Name: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Developer: The Astronauts
Publisher: The Astronauts
Released: 18.01.2018 (Xbox One)
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Acquired: *A copy of this game was provided from publisher for review purpose*
After its initial release on PC in 2014 The Vanishing of Ethan Carter was developed on the Unreal Engine 3. It was later released as a Redux version one year later, on PlayStation 4 and PC, upgraded to the Unreal Engine 4. And now Xbox One owners have a chance to try out this first-person exploration game, that focuses on tone, freedom, and environmental storytelling.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter caught me by surprise with its beautiful environments and how vivid it looks. This is the Unreal Engine at its best, and is used really well, to enhance your surroundings and immerse you. Often I would just stop to have a look around to see how good it is, and what was around me. There was sometimes frame-rate drops, but nothing that ruined the experience.
You play a detective on the trail of the titular missing boy in rural Wisconsin. You have the ability to see into the past and piece together memory fragments, which play out in the form of Ethan Carter’s great puzzles. These smart challenges reward you with bits of backstory, and the actual act of solving them fits in with the tone of the game. It’s a interesting plot and I was always wondering “what have happened here”, and “what has this to do with Ethan”. Through the puzzles you unveil more information, and get a clearer picture of what’s happened. So this was something fresh and exciting.
This is a puzzle adventure, where you can freely roam the entire place whenever you want. The game starts of with “This game is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand.” and that couldn’t have been stated better. When you start of you don’t know anything, not what you are looking for, or what you are going to do. You stumble upon puzzles and thing of interest as you free-roam. And I often wondered if it was pure luck that I found some of the stuff I did, or if it was intended that I would go there. Around the map you will find certain items or places that triggers your interest, some of it will give you these “flashbacks” that will show you the locations of items that is missing, but you will have to find out where it is by looking at the environment around it. This is genius and makes you excited to look around for it. There are many puzzles to solve, but some of them stands out. In an abandoned house you will use your “powers” to figure out which room fits where to uncover its secrets.
Controls is simple and basic to use, and will give you no problems. You steer as in every other fps. And you can duck, run and zoom. Only thing I have to mention is the camera, when looking around the camera shifted so sudden, that after sometime I could get really “motion sick” but then I luckily found some options to tweak that in the menus so it worked out fine.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a beautiful and great game, and will give you some hours of enjoyment. But with that said and done, after you finished the story there is not much to do. You can free-roam as much as you like, but that’s about it. So this might be a game you play once, and will have a great time with.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a fresh breath if you feel you have played the same type of games for a while, and delivers something I didn’t know I liked that much. It’s beautiful and really shows what Unreal Engine 4 is capable of. With creative puzzles that was fun trying to solve, and would sometimes test your skills
Replay Value: 7/10
Total Score: 8,5/10
“Maybe not a must buy, but this is a game with high quality”