Game Info: (Box Display)
- System: Xbox One, PS4, PC
- Publisher: The Astronauts
- Developer: The Astronauts
- Release Date: Jan 19, 2018
- Rating: M for Mature
- Genre: Adventure
- Players: 1
- Official Website: http://ethancartergame.com/
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
Immediately, when you begin The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, you are warned that this title doesn’t hold your hand while playing. That should give you an idea of what to expect once you begin to lose yourself in Paul’s world in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Totted as a horror adventure title—though its not truly scary if we’re being honest—The Vanishing of Ethan Carter has players exploring an open world filled with various mysteries and strange puzzles. As with any adventure game, the main way these titles shine is through their gameplay. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is no exception and we will say the gameplay is truly pretty dang good.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter has players controlling Paul as he scours Red Creek Valley for clues in finding out what transpired in town. Players do this by finding random items and spots of intrigue to then understand what transpired in that area and how its important to the main narrative. You’ll find yourself searching every nook and cranny of Red Creek Valley looking for clues at times but thankfully most clues are locked to a specific area making this mission a little less daunting. That means if you’re trying to solve a mystery of what happened in a mining area for example, you won’t need to leave that area to find all the clues. They are all in that one area and are just hidden away to make you really dig around to find them.
For some gamers, this might seem more tedious than fun. Well the reason why it’s fun in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is because the story is woven into each mystery puzzle. You’re going to want to find clues because you’re going to get immersed in the narrative being presented. Each new clue leads to a new discovery and in turn leads to more story being revealed in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. It’s very—and we mean very—rare that a title can accomplish this but The Vanishing of Ethan Carter does a phenomenal job of keeping the players hooked in this short 2-hour story. While we say 2 hours by the way that’s only if you know where to go, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter can take several hours to play if you’re trying to 100% the game and you’re going to try that if you enjoy nabbing the true ending of the story.
If there is any complaint about the gameplay portion of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter it would be that at times it can be rather annoying when you reach the end game. It is here where players will have wanted to solve every mystery in Red Creek Valley as the true ending is locked behind having done everything story specific prior to reaching this point. We won’t spoil why that’s the case—it does make sense on the grand scheme of things—but expect some backtracking if you just run through The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Though for some this might also not be a bad thing because of the other element that makes The Vanishing of Ethan Carter so amazing.
Graphically, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is superb even 4 years later. Clearly developer The Astronauts put some higher quality visuals into the Xbox One version and with 4K resolution support you can tell the difference. Grass looks more lifelike and even the draw distance is greater than it was before. Needless to say, even without 4K resolution, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter looks stellar. The same can be said of the voice acting and music which keep the world of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter feeling real and engaging. When you’re in small abandoned homes or in wide open fields the background music keeps you truly immersed. We said that word a lot today in our review of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, but that’s what makes this title so amazing truly. Immersion is rare with horror adventure games, but The Vanishing of Ethan Carter does this by using supernatural themes in the art and music to make players glued to the screen in anticipation of what they can discover next not jump from jumpscares.
Now, here’s the last point we wish to discuss about The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Should you buy if you have played the PC or PS4 versions? Aside from a new free roam mode—which we didn’t talk about as it literally is just the ability to walk around aimlessly in Red Creek Valley and nothing more—and updated visuals, there isn’t much to regain if you have fully completed The Vanishing of Ethan Carter before. For only $19.99, you’re getting a great deal if this is your first romp through but for many of us we have played The Vanishing of Ethan Carter numerous times before over the course of 4 years. That’s why we’re saying this: Only buy The Vanishing of Ethan Carter for the Xbox One if you truly are a die-hard fan of the game and or haven’t ever played it before.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- Still impressive visuals but now with 4K support
- Great adventure gameplay with a ton of things to discover
- Intuitive adventure gameplay that blend narrative together
- Truly amazing story
- Strong OST and Voice work
- Free roam
- No real reason to replay if you have other versions
- Still has some gameplay repetition elements that make the game a chore at times