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Episode 4/Full Season Feedback & Thoughts

Started by KatieHal, September 19, 2013, 06:46:59 PM

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Jack Stryker

QuoteThe interrogation of the scuzzy lawyer, for example.  Was there supposed to be a viable alternative other than making him pass out? 

Actually, yes.  Once you've got him against the wall, you can exit the conversation and use cognition on him.  Much more fun in my opinion too.


Quote from: doctor_kaz on September 24, 2013, 06:59:07 PMI'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.
I think this is a great idea  :)


Thanks for the feedback, kaz! I'm glad you enjoyed the game overall, even if Episode 4 was a mixed bag for you; and we do appreciate hearing what people think either way, it's very helpful.

We do have some ideas for Season 2 should we make one...but more than that, I won't say!  :suffer:

Katie Hallahan
~Designer, PR Director~

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

I have a blog!


Episode 4 - I'm with some of the others in that I think it's a bit too short and the puzzles are fairly straightforward for the most part, for better and worse.  The interplay between Cordelia and Erica is the main drive of this episode, and it comes across well.  Not a huge fan of the end fight, though seeing it ultimately play out is satisfying after all that's gone down.  I think the general resolution of the story is solid though Cordelia's move at the end seems kind of flimsy at that point, I'd rather it have gone a different route.  Her escaping and serving some kind of penance within the Psion community perhaps.  But overall a solid finish and it certainly leaves room for Erica to serve as your classic Supernatural PI or something to that effect in further games of the series(which I hope happens).

Full Series - The series on the whole is very good, with a well-told story, generally good puzzles, art style, and general good voice acting with Holmes as the lead critically being the standout.  I would say the 3rd Episode is the best of the lot, showing Cordelia's backstory, the puzzles, and the manner in which things are revealed in both the past and present was great.  The weakest element of the series was probably in Episode One with the fixing memory sequences, it was just tedious having to gather information from outside the scene and come back to change a part of the memory(the 4th Episode with Rose did a much better job with this).  Overall, a very good experience.  Thanks for making the series and look forward to the future ;D


Quote from: Jack Stryker on September 22, 2013, 08:20:06 PM
Quote from: Cez on September 20, 2013, 02:54:42 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.
I noticed this, too.

Steve Abbott | Beta Tester | The Silver Lining


I finished the episode. This is the first one I've played without having done any testing on it. I liked it. I agree that it was pretty short, but I think it is a fitting end to the story. I have to say, I'm really sad that [spoiler]John died[/spoiler] though. :-\

I must say, the timed portions were frustrating because I could barely get the cursor in place quickly enough. My computer is seriously under-powered. :( Now that I have a new job (:)), hopefully I can get a new one soon!

Steve Abbott | Beta Tester | The Silver Lining



I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Cognition!  I've been following Phoenix Online for the past three years or so, mostly because of The Silver Lining... but once I saw Cognition Episode 4 come out... decided to check it out.  I just finished Cognition the other night... and loved the whole experience from start to finish.

The art, the music, the story, the acting, and the game play were all phenomenal.  I always love seeing indie games like this get finished!  I can only imagine how hard you all worked on it.

My favorite aspect of Cognition was the storytelling.  The comic book style fit really well for this... and the story you all told... was told well.  The game really had me guessing what would happen next... and reminded me very of Sierra games like King's Quest, and Phantasmagoria... in a good way.  Yet you had your own style, and succeeded with your own game and story.

Definitely a success I'd say.  Congrats on a finishing the "season", and thanks for a great game!

-Michael Cardinal


Episode 4 was, in my opinion, the weakest of the four. It had a lot of problems, and to me it felt like problems that were there due to it being rushed - because it felt like it was.

There are spoilers here!
And I really don't feel like going amok with the spoiler tags.

I'll make a small list:
1. The kiss. I didn't mind it, though I think it could've had slightly more build up in the previous episodes. But the actually bad part is that, aside for when Erica tells Rose that she's not sure how she feels about Cordelia - which was, what? A few seconds later? - it's never mentioned, further built upon, or in any way used later on in the game. It was basically a Big Lipped Alligator Moment. It had the potential to create some very interesting drama, but instead it was just forgotten about.

2. The pacing. Sadly, it was all over the place, and it made the game feel cluttered and chaotic.

3. Cordelia. She was a good character, up until this episode. Even though there were dialogue I liked with her in this episode as well, her reasoning for killing fell short. And that carried a lot of weight.

4. Death. "Get it right the first time, or die!" This was very annoying! I don't mind being able to die, but there was just too much of it here. And why on earth do I get the "Agent Reed: Killed in action" screen when I die as Cordelia in her flashback? That did not make sense at all.

5. Unskippable line of dialogue. During the puzzle with the levers, Cordelia way too often tells Erica to "keep at it," or something, in a long line of dialogue about how what Erica says can work together with her precognition. I think I heard that line between 10 and 15 times, and I could not skip it! Very annoying! It should not have come up that many times in the first place. But even that would've been acceptable, if I could've just skipped it every time. But no.

6. Areas. There were very few of them in this game! And the only free movement you had was when going between the cellar and the living room at the lake house, or between outside and inside at the same place in Cordelia's flashback. This is one of the things that added a lot to the game feeling rushed. It only had the bare minimum of areas to get the story through. But you could, for example, easily have had an extra 30 minutes of gameplay just in the police station alone. And that's an area which you wouldn't have needed to make from scratch. Or how about one or two more rooms at the lake house? That could've been used for some exposition, add some tension, or even build on the relationship between Erica and Cordelia. But instead, you went for only the very bare minimum, and that made it feel rushed and, I'm sad to say, lazy.

7. Key code. At the very end, Erica got the code while under the stress from the very real danger of being doubly skewered. But then she can't use her powers while out and safe to get the full code and open the door? Or if the three digit code she, herself, got was the full code, why didn't she use it? This just did not feel well thought out at all.

8. Terrence. Poor guy! Erica's apparently Erica's bestest friend, and he didn't even make a cameo at the end. Completely left out of the second half of the series. :(

9. Bugs. There were way too many of them. Especially for such a short game.

That's it for the bad, so let's move on to the good! :)
1. McAdams. He finally became more believable, and was better written in this episode than in the previous ones.

2. The prequel scene. It was very nice to see what had happened just before the intro to Episode 1.

3. Choices. You actually had choices that had an impact on the outcome.

4. Corridor 9. I really had a laugh when I saw the name of the author of this book, because it is one of my best friends in real life. Had to give him a call to tell him about it, as he hasn't gotten started on Episode 4 yet.

5. The ending. It was very good! I liked it a lot, and the part with John was done beautifully! (Though I have to ask, is that a new power of hers? ;) )

So yes, this episode had a bit too many problems. But it was worth playing, and the ending was worth it! But I wish the majority of the problems and flaws hadn't been there, so that the series/season could've ended with a bang. Sadly, it didn't.

But all in all, I must say that the games as a whole is very good, and absolutely recommendable to fans of the genre! I'm very happy to have played through it, and had a great time doing so! I am also very glad I backed this project on Kickstarter, something which seems a long time ago now.

Thank you for making this game, and I do hope you'll make a second season! Would love to see what happens next in the life of Erica Reed! :D


Well put Guyra, I agree with much of what you said. This episode was not bad, just not as good as the others. was there a path where I can use Keiths drugs or is that a red herring?

Jack Stryker

Quotewas there a path where I can use Keiths drugs or is that a red herring?

I'm guessing that was just to explain where she got the drugs that she used on Tess and Sully.

Brain Stew

Finally got enough time squirreled away to play Episode 4 straight through. So I'll talk about that before summing up how I feel about the whole season.

First of all, I think the team should be credited for being ambitious. There's a lot of ideas in Episode 4 that didn't work for me, but I like that y'all just went for it. Kudos.

Things that worked:
Cain Killer toys with Psions. That was a lot of fun and something I don't recall ever seeing in a game. Here the puzzle makers know you can cheat to solve the puzzles and designs them to prevent it.
The Fire Room puzzle. Fantastic and intense. I wish there was more of this type in the final level.
McAdams. Finally started to seem both more like a person in charge of a government agency and like more than a stock character type. 
Switching back and forth between Cordelia and Erica. It was underused but it made for some interesting action.

Things that didn't work:
Cordelia. For me, the team never nailed her tone. I didn't buy her as a vigilante serial killer. There wasn't a strong enough contrast between who she was as a sweet patron of the arts and who she was as a killer. Too chipper even in the face of absolute horror. Scene with her brother in flashback should've been the lynchpin of the entire family drama but fell flat for me.
Rose scene. Why did Cordelia think it was so important for Erica to see Rose's memories? What did that accomplish that was so urgent in the hunt for the Cain Killer? Also, was it or me or did Rose's accent get a lot more Jamaican sounding?
Brian in jeopardy. Meh. The whole set-up to that ending felt contrived to me. I didn't like how we got there. If it was meant to echo Scotty and Erica it failed because Brian was passed out the whole time and the scene just stalled.

Things I was in the middle about
Sudden approval meter and variable choices. Sometimes it felt too gimmicky but sometimes it worked as intended. I personally, held Cordelia accountable for her crimes in conversation. The problem is... maybe that decision shouldn't have been in my hands. To me it's pretty obvious, Erica wouldn't see Cordelia's side of things despite seeing Cordelia's side of things.
The Kiss. It really wasn't earned. It was bold but not super well thought out.
The ending. Ghost wasn't super well done. That could've been accomplished with art direction or tone but as is, it was a little hokey. Also killing off another character, just didn't mean much at that point. More shocking if he's alive. The tease of more Erica Reed adventures is a win, but I can't help but feel that her leaving the force was a little underdeveloped.

Overall. The season was a win but I don't think the team stuck the landing. I think some bad design choices and underwhelming villain(s) whose performances couldn't capture the terror at its worst or the emotion at its deepest , hurt the whole. Bring on more Erica Reed adventures. She's a great character. 

"Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing." -S.P.


It took so long to download (errors... slow connection...) and when i played was so late and i was sleepy and tired... i'll play again soon. Whatever /o/
I couldn't save Jetta, sad ç_ç THE_KISS: was so nice *-* i wanna write so many fanfics about it /o/ I liked the puzzles... for the 1st time i didn't needed help o.o' My baby Cordelia died ç_ç why? *cries forever* I wish McAddams had died instead of John ¬¬ When Erica met Sully i realised what an intense week that girl just had XD

The episode was fast o.o it felt shorter than the others... I didn't mind plot gaps, while i was playing i was just into it and didn't mind anything else XD I liked, i cried, the overall was good...

Season 1 was AWESOME. I'm just glad the game exist, please make seson2!

I shall sleep now @_@/


Quote from: GrahamRocks! on September 27, 2013, 11:49:28 AM
What kind of computer is it anyway?
It's the laptop that I got in 2007 or so, and it wasn't exactly top of the line even then. :-\
AMD Athlon 64 X2 TK-55 1.80 GHz, 4 GB RAM.

Steve Abbott | Beta Tester | The Silver Lining


I'm not sure if this has been brought up, but there is one part of the ending that I didn't really understand. How did Cain Killer get away from John?? He could barely even walk, and looked like he was near the brink of death (which makes sense for someone who was chained up for three years). Was John seriously that worthless that he was overpowered/outrun by a living corpse?


Cain was faking it--he'd been in the room the whole time, knew who he was dealing with, and played up his injuries.

Katie Hallahan
~Designer, PR Director~

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

I have a blog!


So, I bought this wonderful game on Steam the moment it became available, and stayed up way too late playing them to completion, finishing Episode 4 at about 2am last night. The story was that gripping. So kudos on that. I've really been appreciating the higher profile of point and click adventure games lately, and I'm certainly looking forward to whatever comes next from you guys, in the Erica Reed universe or an entirely different story.

That said, I feel I have to agree with some of the other posters who mentioned the pacing of Episode 4. It did feel a bit rushed. I think the episode would have benefited from a bit more time spent in the middle part of the story, between Erica fleeing from the FBI and Erica getting caught again. Perhaps Erica would have to accept Cordelia's help in laying low for the night, until they can go get the Cain Killer, or something? That would have allowed more time for Cordelia's motivations to become clearer, and for that kiss to built upon.

Still, as I said before, I'm satisfied with the game, and looking forward to whatever comes next. Hopefully that means more Erica Reed though!


Thank you Uzzy! Hope your late night didn't result in any nightmares (I've been told our visuals have done that to some!) Welcome to the forums, and I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the game! :) And thanks for the feedback as well.

Katie Hallahan
~Designer, PR Director~

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

I have a blog!


Just watched Toe's last episode of Cog this morning.

Phoenix Online? I have one thing to say...

I LOVED Cognition! Just... Everything! :D


Quote from: GrahamRocks! on October 09, 2013, 09:47:59 AM
Just watched Toe's last episode of Cog this morning.

Phoenix Online? I have one thing to say...

I LOVED Cognition! Just... Everything! :D

YAY! We should celebrate with Caek! :D