The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a story about a boy who has gone missing. It is a first person exploration game where you need to piece together memories of some events that have taken place. Ethan stumbled across something he wasn’t supposed to and as a result of that his family has become very sick. Throughout the game you will have to solve puzzles which will allow you to see what happened to the family and what the ultimate fate was for each member. The events are often twisted and violent and you won’t really know what is happening. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a very interesting game where you need to explore the environment and piece together clues to try and get to Ethan before it is too late.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is all about navigating the environment and solving puzzles that will give clues as to what has happened to Ethan and his family. As such there is no combat in the game at all. There is one instance in the game where you can die but that is a bit later in the game when you are exploring some mines. Other then that you are free to explore until your heart is content. The puzzles in the game are quite interesting and will definitely require some thought. You go through the game as paranormal investigator Paul Prospero. Ethan wrote you a letter describing what he had seen and you decided to check it out. In the beginning of the game you will have to find a series of traps in the forest. As you find each trap you will be able to “sense” them which will in turn give you another piece of the puzzle. Once you find all of the traps you will be able to see the full picture and you will travel to what seems to be like a parallel universe. Once you are there you will do what you need to and then go back where you came from and proceed on to the next puzzle. Throughout your investigations you have a number of tools at your disposal. There will be times when you can “sense” things that happened. There will be other times where you can see different moments in time and you will have to put them together in chronological order so that you can see the scene play out. There will be other instances where you have to search the environment for a missing item. This is all done with the game leaving you alone to do your thing. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter does not hold your hand in any way so you are left to figure things out on your own.
As you progress through the game you will come across some different stories. They are all quite different and will put you in some strange scenarios. I don’t really want to give any details away because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you but there are definitely some locations you would have never expected to see in a game like this. Aesthetically this game is gorgeous. You start out in a really nice forest, eventually you come to a bridge where you can look out over a giant lake and see some buildings in the far distance that you will eventually visit and more. There were many times when I simply stopped moving and just took some screenshots of the environment. One of the other really nice things is that there really isn’t any loading in the game. Everything flows together nicely and keeps you immersed in the experience. The lighting is fantastic and there are at least a few different environments that you will go through so you don’t get bored.
With that said though The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a pretty short game. There are going to be those that love everything about this game and those who might think it is far too short. It only took me a few hours to get through and if you are a trophy hunter you can get them all in one playthrough. I missed a couple of trophies during my initial playthrough but once you beat the game you can “warp” to different areas of the map so it was easy for me to go back and gt them. The price of admission at the moment might be a little high for some but I can honestly say I enjoyed my time with the game. The only real gripe I have with it is the section with the mines. It seemed to be really confusing and there wasn’t a whole lot that was impressive about that one particular section. There are some nice story elements that take place there but aside from that it was the most frustrating part of the game. This is due to the majority of the environment within the mines looking the same, trying to make your way through a maze while not disturbing someone that had been doomed to wander the mazes forever and stop people like you and more. Once I was done with that section I was happy to be out of there and continued on enjoying the rest of the game.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first person exploration game. There is no combat with the focus instead being on solving environmental puzzles and putting together memories so that you can find out what happened to Ethan and his family. There are a number of different stories that you will come across as you are playing this game with each one being very intriguing and taking you to some really odd (and cool!) places. It is a fun game that tells a really good story and with virtually no loading you are constantly immersed in the experience. If this is your type of game then I highly recommend that you purchase it. If you aren’t quite sure then check out some trailers as this definitely won’t be for everybody.
Originally posted on Gaming Target