Author Topic: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts  (Read 26206 times)

Offline AlexeyT

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« Reply #100 on: June 06, 2013, 06:44:55 AM »
An issue with EP1..3 is "stone hairs" or Erica. Pls make em "soft", "natural".
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Offline Rinu

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #101 on: June 15, 2013, 04:25:02 PM »
I finished the game tonight and wow, where can I get your autographs? :P Each episode gets better and leaves me satisfied.

What did I like:
  • Better optimization - Episode 1 suffered from lags. I had to wait seconds for cursor to reappear sometimes. Or dealt with not triggering something correctly (specifically the jar question in The Wise Monkey). Not in The Oracle. This time it was rather smooth experience. Also I welcomed a lot that you changed an interaction with exit points.
  • Soundtrack - Delicious. It adds much to the mood. I hope you plan to release a Complete Edition.
  • Art - Very distinct and stylish. It reminds me of Remedy's Max Payne.
  • Psi powers - This gameplay feature is something I like about Cognition a lot. It spices the game up in the same way Blackwell's cross-reference does. I'm always hungry to find another "weak spot in the space".
  • Puzzles - A lot of different ones topped by one challenging puzzle. Such combination is motivating. I dig that everything makes sense and there isn't some crazy inventory mojo.
  • Humour - I'm not sure if it's me or the game but I like how Cognition starts playing jokes on itself or what happened earlier. Or when it just pokes fun at tropes like damseling. I know it was always there, I thought it's worth mentioning.
  • Tension - While a majority of game was slow-paced, Erica-Cordelia moments built the athmosphere rather quickly. I anticipated that Cordelia is, well, the one yet their interaction kept me in suspense. And the final scene where Erica is slowly coming through the long corridor... Priceless.
  • "Don't disappoint me" moment - I adore it! So much "It's Us Time now! Let's play hard".
  • Cordelia's diary - It was great to read everything. I was already at awe how well everything was interconnected and carefully planned but this was an icing on the cake.

What didn't work so well / What I would like to see:
  • Erica's aggression - I do understand that it's a part of her personality. I still have a hard time to watch her yelling at her boss or calling suspects "jerks". Former would have led to disciplinary proceedings IMO and later seems very unprofessional. I mean, what would you have thought of police officer behaving this way? Calling you names, threatening you to abuse their powers (I admit this was the case of 2nd episode).
  • Solo investigation / Empty crime scene - I don't know how things are at Boston but if something bad happens, there are always rubbernecks. Time doesn't matter. I liked the first crime scene in The Wise Monkey. It makes sense that you need a variety of specialists to investigate the scene and while Erica arrived at the first one here in The Oracle, it kind of expanded the Cognition issue an FBI agent operating alone in areas important for investigation or visiting dangerous places alone. There is safety in numbers and I think FBI isn't any exception. It broke an immersion a bit.
  • Emotional scale - While I welcome that this isn't emotionless FBI Hopkins, sometimes emotions are just everywhere in Cognition. Yes, it's about friends and loved ones. But when exclamations are flying around often, it looses its effectiveness and makes me smile a little.
  • John's casualness - Again, this might be my illusion but is a member of FBI that laid-back regarding his job? Watching football match at work and waving cases aside was little bit too convenient for the plot. It's the same with McAdams. They both serve as plot delayers so far. I guess McAdams' blocking is a part of plot which will be uncovered in EP5 however it's weird for him to sabotage every evidence despite one FBI officer being killed and other laying in hospital bed.
  • Touching evidence - This is actually EP1&2 issue. Officers tend to touch evidence without securing it first. They seems to go against rules regularly and without much thought.
  • A lack of psi combination - I missed combining clues in PSI mode a little.
  • PC unlocked screen - This is related to 1st and 2nd episodes mostly but it happens at the beginning of 3rd. When Erica approached her computer at work, the screen is unlocked. My guess is that when private companies train their employees to lock it every time they are gone, this organization will be similarly diligent. Security first.
  • A subcategory of this trope - I know the whole "We all actually knew each other" plot is intentional but I see it way too often and - Pardon me, I will be blunt here - I consider it to be a story shortcut. It's not a party breaker, though.
  • Davies death basically meant that Cognition became "Caucasian show". It isn't an issue but it was saddening given that this race takes only 50% of Bostonian population.

What I saw coming:
  • Cordelia - She has been my tip from 1st episode :D.
    • Way too friendly towards Erica
    • Erica basically gave her briefing on their investigation and thus gave her a feedback
    • She knew Rose (-> Psion)
    • She was a subject of failed investigation led by Erica's department
    • She was the only one who saw the burned guy.
  • Keith - It started clicking when Erica's past visions started and he made it clear he likes to construct complex (soon-to-be-torturing) toys. It crossed my mind that the villain had to make a sound when Erica set him on fire revealing his/her gender but you misled me about his existence by Cordelia's No.5.

What totally shocked me (I like wording ^_^):
  • John's role in the end - Does Cordelia have the ability to pick a certain aspect from one of future branches and apply it to the desired one? Is the time paradox prevented by this ability? What does the mastermind plan to do next?
  • The idea how twisted relationship between Cordelia and Keith might be :o
  • The finale I expected to be the series' finale hit the ground now - It was the biggest surprise.

I enjoyed The Oracle a lot and I can't wait to see what you are up to. And I'm sorry for the wall of text and probably many typos!

Offline KatieHal

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #102 on: June 16, 2013, 07:03:32 AM »
That was an awesome post! Seriously, thanks for all the breakdown on what you thought of the episode. It's really helpful for us to read everything people liked and didn't, what we hid well or what surprised you, etc. :)

Yeah, unintentionally the game got a little Caucasian heavy. We've tried to make up for that in the supporting cast somewhat. In a number of cases, though, people being related or needing to look similar made it necessary to not diversify as much as we would've liked.

Thanks again for the post & feedback!

Katie Hallahan
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Offline Big C from Cauney island

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #103 on: June 29, 2013, 01:11:00 PM »
Absolutely superb cliff hanger!!!! And all around great story. You are definitely proving to be a good adventure gaming team. Great story telling.

Offline riker1

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #104 on: June 29, 2013, 03:55:39 PM »
Great work again guys. I really love the story; it draws you right in. You really feel the emotion of the game as you play it and that is the strong suit to the Cognition series. The quality of the story and how it makes the player feel is top notch. The minor changes in the interaction between characters (phone options, Rose instead of Dad, etc.) and the graphics upgrades as well made this episode fresh and not just a continuation of the same exact game. The puzzles were much better this episode. Although they are still lacking a bit for us adventure gamers who really enjoy puzzles/riddles along the way (Keep working at them!). I at least had a page of handwritten notes for this episode, whereas the previous episodes I did not. I can't wait to continue to play games from POS. Keep up the great work and thanks for a great product.

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Offline baltie

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #105 on: July 02, 2013, 05:00:42 PM »
Just finished all three episodes. Cannot wait for the fourth. I have to say I have really loved these episodes. Thank you for your efforts!

I guess it might be because of the compressed time I played the game, especially the third episode, but I really didn't see the big revelation with Keith being the Cain killer until it suddenly clicked working on the Le Pendu. At first I didn't understand why it asked for five letters. Jeff had only four. Anyway, that would really have been too easy. Then I tried Smith. Thanks for having the option to enter that, nice touch. :) I actually thought that might be the answer. When that didn't work out, I pulled back a little, went over the documents, thought about it and suddenly it dawned on me. And with that, all the implications and I actually thought "DAMN, he's with John!". I was really into the story at this point.

At the last sequence, I just was saddened. I saw it was a different person than in the earlier visions, and I thought "oh no, she's going to shoot John... :(".

All said, in my opinion, the third episode was the best. I liked the first episode, especially the length and the different ways you could play it with regard to attitude towards Rose, etc. I liked the second episode, it was grittier and a darker story, also more tight. And I loved the third. It was focused, the story-telling was even better with some big surprises (for me). I hadn't even caught on to the fact that it was Cordelia who was behind all this before this episode. I did have a nagging suspicion, but I kept ignoring it. I liked Cordelia. ;)

I also loved the back and forth between Cordelia and Erica. It was a great way of telling her story. I hope there will be more of this in the final episode.

Really looking forward to the last episode now. :)

Offline KatieHal

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #106 on: July 02, 2013, 09:47:22 PM »
Hello & welcome to the forums, baltie! And thank you! Awesome to hear you're enjoying the game so much, and nice work catching the differences between the vision and the ending cutscene. :)

Katie Hallahan
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Offline Annica88

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #107 on: July 13, 2013, 03:58:38 PM »
Hello. I'm a big fan of Cognition and I think this is the best episode, just after the first. My pros and cons.
Pros:
+ story
+ great continuation of some threads
+ possibility of playing another character
+ some new improvements to the gamplay
+ less bugs
+ soundtrack and voice acting
+ the ending!

Cons:
- still some problems with characters' animation
- not so many locations
- I must wait for the fourth episode and I don't want this to be the end :(

Offline KatieHal

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #108 on: July 13, 2013, 10:43:48 PM »
Hi Annica, welcome to the boards and thanks for posting your feedback! Great to see you're enjoying the game :)

I'm curious, by "not so many locations" as a con, do you mean there are too many or not enough?

Katie Hallahan
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"Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix." Christina Baldwin

I have a blog!

Offline Annica88

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #109 on: July 19, 2013, 07:08:07 AM »
Hi Annica, welcome to the boards and thanks for posting your feedback! Great to see you're enjoying the game :)

I'm curious, by "not so many locations" as a con, do you mean there are too many or not enough?

Okay, maybe it's because of my English :) . I mean that everything is based on this one building. I know, this has it's own, great atmosphere, but maybe it would be a little better with some other locations. Can't wait for episode 4! I wrote this on facebook and youtube also, but I sincerely think that Cognition is one of the best (if not the best) adventure/criminal game of last decade. I hope there will be season 2.

Offline KatieHal

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #110 on: July 19, 2013, 07:57:29 AM »
You're English is quiet good, actually :) It's a phrase anyone might use, I just wasn't sure which way you meant it. Yeah, that was definitely a big change in Episode 3, but it was what worked for the story--the plot's tightening in on itself, especially in that Ep.

Thank you so much! We all really hope we can do a Season 2, too! :)

Katie Hallahan
~Designer, PR Director~

"Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix." Christina Baldwin

I have a blog!

Offline smoothsailing

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #111 on: July 20, 2013, 05:43:13 AM »
Just finished playing episode 3 (yes, i'm a little bit late to the party, but then it makes the wait for the next episode seem shorter :P).
What can I say? Back when I played episode 1 I think I wrote on the forum that I really liked how Erica's powers could be used. I thought it was pretty original and brought something I had never seen before in adventure games. What you did with this episode - getting Erica to not only see Cordelia but also use her powers - was really mind-blowing and took everything, again, to another level. I was impressed by all the "cognition within cognition" puzzles and really enjoyed them.

The things I didn't enjoy as much:
- Too short  8)
- I know some people liked how this episode took place in only one, new location. However, I felt a bit constrained by it (I love driving around Boston to different locations!) even though I enjoyed the new scenes to explore, of course. I missed the office. :)
- Minor bug with the telephone/usb camera (if I tried to plug in the camera first, it wouldn't let me press the button anymore. I  had to exit the screen, go back again and press the button first.).
- It didn't bother me in previous episodes, but this time I've found Erica's swearing to be unnecessary and a bit irksome. I even felt it had an impact on the credibility of some scenes, like when she  called Skorobeus "a******". It made her seem very arrogant and unprofessional, too. And this comment comes from someone whose mother tongue (French) is much more permissive of swearing than English  ;D
- Chronology - maybe it's just me but I was left a bit confused at times (I should take more notes, probably) as to when some events happened, going back and forth the different visions.

Story-wise:
- Love how everything unfolds. I need to play all the episodes again because my memory sucks though ;)
- For some reason I didn't expect Cordelia to be from a well-off background. This put me off at first because it really didn't click with the background I had in mind for her character. Didn't last long (was too busy inspecting every corner of her wonderful apartment ;))
- Didn't see the Cain killer's identity coming until the end (major *facepalm* to myself for not even picking up the obvious clues - hello, you've got someone who likes inventing weird, complex machines, maybe that should ring a bell?!!)

Questions, thoughts...
- I've read the whole thread and while it seems most comments focus on Cordelia (great character, still haven't decided whether I like her or not!), I wonder much more about John's motives and identity. Actually, I've been wondering about him since episode 1 (why did he need Rose in the first place? In each episode we're told he knows her because he's had to fix some "issues". What are those issues?) Now with all the information we have at the end of Ep. 3, it has got me even more intrigued. I don't know, I just feel there's still much to discover about him.  :)

Offline Annica88

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #112 on: July 20, 2013, 08:40:35 AM »
You're English is quiet good, actually :) It's a phrase anyone might use, I just wasn't sure which way you meant it. Yeah, that was definitely a big change in Episode 3, but it was what worked for the story--the plot's tightening in on itself, especially in that Ep.

Thank you so much! We all really hope we can do a Season 2, too! :)

Oh, it's great then :) . Maybe now you can evaluate "my" work? I'm making let's play for polish players and one of my friend decided to make an intro for the rest of my work. What do you think? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_3cwrMSJ74

Offline KatieHal

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #113 on: July 20, 2013, 01:21:20 PM »
Very cool, Annica, I like it! :)

Hi smoothsailing! Thank you for the feedback & comments :) Erica's swearing does jump up in use sometimes, and I definitely understand that some folks don't like it much. For us, we found it realistic both for her personality in the first place, and also, she's a had really long few days that have gone poorly and she's barely slept. I know I tend to curse more when I'm in a bad mood and exhausted ;) But hey, to each their own. I'm glad it didn't ruin the story for you and that you're still enjoying the game overall.

As for John's issues, I always figured he was referring to just dealing with the things he sees on the job and also his divorce, but you never know, maybe there's something else we don't yet know about his background.  :suffer:

Katie Hallahan
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Offline exegete

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #114 on: August 31, 2013, 11:04:51 PM »
I've loved the whole series so far, it's been absolutely gripping.  Thanks for giving us such a great experience.  Don't let the questions in this post detract from that initial very positive feedback!

There are a number of things in the latest episode that didn't make much sense to me:

1.  Erica's vision shows her getting shot if she goes through the broken wall in the basement and picks up the gun.  Once she had figured out who the Cain killer was, why did she choose to go exploring down there alone when there was absolutely no need to do so?  (Unless this has something to do with whatever was inside the Le Pendu.)

2.  Once she'd ventured past the broken basement wall, why did she pick up the gun?  Why did she try to use it to shoot the intruder?  She doesn't know why the gun is there or where it came from; she knows it's not her own gun; she doesn't know whether it's loaded or calibrated or whether it even works; and most importantly, she knows she still has her own gun with her (which she'd brandished in the previous cut-scene with John).  I don't understand why a trained FBI agent who thinks someone is about to shoot her would ignore her own gun and randomly try to use a weapon she finds on a basement floor.  Sure, she picks it up in the vision, but given that in her vision she also dies immediately afterwards, you'd think she would not want to rely on that gun to protect herself.

3.  Why has Cordelia flipped out so badly that she is trying to kill FBI agents?  Based on what we've seen so far, it seems probable (although not certain) that it was Keith who trapped Cordelia and Max in the 'only his life can save yours' death machine, and that Cordelia knows it was Keith.  No doubt that is a terrifying and traumatic experience that resulted in a whole lot of PTSD for Cordelia, but exactly how does what she could justifiably feel against Keith at that point get transferred to the whole of the FBI force?  There seems to be a suggestion that it was because John initially didn't believe her premonitions, but Cordelia herself accepted that to be a reasonable response from John at the time, and we know from John's kitchen counter note that notwithstanding his initial scepticism he did investigate the case and took it as far as he could.  It also seems pretty obvious that there is nothing John could really have done.  I feel like Cordelia needs to be able to say with some conviction "John [or another FBI agent] should have done X", where "X" would (or even might) have saved Max.  McAdams' "deliberate" misfiling incident hasn't been explained but it seems unlikely that will provide a sufficient foundation, unless perhaps it forms part of some kind of systemic incompetence/corruption amongst Boston FBI officers, which Cordelia knows about and believes is connected with Max's death.

So as you can probably tell, I am not really sold on the 'Cordelia as evil mastermind' explanation.  I thought at the end of ep3 it remained plausible that all of the 'evidence' we had found against Cordelia (journal, files, etc) had either been planted by someone else (eg Skorobeus) or collected by Cordelia as part of her own parallel premonition-based investigation into the real killer (eg Keith, or Skorobeus, or someone else).  None of the visions from either Erica or Cordelia have definitively shown Cordelia doing anything bad.  But comments in this thread seem to confirm that she is a killer.  [Edit: And also in the theories thread, where the shadowy figure in the prequel comic is confirmed to be Cordelia.]

I suppose there is always the outside possibility of some kind of split personality disorder brought on by Keith forcing her to kill Max, but there would still need to be some basis for why the second personality feels so much animosity towards the FBI.

(Also, mainly because of the above, Keith's (apparent) involvement came as a total surprise to me, although I had guessed that Therrien might be a child or relative of Skorobeus.  I found the puzzles in this episode much easier than in the first two episodes, probably because there were fewer scenes in which the solution or parts of it could be hidden.  Still enjoyed though.)
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 11:14:27 PM by exegete »

Offline KatieHal

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #115 on: September 01, 2013, 11:33:36 AM »
Hi exegate and welcome to the forums! Thanks for the feedback :)

To offer what answers I can--more on Cordelia's thought process happens in Episode 4, so I'll stay away from saying too much there. As for Erica and the vision coming true--I'd say she isn't thinking as clearly as she'd like at the end of Episode 3. She's spent the lat few hours realizing what happened in the past, that Cordelia is the one who's been killing and harming her co-workers, that her trusted partner has lied to her and that maybe Scott could've been saved, and then she's just realized that the Cain Killer was in her grasp and she let him go. Then the lights are flickering, she knows someone here wants to kill her, and she's spent the last few days in some similarly stressful situations. And not slept much. I wouldn't be at the top of my game either! When she sees and picks up the gun, she tries to stop what she thinks she knows is coming--her own death. And Erica is reckless at the best of times to boot.

The fallout of this, too, will come in Episode 4--Erica has to deal with what's happened, her mistakes and the consequences of them.

Katie Hallahan
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Offline Huntress

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Re: Episode 3: Feedback and Thoughts
« Reply #116 on: September 04, 2013, 07:41:24 PM »
Her notes makes it clear that she has developed a full-on Light Yagami complex, except that she has taken that step that Light himself only toyed with the thought of taking; namely killing people for being "lazy".

A gold star for making a "Death Note" reference.