Review: Cognition—An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 3: “The Oracle” (PC)

PC, iOS

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
If you haven’t played the other games I recommend stopping right here and reading both the Episode 1 and 2 reviews. I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, but a huge reveal occurs in this episode, one that is supposed to hook you from the start and sends chills down your spine. After the last episode’s cliffhanger I just had to keep going to find out what happens in the thrilling tale of Agent Erica Reed.

Story

The Oracle’s identity has been revealed and the person is not only another psion like Erica, but the killer of both the Hangman and the Wise Monkey—and even more important Erica’s confidant through her journey thus far. After being led to the Oracle’s home, Erica snoops inside the high rise as she strives to the unravel the mystery that is the Oracle and the truth about their connection.

Content Guide

Violence/Scary Imagery: Out of the four games this is the least gory. In this game you play as the Oracle and in one instance you cut a guy with a knife a few times, then push him off a building and onto a car. There’s some blood on the car but you mostly see it from a distance. You also fire a gun at two people. You have the option to be violent with someone you’re interrogating, but it’s only punching, pushing, and knocking him out. The only other thing of note is you find a guy with severe burns that have distorted his face.
Language/Crude Humor: Unfortunately like the other games, this follows suit with the excessive swearing. Godd*** x3, Christ x2, a**hole x2, pissed x3, b**** x1, sh** x15, d*** x5, h*** x10, a** x2, the lord’s name in vain multiple times, plus nine f-bombs.
Sexual Content: None of note.
Drug/Alcohol Use: None of note.
Spiritual Content: Rose may mention something New Age over text and cognition is a supernatural ability though no mysticism is involved.
Other Negative Themes: You use trickery to reach some of your goals and have the option to be more violent.  You also make some decisions as the villain that result badly.
Positive Content: There are strong sibling relationships involved. The Oracle has a strong relationship with his/her brother. Erica also deals with doing the right thing and seeking revenge.

CognitionEpisode3TheOracle-7

 

Gameplay

The gameplay 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.
Unlike the previous two games, 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.
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.

Presentation

One thing I love about the Cognition games is that each one has a different feel. The first one is a typical crime thriller, the second is a race against time, and now the third installment has a haunted house feel. Though the house doesn’t have ghosts in the supernatural sense, it is filled with painful memories that Erica must discover if she is ever going to beat the Oracle and learn more about her cognition ability. The plot in this episode is loaded with so many mind-blowing twists that my mouth was constantly dropping open at the huge surprises.
The gameplay is particularly fun in this episode since you’re not playing as one character but two therefore you get to use two different types of abilities. Though Erica is our protagonist, The Oracle has the spotlight as we see into the killer’s past and discover why this person has stooped so low. I love the depth in character here as we see this killer is indeed human, but is warped by her/his personal trauma into something twisted. Erica could have easily gone this route after the death of her younger brother, but though she’s had her moments of darkness she’s stayed on the light path.
Many of our usual characters have taken the back seat as we delve into the Oracle’s life and see ghosts of his/her past either in the memories or in person. Skorobeus the mysterious housekeeper is the equivalent of our haunted house setting’s butler. Then the Oracle’s brothers also play a big role in this story. McAdams, John, and Rose play small roles as well.
The only negative things I could point out is the excessive swearing, which is the biggest annoyance in all of the games for me. There are a few glitches, but nothing horrible. Some of the walking around from place to place get tedious if you’re stuck.

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Conclusion

“The Oracle” is a thrilling tale full of mystery and danger and my personal favorite of the series. I didn’t care for the last game as much, but this one more than made up for it. If you’re a lover of crime stories with a spice of supernatural then this is a unique and suspenseful game that will hook you all the way to the end.

The Bottom Line

 

The Oracle is a thrilling tale full of mystery and danger and my personal favorite of the series. I didn't care for the last game as much, but this one more than made up for it. If you're a lover of crime stories with a spice of supernatural then this is a unique and suspenseful game that will hook you all the way to the end.

 

7.8

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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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