Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is an Episodic Indie Adventure Game by Phoenix Online Studios, the people behind the King's QuestFan Sequel, The Silver Lining, with writing consulting by Jane Jensen of Gabriel Knight fame.In the games, the player assumes control of the titular character, an agent at FBI's Boston division, as she unravels complicated murder cases and chases serial killers, aided by her trusty partner John McCoy and her strange "cognition" ability, some sort of sixth sense that allows Erica to briefly glimpse into the past by touching objects there are imprinted with memories.So far, the following episodes have been announced:
Episode 1: The Hangman (Released October 30, 2012)
Episode 2: The Wise Monkey (Released January 30, 2013)
Episode 3: The Oracle (Released May 16, 2013)
Episode 4: The Cain Killer (Released September 19, 2013)
Action Prologue: The first episode opens with Erica and John trying to save her brother, Scott, from the Cain Killer.
Alas, Poor Villain: You almost start to feel sorry for the Cain Killer and the Oracle by the end.
All There in the Manual: The prequel comic contains the details of the Cain Killer's victims until Scott & Erica Reed. This is especially important for Episode 4, where you don't do detailed investigations of past incidents of a case like you had done for the Hangman and Wise Monkey.
American Accents: Considering it takes place in Boston, expect strong Boston accents.
Amoral Attorney: While it isn't shown if the Smith family's lawyer, Skorobeus, acts like one in court, he certainly is one outside of it.
Anti-Villain: For all the stuff that Cordelia does, the one thing she doesn't want is the death of Erica or anyone in her family.
Bastard Bastard: Keith Smith is also known as Jeff Therrien, who is Skorobeus' son, and is also known as the Cain Killer.
Batman Gambit: You have to get McAdams angry enough to grab Erica, thus allowing the use of regression on him. The whole plot is a larger one for Cordelia, as she is trying to make Erica kill Keith.
Cain and Abel: The Cain Killer was probably so named because of his focus on siblings. Turns out, it's because Keith acted as the "Cain" while Max was the "Abel".
Calling Card: The Wise Monkey leaves a music related sliver charm next to her victims, as well as sending them out to people she plans to target.
The Cast Showoff: The voice actress of Erica is also the lead singer for the Scarlet Furies.
Chekhov's Gunman: Cordelia, the woman who catches Erica stealing a flower, turns out to be the Oracle, and deeply involved in the whole plot.
The Chessmaster: Cordelia, to the point of exploiting her shared visions with Erica to make her shoot John. The Cain Killer one-ups them both, despite knowing that both Erica and Cordelia are psions.
Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Doesn't really come into play before Cordelia becomes playable, but her pre-cognition aura is colored light-orange to contrast with Erica's light-blue cognition aura.
Eye Scream: What The Wise Monkey does to some of their victims. It's done to Sully partially, albeit not by that particular killer, but another known as The Oracle. Also, the Wise Monkey themselves gets this treatment by the Oracle.
Ear Ache: What The Wise Monkey does to some of their victims. It's also done partially to Sully, again by The Oracle. Also done to The Wise Monkey themselves by The Oracle.
Hammerspace: As it is standard fare for adventure games. It is kept fairly realistic for the most part, but some moments stand out. Pretty much every item is compressed inside of Erica's shirt. The most egregious example of this is when Cordelia grabs an orrery that's about half her height and much wider than her, has to hoist it with both hands with difficulty, and stuff it into her skinny little abdomen.
I Know You Know I Know: Cordelia and Erica can see each other's visions. Cordelia manages to be one step ahead of Erica, though, most of the time.
It's Personal: The Cain Killer targets Erica and her brother. Then the Wise Monkey targets her love interest. Turns out it was Cordelia personally attacking Erica and everyone around her, the whole time.
Karma Meter: Episode 4 brings in a Trust Meter where saying the right thing raises people's trust which leads to multiple situations later on.
Power Incontinence: Erica's cognition has a tendency to get extra sensitive when she is emotionally distressed, causing her to involuntary use it in situations where it is very inconvenient for her.
Psychic Powers: DUH! It IS called Cognition, after all! Erica has these, specifically post-cognitition (the ability to see the past), while Cordelia has the opposite, pre-cognition (the ability to see into the future) as revealed in episode 3.
Recurring Boss: The boss of the first three episodes is the Oracle. The Cain Killer is the boss of both the prologue and Episode 4.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Erica is the red - hotheaded, not afraid to shout a Cluster F-Bomb to express herself, an Action Girl, etc. Cordelia is the blue - with a much more calm demeanor, getting sad rather than angry, making big plans, etc. Inverted for the colors of their powers, however.
Samus Is a Girl: An inverted villainous example. The Wise Monkey, who is assumed to be a female serial killer, turns out to be a man, more specifically the boyfriend of the main suspect, who, it turns out, was Dead All Along.
Moebius: Empire Rising is one to this game for being written by Jane Jensen, using the same (slightly buggy and awkward) engine, having a lot of detail in furniture and decorations, and an emphasis on psychic powers.
Start of Darkness: Episode 3 is one for Cordelia as well as Keith, aka the Cain Killer.
Tongue Trauma: What The Wise Monkey does to some of their victims. Done to The Wise Monkey themselves by The Oracle.
Turn in Your Badge: Erica does this in Episode 4. In the ending, she quits the FBI for good.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Erica is attracted to Sully, and it is indeed requited, but she prefers to keep a distance to him as her gift had a tendency to make her previous romantic relationships very awkward. While touching him, she can see him doing... typical... bro... things...
Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can do things like keep a poor grieving homeless guy in prison. There's even achievements for some of the crueller acts.