Subpar 3D models and really, really bad animations. Clipping teleporting and stuttering character complement it.

Well, I don't care.
The rest of the game is just plainly awsome.
The art style is the typical american comic style topped with more details and love.
The soundtrack is through the roof. It fits the atmosphere perfectly and is actually one of the best soundtracks I ever listened to.
There were moments in Cognition, where I got goose bumps all over because of this perfect art ensemble.

The story is huge, has twists and a rich variety.
Most of it was unforseeable and surprising for me, since the game successfully lead me on a wrong trail
and turned out differently most times.
The puzzles fitted the story very well and were fair throughout the, except one time.
This doesn't mean that it was too easy.
I had to think about everything carefully, which ended in about 21 hours of playtime for one playthrough.

I'll give 8 out of 10 points for this beautiful masterpiece.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 12
A very good third-person view adventure game with modern graphics. The story line is exciting and the dark atmosphere is also unique. There are some graphical bugs, but not too many. The full game include 4 episodes, which are different in quality but in overall it is a highly recommended game for those who like dark/horror classical adventure games.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 25
A fairly engaging murder mystery; the strong point of the game really is the characters and the interactions between them. They more than make up for the somewhat over-tuned puzzles (instead of digging into ground that had been recently disturbed with your hands very early on in episode one you have to use a hammer to break a shovel that's been glued to a statue's hand) and the fairly predictable outcome of the murder mystery itself. I did, however, enjoy the way the psychic mechanics worked in the game for puzzle solving. The use of past/future to provide information and clues was neat and occasionally made the puzzles themselves more interesting (despite the sometimes ridiculous Rube Goldberg-ness of some of them). Even with the weak points of a fairly linear storyline and occasionally illogical/frustration puzzles, the deep story telling and characterization more than made the game worth it. I was especially pleased to see the care taken with the two protagonists, Erica and Cordelia, and how their stories mirrored and intertwined. The dichotomy created between the two characters really worked well and made for a satisfying resolution.
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