Game Review: Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller — Episode 4

[As usual, the following episode will contain SPOILERS for the previous episodes].

Sorry I missed the review for the last episode of Cognition last week. Consider this one of those times where they make you wait two weeks before a new episode airs.

When we last left Erica the story went in new and disturbing directions and now we’ve reached the grand finale, which manages to add some new and interesting ideas to the by now familiar formula.

The first new addition is the “trust” meter, which, well, represents how much characters trust Erica based on her actions and dialog choices. Some scenes will change if a character’s trust meter is not high, and in some cases characters could die (but the story continues) or you get an instant game over. While in other episodes it was difficult to actually get an instant game over, this one hands them out like they’re going out of style, so I recommend saving a lot.

The other thing you’re going to be doing a lot of in this episode is using two characters to solve puzzles. Although, unlike in the last episode, in this one the characters are in the same room at the same time, and you’ll have to switch back and forth between them to solve puzzles. The puzzles are the kind of puzzles that look complicated, but they actually aren’t, and if you turn on the hint system, the puzzles are that much easier to solve. (Seriously the hint system is very good about giving you hints.)

In terms of story it’s very tight and tense this time around. If episode three was the “breather” before the finale, this episode is one tense moment after another, and it never lets up for a moment. It’s appropriate for a finale, but I kind of wish the other episodes had had a bit more action in them as well.

The voice acting is still bleh (although not the worst I’ve ever seen) and this episode has Rose playing a larger role. I did like that Rose got a bit more background as a volunteer in Vietnam beyond just owning an antique store and being Erica’s hint lady. The only thing I’ll really say about it is that it seems kind of…like a typical background.

There was some surprising queerness in this episode, but without spoiling anything, I’m not really that happy about it. It was a nice surprise and everything should have queer characters. but I didn’t think the execution was that great, TBH.

Overall, I had fun with this game. I did find the episodes being in separate files kind of cumbersome and it definitely would have been nice to see something where your decisions influenced the story (I even kept my save files, just in case) but it was good, slow in parts, and requiring definite suspension of disbelief in others, but the puzzles definitely weren’t as frustrating as in other games.

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