The second episode of Cognition grabs you by the ankles and doesn’t let go.
I will admit that by the time I received a review copy of Cognition Episode 2: The Wise Monkey, I was still reeling from the ending of the first episode. I took no time in installing the new game and was playing it shortly after it was made available to me. I am happy to report that Episode 2 also did not disappoint.
The second episode of Cognition picks up just a short while after the end of the first episode. Boston FBI Agent Erica Reed (who is also a sort of psychic) has now suffered several great losses and is more pyschologically damaged than ever. But she can’t catch a break. Her next case has her attempting to track down The Wise Monkey – a serial killer who has been killing and chopping off parts of Berklee college students. Obviously, this is one of those cases that is not very pretty.
What I loved about Episode 2 is that you think something is one way, but it’s entirely different. But then it’s entirely different again. Without giving any major spoilers away, the story is a complex mystery wrapped in a conundrum and tied up with a bow of engima. But that’s the beauty of the Cognition stories so far – you never truly know what’s going on. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you realize you know absolutely nothing.
The story in Cognition Episode 2 also takes place in Boston – my old stomping ground. Most locations from Episode 2 are still available (and vital to gameplay), but a few new spots are thrown in for good measure. I did find that I didn’t seem to traipse around as much in this episode as the previous one, but I think it’s because I figured out that clicking on everything, as well as taking everything that isn’t nailed down, is a good strategy to have in these sorts of games.
I did find Episode 2 a bit more challenging than its predecessor. I got stuck once or twice and really had to think through how I could combine certain objects to proceed in the game. The final puzzle is definitely a brain-wracker and it took me several tries to get it right. Powers of observation in Cognition are probably the most important to have (even over psychic powers) and so it’s important to make note of every detail at every location.
Erica’s psychic powers, however, do come in handy in Episode 2. And fortunately, Erica gets a new power, Synergy, where she can link objects together in her inventory to see something that has already happened. This plays into several scenarios in the game and turns out to be very useful.
I did feel like Episode 1 had more “WTF” moments, but that doesn’t mean that Episode 2 didn’t leave my jaw hanging at times. At the beginning of Episode 2 you are thrown immediately into an absolutely crazy situation and the scene that goes down there leaves you breathless. It sets the tone for the rest of the game and stays with until the end.
All in all, Cognition Episode 2: The Wise Monkey is a good follow up to Cognition: Episode 1: The Hanging Man. It keeps the suspense going (especially with the first episode’s unresolved case) and leaves you wanting more at the end.
My final words? Oh, Sully…
Cognition Episode 2: The Wise Monkey is available now at the Phoenix Online Studios website. Episodes are $9.99 each, or you can buy all four for $29.99.
Don’t miss the Episode 2 launch party which starts today (January 30th) at 4 PM ET here. Not only will the Phoenix Online Team be joining the festivities at 5 PM, but Jane Jenson (story creator for the series, as well as the creator of the Gabriel Knight games) will also be present for the celebration.