Author Topic: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts  (Read 18003 times)

Offline KatieHal

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Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« on: September 19, 2013, 06:46:59 PM »
Let's hear it! This is official thread for your feedback and thoughts on Episode 4 and/or the season as a whole. Favorite puzzles, characters, the development of the story...what the future might hold! We'd love to know, so let's hear it!

And, obviously, SPOILERS WILL ABOUND! So you have been warned. :)

Katie Hallahan
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Offline jen

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2013, 12:43:37 AM »
Well, knowing I was going to get to download the last installment after work made my go go by faster, and I couldn't have been happier with the outcome.  The game was superb and the music was divine.

Kudos to the entire team!

Offline exegete

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2013, 08:42:56 AM »
I totally loved the first three episodes.  Spent many hours enraptured.  Would have happily paid double for them.

I posted here about my thoughts at the end of the third episode.

The fourth didn't really do it for me.  I still don't really understand what drove Cordelia to kill Davies (with such an elaborate setup!) and to form a desire to kill McAdams, only to be so easily talked out of it later.  I still don't really understand why Cordelia kept her half brother chained up in a basement for three years, including after he suffered extensive second or third degree burns.  I appreciate that it's possible that a person can become that warped - and somehow arrange things so that no one asks any questions - but I wasn't convinced by what was shown to us that Cordelia underwent that transition and made those arrangements.

I liked the intro scene with Jetta; that involved a new form of gameplay.  I didn't understand the kiss at all.  (Was that even referred to again?  There just didn't seem to be any foundation for it.  This isn't some kind of straight gamer prejudice - I'm gay, and it seemed totally out of place.  Bizarre.)  I also really liked how we could switch between Erica and Cordelia at will during the middle portion of the game; a great way to bring those two together.  The puzzle with the buttons and the trap pieces was nifty, but that was about the only challenge, and unfortunately largely the extent of the dual Erica/Cordelia gameplay.  The dialogue options at the end, where Erica's dad was on the line, were pure guesswork, which was a bit anti-climactic.  Why Keith would turn around at 'dad, do it!' and not at 'McAdams, use the gun!' is beyond me.  Her dad had been physically strapped in by Keith.  It's at least plausible that (the unbound) McAdams could have regained consciousness.

I encountered a number of bugs, but I didn't really care about that.  It was also really short.  Given the time that has passed since the third episode, nothing much would have changed had we been asked to wait a few more weeks.  I think that is more of a matter of managing expectations - I played this episode having formed expectations based on the previous three episodes.

Nevertheless, on the whole, an enjoyable series.  Please take the above as constructive rather than purely negative feedback.  I remain a happy customer.

Offline KatieHal

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2013, 09:18:59 AM »
Thanks exegate!

Re: Cordelia & Erica's kiss, we've been slowly building their relationship with the intention of there being a subtle flirtation in it from the start. No doubt some people have picked up on that more than others since it was never overt. So in this episode, knowing what the ending was especially, we decided to go for it. Though, you're right, no one refers to it directly, but it's meant to support Erica's statement that she's conflicted on how to feel about Cordelia overall.

Re: Cordelia, well, yeah, she's kind of messed up! After what Keith forced her to do to Max, serving time for it, her attempts to get help and almost no one believing her, she did indeed snap. Her trap for Davies was intended to give Davies one last chance to follow a lead, but she didn't and so to Cordelia, she failed yet again. No one's saying she was right to do so--Cordelia's a very intentionally grey character. The reason she locked up her brother was, as she tells Erica, because she couldn't bring herself to kill another brother, and due to her visions, she was convinced that was Erica's task, not hers. Throughout this Episode and their interactions, obviously, things changed for her.

And that's a lot of what Erica is talking about in the end as well--Cordelia's visions, and the lack of support she had when she saw Max dying, are what drove her kind off the rails. I don't think I'd call her fully insane, but it definitely screwed her up. It's not the first time in the world this has happened either, as shown by Bao Thanh's story. And Erica wants to do what she can to stop that from happening to others if she can, at the end of the game.

Oh, and turning around for saying her dad was the one with the gun, to me it was because her dad being the one with the gun would be the most shocking one of all. :)

Katie Hallahan
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Offline jen

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2013, 12:48:35 PM »
I do have a question, is there going to be another soundtrack?  I love the music from all four games, and honestly, I would love to use some from #4 as ringtones for my phone

Offline KatieHal

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2013, 12:57:46 PM »
We are working on a "Best of" soundtrack to release at some point later this year. :)

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

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Offline Jack Stryker

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2013, 12:59:02 PM »
I already posted my thoughts, but Exegete reminded me of two things I forgot to mention.

1.  Unless I heard it wrong, the conversation between Erica and McAdams in the car seemed to imply that Jetta was killed in that mission at the beginning, when I seem to recall her getting away.  Were they referring to a different mission?

2.  I'm kind of surprised at how easily Erica was able to pull her feet out of those leg restraints, before grabbing Cain with her legs.  And why would she put them back in after he left?

Offline LordBT

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2013, 01:11:53 PM »
Episode 4:

I agree with exegees post about Cordelia. I just don't get why she did these things. I feel a bit of her motivation is just missing from the story.  Same thing about the graveyard scene and kiss as well.

I liked the trust-mechanic. But I wish it could have been used a bit more in a cooler more interesting way. It almost did it for me, but my impression in the end is that the idea was somewhat better than the execution of it.

Rose is boring. Even the most interesting Rose sequence in the entire game didn't engage me.

McAdams finally came true as a believable character. Liked his dialogue this time.

The episode had good flow. Something was always going on. It could at times feel a bit railroady (because it was), but all in all a good experience.

Meeting McAdams at the end after Keith and Cordelias deaths was one of the absolutely worst parts of the entire game. It was like an old  console game "YOU WIN, CONGRATULATIONS!"-screen. I so wish that entire scene had been dropped or rewritten.

Didn't like that John was mentioned what felt like a gazillion times, without anyone telling us what happened to him. It was so obvious that you wanted to keep us wondering if he was dead or not.

Puzzles were a bit straightforward. Not all of them that engaging and fun as in the previous episodes. Especially the regression puzzles disappointed me.


This post came out mostly negative, but overall i liked and enjoyed the episode. It was fun that the drive in it was totally different than the rest, it was suspenseful most of the time, like playing through a thriller. I just wish some of the details were better done.

Offline jen

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2013, 01:16:55 PM »
Awesome :D  Thanks, Katie

Offline Cez

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2013, 02:54:42 PM »
1.  Unless I heard it wrong, the conversation between Erica and McAdams in the car seemed to imply that Jetta was killed in that mission at the beginning, when I seem to recall her getting away.  Were they referring to a different mission?


It's all part of the choices made in the game. Jetta's destiny is pretty much in your hands. Just as other stuff towards the end. The trust system is not just an empty addition, it controls some pretty big choices and outcomes.

Also, for your second question, it was Cordelia who tied Erica up. And she didn't, really :)


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Offline Cognition1234

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2013, 11:14:20 AM »
I really liked episode 4!
But it has a lot of technical problems and glitches, please try to fix this in your next games - especially in Moebius :)

The story was amazing in my opinion. I feel like I'm in Erica's shoes, having all the worries she had in this episode.
I think that Cordelia isn't a believable character, I don't really understand all of her motives.

As for John:
Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):

Offline SilverBall10

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2013, 02:43:22 PM »
Sully's lunch bag says "IL barboncino rosa", which means "the pink poodle (dog)".
I noticed those italian words there, but I don't know that place  :rofl:
Italy rules!  :suffer:

Offline ePavinato

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2013, 04:51:50 AM »
That's true, SilverBall10, and it was completely intentional.

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Offline SilverBall10

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2013, 06:22:10 AM »

Offline smoothsailing

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2013, 11:26:51 AM »
Hi everyone,

Just finished episode 4.  I'd like to say first and foremost that I have really enjoyed the game overall. I'm really glad I backed your project and I would LOVE to see a season two for Erica - I liked her character, the puzzles and innovative gameplay. Given how Cognition ends, I have the feeling the door is somewhat left open and I'm hoping I'm right :)

Now, that being said... I'm afraid I'll have to agree with some of the comments posted above and more particularly by exegete. There are a few things that I have really enjoyed, but overall, I'm a little (only a little really) disappointed.

I really liked the introduction scene, and the different choices which were given throughout the game (ha, that old thrill you feel when you know things are about to get awry - without having to frantically  save every second  ;)). The interaction/collaboration between Cordelia and Erica in real time was awesome.

But the overall feeling is... I don't know, it felt somewhat rushed compared to the other episodes. I felt some transitions between some scenes were missing and some aspects of the story are left with some questions marks - Skorebeus, McAdams, John, even Keith... I guess I expected some more development on their characters. The only exception being Rose (I may be the only one but I love Rose and liked her story very much!).

To end on a positive note - this time I played the game through Steam (yay!) and appreciated the fact that you could jump to episode 4 right away without having to replay everything (which I intend to do at some point anyway, but I was too eager to play episode 4 ;)). I liked the achievement notifications popping in ;)

Just like exegete said, I loved the game, just expected maybe something more out of the final episode. And, I'll say it again - if there is a sequel to the game, count me in :)

Offline agewisdom

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2013, 12:20:42 PM »
Just finished the final episode of Erica Reed. Overall I have quite a lot of mixed feelings about it:

1. Pacing issues
Overall, I think Episode 1 & 3 were the best. I feel Episode 4 suffered a lot in terms of pacing. There wasn't a lot to the story and it felt quite a bit like a mop-up operation. My feeling was that it was more like an extended epilogue.

2. Mystery and Revelations
There was too little in Episode 4 in explaining what Cordelia went through and why she turned into a serial killer herself. Fleshing out her more thoroughly, perhaps through flashbacks as to why and how she tracked and eliminated the serial killers in Episode 1 & 2 would have been interesting. It would also be a great incentive for players to go back to Episode 1 & 2 to replay the game to gain a better insight.

Also, since the game was so short, it might have been better to extend the game to answer some questions like:
(a) When and how did the Cain Killer realize about the Psion's powers?
(b) Have more dialog between Cordelia and the Cain Killer to explore their relationship after the Max incident?
(c) Expand a little more of the Psion organization that seems to be monitoring Erica and Cordelia.

***
Overall, the entire 4 Episodes forms a great and mature adventure game. I guess there's only 2 problems I have:

(a) Lack of cohesiveness of game-play
The episodic nature and the lack of an overarching game mechanic really shows. Whilst it was great to bring something new to every episode, this resulted in earlier cognition powers being ignored for ones introduced in later episodes. In the final Episode, yet another mechanic was introduced which had nothing to do with Cognition powers. Whilst interesting, I didn't feel it added a lot to the game. Perhaps it would have more gravitas if it was introduced earlier all the way back in Episode 2 or 3. And, the indicator wouldn't really be necessary since it's more or less obvious what sort of responses would find favor with the characters or otherwise.

(b) Too tightly focused and lack of buildup
Perhaps this was due to a tight budget and the episodic nature of the game. It might have been better if there were some side activities such as a slower buildup in the game. For instance, in Episode 1, if Erica started investigating the Cain cases and was interacting with her Dad and brother in the course of the game, the shock of him being kidnapped by the very Cain Killer she was investigating would have a greater impact. Bringing Cordelia and the Cain Killer, with a bigger role in earlier episodes would also be interesting. Although the prologue for Episode 1 really grabbed me by the neck, it would have been so much better if the context was set-up properly first.

Still I'd rate the entire series an A and hope you'll continue with the Erica Reed series :)

Offline Rinu

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2013, 04:11:52 PM »
(a) When and how did the Cain Killer realize about the Psion's powers?
Cordelia told him about them already when Max lived.
I assume that he found out about Erica's powers thanks to Cordelia because Erica asked Cordelia at the basement about previous murders and Cordelia admitted that Cain Killer helped her with plans. And since some of these were based on Erica's abilities...

Offline agewisdom

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2013, 08:06:10 PM »
(a) When and how did the Cain Killer realize about the Psion's powers?
Cordelia told him about them already when Max lived.
I assume that he found out about Erica's powers thanks to Cordelia because Erica asked Cordelia at the basement about previous murders and Cordelia admitted that Cain Killer helped her with plans. And since some of these were based on Erica's abilities...

Ah... yes, now I remember, thanks! Still, since these plans were quite intricate - I would have preferred it to be fleshed out more. Also, the Cain Killer turned out to be one dimensional. Somehow, I was expecting episode 4 to show more about him and his motivations via flashbacks rather than a relatively short conversation pieces.

Offline Jack Stryker

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2013, 08:20:06 PM »

It's all part of the choices made in the game. Jetta's destiny is pretty much in your hands. Just as other stuff towards the end. The trust system is not just an empty addition, it controls some pretty big choices and outcomes.

Err... you misunderstand.  What I mean is... I kept Stelios from shooting Jetta, and yet McAdams says, "You did your best to protect her."  Maybe I'm just being picky, but that sounds to me like "You tried, but she died."  No, she didn't.  I saw her run away with my own eyes.

Offline doctor_kaz

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Re: Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2013, 06:59:07 PM »
Here are my thoughts on the season:

I really liked how it worked in Episodes 1 and 2 when each episode was sort of a self-contained story that fit into a larger whole.  It must be really hard to do this, as almost no other series (outside of Sam and Max) has managed to pull it off.  I liked how those episodes had a compelling murder mystery that was only tangentially related to the Cain Killer case.  It was fun solving those cases.  Erica has a personal connection to the story, but she also has her job to do.  When the series deviated from that format in Episode 3 and 4, I got a little less enjoyment out of those.  I liked being able to travel around the city map in Episodes 1 and 2 also. 

I think that the point-and-click gameplay really shined more and more as more and more psychic powers were layered into the game.  I was kind of underwhelmed by the gameplay in the first episode, but it grew on me as the series went and the gameplay started to feel more like detective work.  The puzzles stayed on the logical side and they didn't require me to contort my brain to try and figure them out.  But the solutions also weren't so obvious that there was no satisfaction to solving them.  I am playing an adventure game right now called Memoria that I am not enjoying very much because it fails in this area.  If there is more Erica Reed in the future, I hope that you guys will still make the psychic detective, point-and-click gameplay the foundation for it and never forget your meat and potatoes. 

Episode 4 -- man, I have really mixed feelings.  On one hand, I applaud you guys for making some ambitious attempts to expand on the gameplay.  On the other hand, the new stuff in this episode failed badly (in my opinion).  There were so many scenes where it seemed like the dialog choices weren't really choices.  The interrogation of the scuzzy lawyer, for example.  Was there supposed to be a viable alternative other than making him pass out?  And the scene where Cordelia first confronts Keith.  Is there any viable alternative to choosing the empathetic kiss-ass option for every choice?  If not, then what's the point? And then the ending fight was a real clunker.   It goes against every instinct I have to say this, but this is one case where I think that the episode would have been better if you guys had stuck to its roots and emphasized puzzle-based detective work instead of the new stuff.  (But I'm glad that you guys err on the side of being unpredictable and ambitious.)

I loved the story and the characters.  They were very well developed and they had realistic emotions and flaws.  The art style was a huge asset in bringing life to them and also adding an extremely gruesome edge to the crimes.  I'm glad that you pulled no punches there.  The music was also excellent at setting the somber mood of the season.  The one persistent issue that I had with this season though was that the dialog was painfully corny and clichéd in some places.  Like Erica's heated exchanges with her bosses.  Now that the season is over, I have to ask -- was this the intention?


Overall, I liked it quite a bit.  I'm really looking forward to season 2.  Maybe Erica will be a private detective solving cases that the FBI bungles?  Whatever you decide, take your time. 
 

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