Review: Cognition—An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 4: “The Cain Killer” (PC)


Cognition-An-Erica-Reed-Thriller-Episode-1-The-Hangman-Review-2Developer: Phoenix Online Studios
Publisher: Phoenix Online Studios
Genre: Mystery Roleplay Crime Thriller
Rating: M
Price: $3.99
The end of the series has come. If you haven’t played the other games I recommend stopping right here and reading the episode one, two, and three reviews. I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, but this is the conclusion of the story so some reveals will happen. Since I followed the rest of the series as they came out, I couldn’t wait for the final installment because the last game ended at yet another cliffhanger.



The exciting conclusion of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is here! The Cain Killer, the man who murdered Erica’s brother, is alive, his identity is known, and he wants vengeance on Erica and the Oracle. Both the agent and the serial killer are fleeing from the police. Will Erica choose justice or revenge? Whatever choice, Erica must work with the Oracle if she is going to stop the Cain Killer once and for all.

Content Guide

Violence/Scary Imagery: This is a game about serial killers so bloody deaths should be expected. In the recap you see a brief flash of the organs the Wise Monkey removed and when a man was pushed to his death onto a car from a high building, but only for a few seconds. The Cain Killer’s face is badly distorted by burns and there are some bullet wounds inflicted on other characters. You see brief shots of the Cain Killer’s victims being murdered by various traps, including spikes and electrocution. Erica shoots a gun a few times and attacks a few characters. She and the Cain Killer exchange some punches at one point. One character commits suicide off-camera.
Language/Crude Humor: As with the rest of the games, this one has a lot of profanity. A** 4x, h*** 8x, ba***** 3x, b**** 5x, sh** 12x, ti** 1x, d*** 4x godd*** x2, crap x1, and a stream of f-bombs. A drug dealer notices a wire on Erica’s chest and makes a remark about her bosom.
Sexual Content: For some random reason in a dream sequence there’s a homosexual kiss for a few seconds. Nothing comes of it in the slightest.
Drug/Alcohol Use: None.
Spiritual Content: Rose worked for the Red Cross near a Cao Dai temple. She also has a lot of New Age ideas. Erica and the Oracle have supernatural abilities to see into the past and future.
Other Negative Themes: Erica is running from the law at the moment for inappropriate conduct.
Positive Content: This story deals a lot with closure and grief. Erica finally comes to term with her brother’s death and learns to move on. Other characters also come to terms with many of their demons and learn how to finally accept them or conquer them. There are also themes of sacrifice, wisdom, and bravery. 



The game play is a typical point-and-click. You click on the screen where you want to go and what you want to interact with. By double-clicking, you can run. You have speech options during dialogue, and an inventory where you store items such as your gun or badge. You also have a cognition icon that you click to enact your ability. Objects and people you can use your powers on become highlighted in colored mist.
Like in the last game, you also play as the Oracle. You switch between the killer’s and Erica’s point of views via a special icon on the cognition button. The Oracle has powers you can use as well, but instead of seeing into the past, you see into the future. Another feature unique to this game is the trust meter. Depending on what you do and say people will trust you more or less. If they trust you, they’ll often do what you want. If they don’t–well that often ends with a bullet to the head.
Lastly, the decisions you make in the game effect how the game turns out. This is a puzzle game so you’ll have to search for clues and solve challenges to progress. I had to look up cheats for one or two sequences, but other than that I could figure it out. Sometimes it does get a bit tedious traveling between places, though.


The last episode or chapter of a series always gets me a bit nervous. Will the ending be good or will it be disappointing? I was relieved to discover that Cognition does indeed end well. It is bittersweet, but an excellent finish to this thrilling and chilling series—though of course I won’t tell you exactly how it ends. You’ll have to play the game to discover that.
The plot is excellent as always. The series has built to a huge climax as the enemy from the beginning of the series has now finally come into active play. This causes a huge emotional upheaval for both Erica and the Oracle. The character arcs come to a point as both of those characters decide what they are going to do with their lives after all of the tragedy they have suffered. Will they let it destroy them or make them stronger?
As per usual with the Cognition games, there is a mammoth twist involved as well. Many of the sequences keep you jabbing your mouse so you can see what’s going to happen and keep your character from undergoing an untimely demise. Traps, serial killers, and drug dealers await you on this adventure.
Very few characters are in this one as the focal ones are Erica and the protagonists. McAdams and John make an appearance but not many others. The spot light is entirely on Erica and the Oracle, the two halves of a coin, light and dark, past and future. Erica’s abilities have grown exponentially and it’s cool to see how far she’s come as a character. You also work with the Oracle in person and have to use both of your abilities to complete puzzles. Playing as more than one character is always cool in a game.
The score is well done and keeps you emotionally pulled into the game and the graphics convey the grittiness of the story and also tone down the violence a bit, which because of the amount of it, can be a relief.



Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller: The Cain Killer is the perfect conclusion for this story. It is not one for the faint of heart, but you will definitely remember this game. It is one that deals with crime, psychology, and the supernatural. It will leave you satisfied and thrilled with the series.

The Bottom Line


Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller: The Cain Killer is the perfect conclusion for this story. It is not one for the faint of heart, but you will definitely remember this game. It is one that deals with crime, psychology, and the supernatural. It will leave you satisfied and thrilled with the series.



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Victoria Grace Howell

Victoria Grace Howell is an artist and aspiring speculative fiction writer. She received Teen Writer of the Year in 2014 at the Florida Christian Writers Conference , a conference she attended since 2010, and the Believers Trust Award in 2015. When she's not writing her books or articles, she enjoys drawing her characters, playing the piano and practicing Kung Fu.

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