The Cain Killer is the fourth and final episode in Phoenix Online Studios’ Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller. Be sure to check out the previous episode reviews if you haven’t already.
This episode starts with a few scenes set prior to the events in the first episode, back when Erica was a rookie. It shows what Erica, and some other important characters were doing on the day a character was murdered. Additionally, as with the previous episodes a new mechanic is introduced. Your rapport with certain individuals is monitored and depending on the value they will react in different ways, so it is usually best to keep it high.
If the rapport is low, depending on the character Erica may end up being killed. Unlike the past episodes, there are a few gruesome deaths for Erica which you are bound to see at least once (unless you play perfectly!) which certainly adds to suspense now that the player cares for the character. This episode also differs by having a lot more action than previous episodes. Although there are a few scenes where there are some intricate puzzles to solve, you are otherwise thrown into many tense situations which I thought was fitting for the final act.
Once again, Erica is not the only character you will be playing as this episode. This time, you get to play two characters simultaneously. Both characters have different comments about the objects around them, so it is fun to hop from one another and see what the other has to say. Both characters have to be utilised to solve the puzzles, and you have to use both of the cognition powers.
Speaking of which, all of the abilities Erica has learnt from the previous episodes are used to solve different puzzles, often combining one or more abilities together. This is great, as it really does feel like both the player and Erica have learnt much about the power of post-cognition, and are able to use them without the need of much effort or tutorials.
As it is the finale, no new characters were introduced but the game kept up with it’s top notch voice acting and script. There seemed to be extended use of the comic-book style cutscenes which is very welcome. As usual, the music is beautiful, and I give proper respect to the composer(s) who have created such a wonderful soundtrack.
I have previously mentioned some animation issues in my other reviews, but I am glad to say that I did not encounter any of the sort in this latest episode. It is obvious to see that Phoenix Online Studios have put in a lot of work to iron-out any bugs and to produce a very stable game – with the game getting and feeling noticeably improved with each episode.
When I reviewed the first episode of Cognition, my initial impression was that Cognition would be a good game with an intriguing story. Cognition has exceeded those first impressions time and time again, with each episode introducing very interesting characters and situations, while consistently ironing out bugs and improving the gameplay. The conclusion to the series was very well done with a wonderful ending sequence that ties up all the loose ends, while still leaving me wondering about what other adventures Erica will get up to. All in all, I can think of a few series and other much bigger developers who could learn a thing or two from Phoenix Online Studios.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for Phoenix Online Studios
+ Satisfying conclusion to an interesting series
+ An interesting new gameplay addition
+ Best performing episode