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Video Game: Cognition An Erica Reed Thriller

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is an Episodic Indie Adventure Game by Phoenix Online Studios, the people behind the King's Quest Fan Sequel, The Silver Lining.

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.
  • 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.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In the third and fourth episode, the player gains control of Cordelia Smith in several segments.
  • The Confidant:
    • John is the only other agent who knows about Erica's gift.
    • Rose is this to several people, including John and Erica.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Da Chief: Davis and McAdams.
  • Criminal Mind Games: The Cain Killer, the Oracle, and the Wise Monkey are all fond of these.
  • Finger in the Mail: Poor Sully ends up being at the receiving end of this, as the Oracle takes one of his eyes for Erica to find.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Rose.
  • Damsel in Distress: Conversed. Erica mentions in passing that she hated those kinds of stories as a child.
  • Dead All Along: Kelsey Gardner, the main suspect of the Wise Monkey case.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: John is mentioned to have an affinity for donuts.
  • 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.
  • Fiery Redhead/Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Erica, of course.
  • Hammerspace: As it is fare for adventure games. It is kept fairly realistic for the most part, but some moments stand out. The most egregious example of this is when Cordelia stuffs an orrery that about half her height and much wider than her into her shirt.
  • 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.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Erica. Lampshaded by Cordelia who notices how "natural" Erica looked when taking a flower from a grave.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: The Oracle.
  • Shout-Out: Terence asks Erica to do the Thief Sign from Quest for Glory when she asks him for a set of lockpicks.
  • Spiritual Successor: The developers has mentioned the Gabriel Knight series as a main inspiration, and Jane Jensen is indeed listed as a Story Consultant in the credits.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Clive Barker's UndyingWebsite/GOG.comColonization
Police QuestPolice ProceduralParadigm Shift
The Cat LadyAdventure GameErrand

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