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Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode Four (“The Cain Killer”)

September 19th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s been one heck of a rollercoaster ride, but I suppose it has to end at some point.  Erica Reed is returning for one last time in this engaging four-part series, itching to get her hands on the person responsible for killing her brother.  I’m going to assume that you’ve played the past three episodes, but I’ll attempt to keep things as spoiler-free as possible.  I’m also going to keep this review short and sweet, for reasons I’ll make clear in a moment.  Before we bid our final goodbyes to the series, I’d like to thank Katie Hallahan from Phoenix Online Studios and Emily Morganti, a PR consultant on behalf of Phoenix Online Studios, for providing me with a free review copy.

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode Four (“The Cain Killer”)

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode Four (“The Cain Killer”) – PC, Mac, iOS

The main menu, with the exception of the background music, was relatively the same as the previous three episodes.  Since the game runs off of the Unity engine, you’ll receive a pop up before the game starts that allows you to adjust screen resolution, change the graphics quality, and toggle fullscreen.  For those of you who have played the other three episodes, it’ll take you no time at all to get accustomed to the interface.  In fact, it’s for this reason that I’ve decided to keep the review on the short side.  Most of you who are reading this have already played the game at some point and it would be silly of me to waste your time with details that you already know.

Rather, let’s take a brief look at the new things that this game introduces to the series.  The main sticking point is a “trust” meter for each character that Erica interacts with.  It behaves similarly to the way a trust meter would on larger RPGs like “Dragon Age” in that your dialogue choices largely affect how someone will behave towards you.  This particular episode even goes so far as to penalize you by killing off characters, depending on how much certain characters trust you.  Since this is the last episode in the series, this whole system makes sense as it gives the player different ways that the game can end.  You’ll also, at one point, be allowed to switch freely between Erica and Cordelia in order to progress.  We’ve seen the two interact in the past, but never in a direct manner such as this.

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode Four (“The Cain Killer”)

This screen-grab, coupled with the last sentence, might take things a little out of context…

On a related note, you’ll be using most of the powers that Erica has learned over the course of time.  You won’t be learning anything new this time around, but I found that I didn’t mind that a bit.  The narrative was already becoming pretty complex at the end of the third episode, and I’m sort of glad that they’ve keep the learning required down to a minimum.  Not to worry, you’ll still have access to postcognition, projection, regression, and synergy in order to solve puzzles as they come up.  You’ll be relying on them pretty heavily too, so you may want to brush up if you haven’t entered the world of Erica Reed in a while.  Like episode three, there’s more of an emphasis on the puzzles and less of an emphasis on traveling around a world map.

It’s difficult to write a review for a game that you are determined not to spoil, especially when the previous games in the series are similar in play style.  I will go on record however and say that when the end credits began to roll, that I felt a sense of completion and satisfaction.  The writing and the narrative were top-notch, from beginning to end.  The art-style, while nothing new in the series as a whole, kept me engaged and interested.  I must admit that the ending saddened me a bit, though I had a an inkling that the story would turn out the way it did.  There were still a few things that caught me off guard however, especially when it came time to see how Cordelia would react during the moment of truth.  If you’ve played the previous three episodes already, then picking the fourth one up is really a no-brainer…you should do it, now.  If you’re new to the series and enjoy deep and engaging adventures filled with tough mind-bending puzzles, then the “Erica Reed” saga has you covered.

Final Verdict: 9/10

You can learn more about and purchase this game and/or the season pass via the official site, here:

http://store.postudios.com/

http://store.steampowered.com/app/242780/

All four reviews can be found here:

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode One (“The Hangman”)

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode Two (“The Wise Monkey”)

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode Three (“The Oracle”)

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode Four (“The Cain Killer”)

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