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Full disclosure: I'm still only on the first episode. However, I've been playing for several hours, and I can't see the rest of the game changing much in terms of gameplay. The good: The graphics are beautiful: crisp, colorful, and very sleek. The music is also noteworthy. The plot and settings are interesting, with a dark, gritty feel, and do a good job of making you feel like a homicide detective. The contextual cursor is well designed, intuitive, and easy to use. The "Cognition" feature (where Erica can see ghostly traces of the past) is well done, and gives the game depth. Puzzles are, for the most part, fairly logical, and most dialogue and cut scenes can be easily skipped.

The mediocre: The voice acting is Playstation worthy. Think of the first Resident Evil, and you're on the right track ("I hope this is not...CHRIS'S BLOOD!"). There are a few exceptions, though.

The bad: The game is full of immersion-breaking moments. Unfortunately, the actual script is awful, and it's obvious that the devs didn't do a bit of research regarding police work or crime scene investigation. Even the medical info provided by the coroner is wonky. A grizzled old vet like Erica's partner (John) would certainly know that "hypoxia" was a lack of oxygen; I know you need to tell the player what it means, but please don't ruin my immersion to tell me. And what FBI agent grabs crime scene evidence with her bare hands, and what forensics examiner wouldn't chew her out for it (he actually tells her to “go ahead and take it with you, but keep it clean” after they've both handled it without gloves)? For that matter (and this is not a spoiler; it occurs in the demo and the first few minutes of the first chapter), what agent would pull a loaded weapon on her partner without expecting some bad things to happen to at least her career (if not prison time)? Another weird moment was Erica thinking (telling me, the player, after I clicked for her to talk with some other agents) that she didn't have time to socialize, then her partner (from across the screen) commenting aloud on what she had just *thought*.

There are technical issues, too. Dialogue between characters plays on top of each other during cut scenes, they talk to each other's backs, and Erica sits behind her own chair, hanging in mid-air. At times, you'll have to talk to someone *immediately* after saying “goodbye” just to see another topic open up. Another moment has the game continually asking me if I want to "Skip Cutscene?" every time I click, even though there is no cut scene playing.

I'll keep playing (mainly because I'm out $20), but my advice is to wait for a sale. The style and plot gets 5 stars, but the buggy performance and script drag it down. If poorly written dialogue and the glitches aren't a big deal for you, then kick my 3 star rating up to 4.
Post edited September 13, 2013 by SpiderFighter
After playing the demo portion and reading the review, i can say i'm not fully understanding some of you'r points.
1: What do you mean by 'Playstation worthy'? Do you mean low quality recordings/sound or about the acting by the VO's?
2: Some of the bad you indicate would say it's not bad. During the scene, Erica was extremely clearly under emotional stress so the idea of her threatening a co-worker isn't that far-fetched, showing her stress clearly to the audience and her co-worker. The more confusing situation would be when she shot the lock off the first gate (that does make little sense to me/ lazy beginning puzzle).
3: With some game/shows, a small amount of allowances can be given. The alternative would be a puzzle where you have to get out gloves every time you want to pick up evidence. The other alternate of it being in the cut-scene/as a cut-scene just makes it a waste of time for the player for the most part and development.
4: Minor but it's on sale right now for $20 so the sale recommendation makes little sense. It's on 33% off currently and when you purchased the game it was at sale price.
I have not played past the demo version on their website so i can't say my opinions on the finish product btw and am thinking of getting the series later this week based on the demo.
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Howardhammers1: After playing the demo portion and reading the review, i can say i'm not fully understanding some of you'r points.
1: What do you mean by 'Playstation worthy'? Do you mean low quality recordings/sound or about the acting by the VO's?
2: Some of the bad you indicate would say it's not bad. During the scene, Erica was extremely clearly under emotional stress so the idea of her threatening a co-worker isn't that far-fetched, showing her stress clearly to the audience and her co-worker. The more confusing situation would be when she shot the lock off the first gate (that does make little sense to me/ lazy beginning puzzle).
3: With some game/shows, a small amount of allowances can be given. The alternative would be a puzzle where you have to get out gloves every time you want to pick up evidence. The other alternate of it being in the cut-scene/as a cut-scene just makes it a waste of time for the player for the most part and development.
4: Minor but it's on sale right now for $20 so the sale recommendation makes little sense. It's on 33% off currently and when you purchased the game it was at sale price.
I have not played past the demo version on their website so i can't say my opinions on the finish product btw and am thinking of getting the series later this week based on the demo.
Hi!
1) I mean the acting is pretty bad all around. Some massive Shatner-worthy ham going on. There are some exceptions, though. There is a character in the middle of the first episode who is exceptional, and quite moving.
2) Oh, it's not all bad, for sure. I thought I said that.
3) Point taken, but if you're going to waste time having several characters talk about an egg salad sandwich (!), then you can take the 2 seconds to show her putting on gloves before picking up crime scene evidence.
4) And I would say, pick it up, if you're interested. There are definitely some good moments, but there are some other things that just bring it down.

I've finished the first episode, and there are some pretty amazing bugs to be found. Erica floated across an entire area about 4 feet off the ground, and there is a room near the end that has quite a few glitches in it, and it also causes one of the characters to behave in very odd ways (graphically). The exclamation point for me was the 7 or so minutes of end credits where my computer was held hostage (although I could alt+tab out to the desktop while it finished).

$20? Maybe. At $5 a game I guess it was okay; I got a few hours out of it. Although, I can honestly say that if they'd been available separately, there's no way I'd buy the rest.
Post edited September 13, 2013 by SpiderFighter
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SpiderFighter: 3) Point taken, but if you're going to waste time having several characters talk about an egg salad sandwich (!), then you can take the 2 seconds to show her putting on gloves before picking up crime scene evidence.
The reason Erica doesn't use gloves is because her cognitive powers only work when in direct touch/skin contact with the object. This is made clear in the game and ever more so if you read the prequel comic where Dr. Gallagher tells her to wear gloves but she refuses because she wants to use her power.
Post edited September 19, 2013 by jon0945
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SpiderFighter: 3) Point taken, but if you're going to waste time having several characters talk about an egg salad sandwich (!), then you can take the 2 seconds to show her putting on gloves before picking up crime scene evidence.
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jon0945: The reason Erica doesn't use gloves is because her cognitive powers only work when in direct touch/skin contact with the object. This is made clear in the game and ever more so if you read the prequel comic where Dr. Gallagher tells her to wear gloves but she refuses because she wants to use her power.
I can understand that if a piece of evidence has already been collected (although I don't think any game should force me to refer to other mediums for their logic to make sense; show me in the game). As an FBI agent though, she'd tell someone else with gloves on to collect evidence before she uses her powers on it, instead of just grabbing it off the floor (for example). There's no way she'd ever be allowed at a scene without following basic protocol.
Post edited September 19, 2013 by SpiderFighter
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jon0945: The reason Erica doesn't use gloves is because her cognitive powers only work when in direct touch/skin contact with the object. This is made clear in the game and ever more so if you read the prequel comic where Dr. Gallagher tells her to wear gloves but she refuses because she wants to use her power.
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SpiderFighter: I can understand that if a piece of evidence has already been collected (although I don't think any game should force me to refer to other mediums for their logic to make sense; show me in the game). As an FBI agent though, she'd tell someone else with gloves on to collect evidence before she uses her powers on it, instead of just grabbing it off the floor (for example). There's no way she'd ever be allowed at a scene without following basic protocol.
You don't NEED to look in the comic, if you listen to the dialog it's made perfectly clear. The comic just spelled it out in big letters.

Also, Erica isn't particularly good at follwing regulations or doing things by the book, hence her trouble with her bosses.

And the game is a paranormal murder mystery thriller. Not a documentary on police procedure or a CSI game. They're allowed some leeway. If following correct police procedure is important to you I can recomend the old Police Quest games here on GOG.com (and even they didn't introduce gloves for evidence handling until the 4th game)
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SpiderFighter: I can understand that if a piece of evidence has already been collected (although I don't think any game should force me to refer to other mediums for their logic to make sense; show me in the game). As an FBI agent though, she'd tell someone else with gloves on to collect evidence before she uses her powers on it, instead of just grabbing it off the floor (for example). There's no way she'd ever be allowed at a scene without following basic protocol.
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jon0945: You don't NEED to look in the comic, if you listen to the dialog it's made perfectly clear. The comic just spelled it out in big letters.

Also, Erica isn't particularly good at follwing regulations or doing things by the book, hence her trouble with her bosses.

And the game is a paranormal murder mystery thriller. Not a documentary on police procedure or a CSI game. They're allowed some leeway. If following correct police procedure is important to you I can recomend the old Police Quest games here on GOG.com (and even they didn't introduce gloves for evidence handling until the 4th game)
Look, I don't want to argue with you. If the game works for you, that makes me happy! I wish I could suspend disbelief enough for it to work for me, so I mean that sincerely.

Here's the thing about "a paranormal murder mystery thriller. Not a documentary on police procedure or a CSI game:" They set it in the real world of an American FBI precinct, not an alternate reality. Boston, Mass, USA. That means the game has already set up an expectation that it will follow real world rules. It doesn't (I'm not talking about the paranormal stuff, merely the physical world things, like chain of evidence). Again, it's great that you can overlook that; it's more difficult for me to.

EDIT to add: I looked around other reviews to see if I was the only one who feels this way, and I'm not. This guy feels the same way, and maybe his writing makes it more clear: http://www.gamecritics.com/sparky-clarkson/cognition-episode-one-the-hangman-review
Post edited September 19, 2013 by SpiderFighter
Alright man, we don't need to argue. I merely think you're being unfairly harsh to a good game based on a minor detail, but this will be my last post on the subject.

And the one lone negative review out of 19 on Metacritic (9 other possitve and 9 mixed) is not what I call representative of what the other critics thought.
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jon0945: Alright man, we don't need to argue. I merely think you're being unfairly harsh to a good game based on a minor detail, but this will be my last post on the subject.

And the one lone negative review out of 19 on Metacritic (9 other possitve and 9 mixed) is not what I call representative of what the other critics thought.
I don't want to argue either, but when you start putting words in my mouth, then I kind of have to respond. :)

I believe I said "this guy feels the same way," not that my opinion was "representative of what the other critics thought." I think it's great that you're passionate about the game, but please take a breath and read what I've actually posted. If you look at my review, you'll note that I said many favorable things about it right off the bat. However, I didn't rate it as bottom of the barrel. I didn't say I hated it, and I didn't base my rating "on a minor detail." I gave it 3 out of 5 stars; that's average, and I stand by it (in fact, I even wrote " If poorly written dialogue and the glitches aren't a big deal for you, then kick my 3 star rating up to 4," so I'm not even sure why we're having this non-argument. :) )

When I walk into a room and an NPC is on the floor looking for something halfway across the room from where I left him, but I have to click on the space where he's *supposed* to be to interact with him, then that's a problem. When I waste twenty minutes looking for a new way to progress and, then by accident, discover that if I had only clicked on the *same* person I just left after exhausting the dialogue tree, because a *new* tree opened up without me doing anything, then that's a problem. If (as many people have complained) the game keeps freezing during map screens, then that's a problem. If graphics aren't aligning properly, then that's a problem. If I'm trying to click on an object and the game won't let me because it wants to know if I want to "skip the cutscene?" - and there's no cutscene playing - then that's a problem. Note that I'm only talking about the technical issues that plague the game; that's not even counting the silly dialogue, horrible voice acting (with a couple of exceptions) or deus-ex-machina storytelling.

I'm not sure why you chose to only focus on her not putting on gloves, but that lack of basic police procedure certainly isn't a game breaker for me. If you put it together with all those other things I've mentioned (and many more I haven't), however, plus the *very* short play time for each chapter (and, yes, I've finished it now, and my rating stands) then it does make it harder to love this game. Again, if you do love it, then that's great...but please don't deride me because I'm not spewing puppies and rainbows along with you. In my opinion, it's a fair game, and nothing more.
Post edited September 20, 2013 by SpiderFighter
U know what ,FUCK this game...I've finished over 150 adventure games,most of them without any hints, and I believe that alone makes me a very patient man.Do u know what I do for a living ?I'm an engineer ...do u know what that entails? half my time is being spent on debugging.I have completed super meat boy,dark souls and ghost and goblins and what game made me rage quit? yeah u guessed it ,this fn' piece of s**t.Why? Developers here's a piece of advice...make everything SKIPPABLE ! I know ur trying to build tension,to make us invested in the story,to prevent us from skipping crucial information and in the process mask a loading screen or two, but guess what your game has bugs,so many bugs.And I don't want to go through 30 minutes of video,conversations,and character animations for two minutes of gameplay every time the game freezes or crashes.I prefer sitting through skyrim's loading rotating thingies and trivia to this mess.And another thing, don't tell people to place their mouse on a specific spot on the screen,change display modes or whatever,to avoid freezes....PATCH YOUR SHIT.I don't care if this is an indie project,you're not the first small team to make a game and you're not the last,everything gets polished over time.Your grace period is up,the first episode has been out for almost a year,make it work damn it!
First episode is buggy. 2nd episode has a bug that delays all actions but fixes most of the first episodes bugs. Episode 3 and 4 is smooth. They said they'll fix the earlier episodes since they said that the fixes in the later episodes have not been applied to episode 1 yet.
The script wasn't that awful, I found, for an adventure game, most of the lines seem natural enough for the characters saying them. The game's not meant to be a police procedural, so I was willing to give them some slack for some dramatized elements in the police work (especially in Episode 4 - the weakest one for me, I guess due to its brevity) It does have some pretty fantastical elements to it though that gets added in later on.

After all 4 episodes, I think it was a fairly decent adventure game - if pressed I'd give it 70-75%, the puzzles weren't too obtuse and were fun enough to solve (especially in Ep 3 with the interplay of powers). Technically the dev team seemed to get better, I did laugh when they fixed Erica's sitting at her desk, but they could still use some work

Raleigh Holmes as Erica was ok, but she kept slipping in and out of her acted accent, which was a bit jarring.