Have you managed to recover from taking in that behemoth of a title? From now on, the game will be referred to as Cognition, just to save everyone’s sanity… and my fingers. But don’t let the lengthy name put you off. This is indie studio Phoenix Online’s first commercial output, having already worked on The Silver Lining, a spiritual successor to the King’s Quest series; and it’s always refreshing to see a new studio begin with an adventure title as its something of a rarity these days. For a commercial debut, Cognition is a good effort that will keep fans of classic adventure games happy and newcomers enthralled in the story.
There’s a reason why Cognition is such a strong game – the story has had a helping hand from adventure guru Jane Jensen. For a new studio, Phoenix were massively lucky to have Jensen on board with the project and her golden touch shines through. She’s not the only big gun the developers have on their side either; the stunning artwork was done by none other than Romano Molenaar, a comic book artist who has worked on big titles like Hellboy, Spider-Man, The Darkness and Conan. Truly these are some formidable allies to have on your game.
So it’s only natural that Cognition has gone for a comic book inspired visual style, with gorgeous 3D cell-shaded graphics layered on top of beautiful background paintings. Speech boxes appear in conversation using a comic style font, making it seem like you’re playing a motion comic rather than a game. The visuals are incredibly effective and easily one of Cognition’s strongest assets.
Titular protagonist, Erica Reed is an FBI agent based in Boston, who begins the game tracking down a mystery figure who has taken her brother, Scott. But she ends up being too late, and becomes haunted by her brother’s death.