A promising future
Erica Reed is back for another mystery in Cognition: Episode 3: The Oracle. But as I found out, while playing the game, things aren’t always simple. The Oracle picked up immediately after the events in Episode 2: The Wise Monkey with Reed investigating what happened at Enthon Towers.
As I took the role of the red-headed FBI agent I started to track down the serial killer who had been leaving clues at crime scenes in the previous episodes. Although I had to do so while tiptoeing around Erica’s boss Samuel McAdams, who is still very annoying. At my disposal were Reed’s cognitive powers that allowed me to see into the past upon touching certain objects in this point-and-click game.
This time however, things are different as I not only played as Erica, but stepped into the killer’s shoes too.
Nothing grabs my interest more than an investigative thriller that allows me to see events through the eyes of the killer in an effort to discover why they have done what they did. And The Oracle doesn’t disappoint in this regard. As I progressed through the story I became more intrigued as certain information was given and the history of the killer was revealed.
Of course the story wouldn’t hold up so well if not for the lead’s fine voice acting provided by Raleigh Holmes, and with the killer’s voice actor doing a splendid job as well. In fact the voice acting in The Oracle, while still ranging from great to poor, improved from the previous episodes.
The trademark Cognition stylized, 3D comic book look is still present and continues to work well for the game. The text presentation, look of the game, and the cutscenes all reminded me of a comic book format.
In addition^, the music provided by Austin Haynes is superb and captures the atmosphere and feeling of the game. It was a significant part, even the highlight, of the game as I traversed from scene to scene trying to deduce what was happening, with the music providing the right style for each occasion.
Regarding the game’s layout nothing has really changed. The inventory system is the same and using your cellphone to contact your allies and gather information is there – although it also feels more limited.
There are some issues I had with the game. Every now and then I’d find myself stuck trying to figure out what I needed to do next. Sometimes this was attributed to an interruption of sequences by a scene where Reed would use her supernatural abilities to see the past. Other times it was due to my inability to deduce what needed to be done in order to continue on.
Such as with information about the cast of characters involved and the previous stories leading up to the third episode. I can’t help but feel that the game would benefit greatly from some kind of reference tool that Phoenix Online Studios could include. Something that gives a brief summary of the previous characters and plots. That way anyone who decided to jump into the third installment, without any prior knowledge, would be able to play without any confusion. While there is an introductory scene it isn’t clear enough to provide such necessary information.
Despite these minor issues I’d have to say that Cognition Episode 3: The Oracle is the best episode yet in the series. It kept me wanting to learn more about the game’s killer and kept me interested in the story as I made my way through the game.
Review copy provided
Tested on PC