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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Quick Review


The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a story-driven mystery game played from the first person perspective that focuses on exploration and discovery to reveal the answers to the games mysteries.

Developer: The Astronauts
Publisher: The Astronauts
Genre: Adventure
Format: Playstation 4
Release Date: July 14th, 2015
Copy provided by publisher
Holding Hands Not Allowed..

"This game is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand." That's the very first thing you see after starting up a new game and man they weren't kidding. After a brief narrative that gives you the gist of why you're in Red Creek Valley, you gain control of Paul Prospero, a paranormal detective of sorts, and the game basically says have at it. There is no waypoint to follow, no objective telling you what to do, nothing. Just the freedom to begin exploring and look for clues that reveal the story, a story that I will not spoil btw but I will say it's very intriguing, and that's how this entire game is. That's also what I like the most about it. Solving the mysteries of this game without any help at all was one of the most satisfying feelings I've gotten from a game a quite a while.

The lack of direction and info about the town made the setting almost as mysterious as the story and just made me want to explore even more. I'm guessing that's what they were going for and they nailed it. There are some open spaces but overall the game is pretty linear so you won't waste too much time searching an area that has nothing in it to discover. There are some letters, notes and newspaper clippings to be found that help tell the story as well. With a little exploration and diligence, the truth about what went down here will be revealed to you in no time. Well, in about 5 hours...


Gameplay

The control scheme is fairly simplistic. All you have is a run button, a crouch button that I never really found a use for, an interact button and a zoom button to take a closer look at things. And since there is no combat or a reason to jump that's all you need. Gameplay mainly consists of walking around, or running, and discovering clues then interacting with them to recreate a timeline of events. There are a few items you will need to pick up and place elsewhere to help establish what exactly happened in some places but not many.

As for the gameplay, the best way I can describe it is by comparing it to the crime scenes in Murdered: Soul Suspect. The way you complete those crime scenes is pretty much the whole game here, just on a larger scale. Basically, the entire town of Red Creek Valley is one big ass crime scene.


Graphics & Sound

This game is no slouch in the graphical department. It's definitely one of the better looking games so far this gen. The amount of detail in this game impressive and the wooded areas almost feel alive. The eerie look of this game really puts off the feeling that something ain't right with this place.

Another thing the gives you the sense that somethings wrong with Red Creek Valley is the sound design. The ambient music does a good job at creeping you out just a bit in parts and some of the sounds you hear while walking through the woods are enough to make you turn around and make sure you're alone.


Conclusion

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is worth a playthrough. It has an interesting story, great graphics and sound and is a nice change of pace from the norm. The one strike I would give it is the lack of replay value once you complete everything in the game.

Summary
+ Story
+ Graphics
+ Sound
+ Atmosphere
-  Lack of replay value

Score: 8.5/10 "Great"


What I played: 6 hours completing the game once and unlocking 14/14 trophies
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