THE VANISHING OF ETHAN CARTER
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on August 3, 2015
A couple of weeks ago, we featured The Vanishing of Ethan Carter in our top 3 and thought it was really intriguing. Well, since then, we had the chance to play this game for ourselves and see if it lived up to our expectations. If it did or not will have to remain a mystery for a little while longer, letís first have a look at the game itself.
So, first things first; what is The Vanishing of Ethan Carter? According to the official website, ďThe Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person mystery game focused on exploration and discovery.Ē And although this description is accurate, they forget to mention that this game features one of the best looking game-worlds out there, easily! The design, details and texturing are unlike anything weíve ever seen. It looks so amazing, I found myself waiting for the cutscene to end, so I could start playing. Only, what I was looking at wasnít a cutscene at all!
Upon starting the game, it claims that: ďThis game is a narrative experience which does not hold your handĒ, which usually means that you are dropped into a world with absolutely no clue what to do or where to go. This is also the case in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. But you know what? Itís not a problem! Just walking through the serene and somewhat eerie world is an experience in itself, one that wonít leave you unaffected. While making your way through a beautiful dense forest, youíll receive some information about whatís going on from our protagonist, Paul Prospero. Paul is a detective with a knack for the occult and the ability to Ďcommunicate with the deadí. A few days ago, Paul received a letter from a young boy named Ethan Carter, begging him to come to Red Creek Valley. From the tone of the letter, Paul gathers that the boy is up the Red Creek without a paddle and travels to Red Creek Valley. Being the psychic he is, Paul immediately senses something is very wrong here and starts exploring the area.
This is basically all I can tell you about the story of the game without completely wrecking it, so letís just leave it at that. So itís on to game mechanics. The control scheme of the game is really straight forward and simple, letting you focus entirely on the story and your surroundings. This really is a good thing because, as mentioned before, the story gets better and better as it unfolds and the environment looks absolutely stunning! Notwithstanding this fact, the game wonít play itself! So itís up to you to explore your surroundings and unravel the mysteries that enshroud Red Creek Valley. Paul can sense certain things when close to an object and uses this ability to piece together clues that will aid him in solving the crime scenes he comes across.
So did The Vanishing of Ethan Carter live up to our expectations? Not only that, it surpassed them by a mile! Itís a game that just breaths atmosphere and mystery. Itís not an action game, so donít expect to be battling ghosts or other demonic forces, but rather expect to be transported to a world where nothing is what it seems and everything might be a clue as to what the hell is going on there.
Iíd just like to congratulate indie developer The Astronauts on making one hell of a beautiful game and hope theyíll stay on the path they have chosen, because itís a good one! In any case, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a brilliant game for those of us who like to do something a little more in-depth than achieve a kill streak of 28í675í367í902 in the latest rendition of todayís more popular shooters. Donít get me wrong, I like these games as much as the next guy! But sometimes, just sometimes, a game that takes it all a bit slower and has lots more to offer story-wise is just what the doctor ordered!
So with all said and done, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter left me with a sense of fulfillment as well as a sense of bewilderment. This couldnít be it, could it? It canít already be over?! There has to be more! But alas, my time as psychic detective Paul Prospero was at an end. But hey, with any luck, thereíll be more stories...
THE VANISHING OF ETHAN CARTER
July 14, 2015