Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller - Episode 2: The Wise Monkey Review

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller - Episode 2: The Wise Monkey is the latest installment in the Cognition series, a 4 episode point and click adventure game developed by independent game dev Phoenix Online Studios in collaboration with Jane Jensen, veteran of games like Gabriel Knight and Gray Matter.

The story (which is the game’s best aspect) opens right after Episode 1 with Erica being removed from the case she was previously working due to her emotional involvement in it by the temp FBI director- Samuel McAdams. Almost immediately after this, her partner Sully is kidnapped. She suspects it could have something to do with her current case, a serial killer dubbed the “Wise Monkey”, a monster who removes the eyes, tongues and ears of her musically inclined victims. (Yes, she. Nice of Phoenix Online to mix it up a bit, eh?) The flow of events is at a great pace, and serves as a backdrop nicely to the emotional turmoil Erica is suffering.

In addition to Erica’s previous three psychic abilities, a new technique is introduced called synergy. Synergy allows Erica to view previous events that have taken place in the presence of three items that are all similar. For example, she can use her synergy ability on a notepad and two other items to view a phone number that as written down incorrectly. This ability is instrumental in solving Episode 2, as the puzzles are even more complex and confusing. You need some real ‘outside the box’ thinking for this one.

The hand-holding that is found in the Cognition series is fantastic. If you’re like me and would be a pretty crappy detective, you can always rely on Erica’s in-game hints or, should all else fail you can message her dad. Erica’s father will (while insulting you, on occasion) explain exactly what you should do. This is a wonderful game mechanic for those moments when you’ve tried everything, and have no sweet clue on how to proceed.

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