Reviews»Gaming»Indie Games»Cognition Episode 3
Kareem Ali 4.5

Cognition Episode 3


  • The good

    Best episode in the series. Profound story and enjoyable new gameplay mechanic.

  • The bad

    Loading between interactions or transitions from one room to the next can be reduced

  • The ugly

  • Cognition Episode 3 – The Oracle is the latest episode in the story of FBI Agent Erica Reed’s life as she seeks to find answers regarding the string of murders that are somehow connected. (Spoilers ahead if you haven’t finished episode 2). This episode opens up with Erica in the hospital with the recently tortured Sully and her father arriving in the room. Erica receives a call from her partner John who tells her that he’ll be out of touch for a day or two looking into something at the Enthon Towers so not to look for him. However that’s where Erica requested a stake out for Cordelia and was approved unwittingly by Director McAdams. Erica’s father tells her about a murder that took place there years ago and that she can go check it out while he watches Sully. On her way to the Enthon Towers, Erica learns that the body that was dropped and landed on the police cruiser was Joey Goethals, aka the Wise Monkey. The mystery deepens when she arrives and talks to the officer on the scene because Director McAdams was already there and removed evidence from the scene and is in some rush to clear the crime scene completely at the urging of a mysterious person at the towers. After some manipulation Erica is able to get inside the towers and finds the spot where the Wise Monkey was thrown from the building. But that’s not all. She becomes locked in a vision and the Wise Monkey’s killer is talking directly to her while killing him.  And she discovers that not only does the killer have special cognitive powers similar to hers but that it’s none other than Cordelia. In this episode the mystery deepens and everything isn’t what it seems and it’s up to you as Erica to unravel the truth about the Enthon Towers.



    There are some big changes in this episode in terms of the gameplay compared to the first two episodes. The in-game hint system, which is treated as a text messages, changes from Erica’s father to Rose and this is the prompt given at the start of the actual gameplay. This is a minor change and I appreciate the touch and attention to detail for a gamer who uses that feature. I’m mentioning it because Rose is the one who helps Erica with her powers and the biggest change in this episode is that you will play as Cordelia, the killer, often in this episode and she has a power as well. And like Erica, Cordelia went to Rose for help with her power after being given Rose’s information from John. The next big change is this entire episode takes place in the Enthon Towers so no longer do you travel to different locations in Boston piecing puzzles together. Changing the location isn’t risky because it can lead to fresh gameplay with new things to explore. However changing the playable character more than halfway through an episodic game is risky if it’s done poorly. So I’m glad that I can say Phoenix Online Studios not only pulled it off but that episode 3 is the best episode so far in the series.

    If you’ve played every episode you’re aware that there has been an underlying connection and maybe you’ve even pieced together what was confirmed at the start of this episode. (Don’t worry, this review will remain spoiler-free).  And seeing as how this is the penultimate episode I’m very relieved that even though the mystery deepens there are real answers given so the last episode doesn’t just have to be an explanation of everything that occurred and can have entertaining gameplay as well. How does this episode pull it off? Through its gameplay mechanics.


    Erica still has her post-cognitive abilities from the first 2 episodes including Projection, Regression and Synergy. However in this episode there’s a new ability and one that is connected to the deliberate clues left behind for Erica to find. This ability allows Erica to see selectively into Cordelia’s past and relive certain parts of it. This is how you can switch between playing as Erica and Cordelia. It never felt like a gimmick because you’ll have to solve puzzles in both the past and the present to unravel the truth of what has been going on. And it’s a 2-way street so what Cordelia learns during these sequences Erica knows and vice-versa. So if you’re stuck in the past the answer to the puzzle might be in the present. And you don’t have to worry about being confined to the Enthon Towers because your phone now has a dossier courtesy of Terence and you receive documents including but not limited to older case files. Cordelia’s actual ability is to see in the future and not just when she comes in contact with other people. And as she learns from Rose there are some things that can be changed regarding the future. And activating Cordelia’s power is the same as Erica’s, which means you select the cognition sphere and then an item in the room it can be used on.

    And you’ll definitely need to use the combined abilities of Erica and Cordelia in the past and present to solve some of the puzzles in the game. Yes you’re confined to the Enthon Towers but there are different floors and rooms to explore and when you switch between characters they’ll be exactly where you left them when you switch back. I found this game play mechanic to not only be fresh but very enjoyable. It works very smoothly so I had no problems switching between characters nor did I get a feeling of “again?” when I considered that a solution might be in the past or present. There was an excellent combination of problem solving using Erica’s abilities in order to learn something new that would benefit Cordelia. Nor did the story suffer by taking place solely in the Enthon Towers. (I did feel that some of the transitions between interactions or entering a room did take a brief moment longer than I would have liked when loading and it was the same in the first 2 episodes.)


    And the reason is because the story itself was engrossing. As I mentioned earlier, answers were given in this episode in the form of exploring Cordelia’s history, her family and her motivations behind her actions and the killings. None of it felt superficial. Coming into this episode I wasn’t sure how it would play out when it was revealed you could play as the killer but the excellent story I won’t reveal here makes it clear why that was the case. Things that seemed to be minor are revealed to be important and your view of everything that has taken place will definitely change. Even Erica’s recurring vision of being shot is also answered in this episode and it raises even more questions for the final episode. There were definitely some powerful moments in this episode towards the end that gives more depth to the characters and it wasn’t due to shock value but very good writing and situations. Every time I solved a puzzle and more of the story was revealed I was left feeling satisfied and anxiously anticipated seeing and understanding more of what was going on. And like any good penultimate episode it created a perfect setup for a stunning and ultimately final episode.



    Cognition Episode 3 – The Oracle is an extremely enjoyable penultimate episode and even though it answers enough questions the mystery deepens enough to potentially setup an even more satisfying final episode. Being able to play as the killer works completely because it’s definitely not done gratuitously but to tell a more profound story and the new gameplay mechanics as a result make this episode entertaining throughout.  The puzzles can be challenging but they’re fun because they consist of more than just finding an item. And the evolution of Erica’s post-cognitive abilities has kept the use of it fresh even after 3 episodes. If you’ve played the first 2 episodes then this is definitely a must buy because it’s the best one yet and answers alot of questions from the first 2. If you still haven’t tried the Cognition series I highly recommend that you do because you’re missing out on excellent storytelling and enjoyable game play mechanics. Since I started the series after the first 2 episodes were released I never had to wait for the next one to be released before I could start playing it. Now I’m anxiously awaiting episode 4 and the conclusion of this storyline and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.


  • Gameplay ( 9.75 )
    Graphics ( 8.25 )
    Sound Quality ( 9 )
  • Total score 9.0

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