The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Image
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77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critic Reviews What's this?

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7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery game that focuses entirely on exploration and discovery. It contains no combat or explosions of any kind. If our game leaves any scars, we hope you wont be able to see them.

    You play the game as Paul Prospero, an
    The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery game that focuses entirely on exploration and discovery. It contains no combat or explosions of any kind. If our game leaves any scars, we hope you wont be able to see them.

    You play the game as Paul Prospero, an occult-minded detective who receives a disturbing letter from Ethan Carter. Realizing the boy is in grave danger, Paul arrives at Ethans home of Red Creek Valley, where things turn out to be even worse than he imagined. Ethan has vanished in the wake of a brutal murder, which Paul quickly discerns might not be the only local murder worth looking into.

    Inspired by the weird fiction (and other tales of the macabre) from the early twentieth century, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter aims to significantly evolve immersive storytelling in games. While it features a private detective and quite a few mental challenges, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is not an especially puzzle-ridden game. Our focus is on atmosphere, mood, and the essential humanity of our characters.

    Still, the discoveries wont happen on their own, or without your help. Using both Pauls supernatural skill of being able to communicate with the dead, and your own powers of observation, you will discover the mystery behind a trail of corpses, the roots of a dark ancient force lurking in Red Creek Valley, and the fate of a missing boy.

    Key Features:

    * Explore and interact with the beautiful yet ominous world of Red Creek Valley, which was created with the use of revolutionary photogrammetry technology that allows for nearly photorealistic environments.
    * Communicate with the dead and see how they died in order to gather clues that help you piece together the truth behind Ethans disappearance -- and the fate of his family.
    * Experience, in non-linear fashion, a story that combines the pleasures of pulp, private eye, and horror fiction, all of it inspired by writers such as Raymond Chandler, Algernon Blackwood, Stefan Grabinski, and H. P. Lovecraft.
    * Conduct the investigation on your own terms and at your own pace. Although there are a few scary bits in the game, players will have no need for sedatives. Our game is less about terror and more about clammy unease.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Jan 23, 2018
    90
    The photorealistic visuals stand the test of time and even in 2018 it looks absolutely breathtaking. It's definitely one of the best looking games on console with an equally moving story.
  2. Jan 15, 2018
    87
    A highly captivating narrative experience, with stunning environments and an intriguing story. A must play.
  3. Jan 23, 2018
    80
    With a nice short, sharp and enticing story, a truly colourful and beautifully realised setting and an achievement list you’ll have mopped up within a few hours, there are many reasons you’ll want to add this fine story adventure to your must play list.
  4. Feb 6, 2018
    80
    The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a solid experience that I really enjoyed taking. It could have benefitted from a little more structure and fleshing out the characters a bit more. Still, it is great to finally have the game come to Xbox, and I am happy to have experienced it.
  5. Jan 21, 2018
    75
    An interesting proposal that we've seen twice before it's Xbox release. Although it's one of the most beautiful games that you can find on Xbox One X, but not one of the longest or fastest.
  6. Official Xbox Magazine UK
    Feb 26, 2018
    70
    A flawed but still enthralling narrative adventure that's worth experiencing. [March 2018, p.82]
  7. Jan 18, 2018
    65
    The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is described as a game that sets itself apart from other walking simulators due to the addition of puzzles and engagement. It’s a shame however that these very additions are easily the weakest points in the game. The story may well be interesting and it’s certainly a stunning experience, but it takes a lot more than that to truly stand out.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Jan 29, 2018
    9
    The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is hands down the most beautiful, awe inspiring game I have ever played. I found myself stopping and justThe Vanishing of Ethan Carter is hands down the most beautiful, awe inspiring game I have ever played. I found myself stopping and just admiring the small details you find in the game’s world. The individual blades of grass, the wood grain on trees, and all the other details you find throughout are simply amazing. This truly evokes a sense of wonder and mystery as you wander through the game’s environments. The recent Xbox One edition does offer some additional visual options, such as an open frame rate; however, I did not change any of these settings as I found the default to be perfect as is. I can’t wait to reload the game once I acquire an Xbox One X in the future, as this is one of the many titles that features updates for the ultra-powerful console.

    This title is akin to a walking simulator, although there is a very deep and enriching story for those who take the time to explore the open world, with a number of items that you must find in order to progress. It does not hold your hand whatsoever, which is stated at the beginning of the game. After consulting a guide after being stuck for a period of time, I determined I missed a lot of details or objectives at the beginning of the story. I feel like a hint system would have made my time with the title a bit more enjoyable, since I opted to restart the game opposed to backtracking. While I did not find the puzzles to be overly challenging, finding the necessary items or linking the chain of events was a bit of a chore at times.

    The story is the selling point here, with the supernatural themes presented managing to check the horror boxes I am always searching for. You won’t be running to turn on the lights, but some of the set pieces are truly disturbing and are likely to send a chill down your spine. The eerie, vacant areas evoke a sense of tension that I have not experienced since Silent Hill 2. While you won’t be battling deadly creatures or running to hide from a supernatural threat, you always feel like there’s something dreadful under the surface.

    While The Vanishing of Ethan Carter won’t be for everyone with its slower pace and lack of player direction, it is a game that if you feel the slightest bit of interest in, you should purchase immediately. There isn’t anything new to see here for those that have played the game on other systems, but the story does ensure you’ll be looking forward to future endeavors from The Astronauts.
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  2. May 2, 2018
    9
    All in all this is one of the most stunning games I’ve played and it certainly is a massive change from getting killed by a fluke grenade onAll in all this is one of the most stunning games I’ve played and it certainly is a massive change from getting killed by a fluke grenade on CoD. I would highly recommend playing it to anyone but would certainly advise you to take your time when doing so. There is a lot of Red Creek Valley to explore and I have to admit it all looks fantastic. Expand
  3. Nov 14, 2019
    8
    Right off the bat, this is one of the most beautiful games I've played in quite a while. You can easily get some beautiful desktop wallpapersRight off the bat, this is one of the most beautiful games I've played in quite a while. You can easily get some beautiful desktop wallpapers from this game. I was running this game on the Xbox One and had no issues with the frame rate or graphics quality of the environment, so thumbs up all around here.

    I wish I could say the same thing about the character models, though. They're decidedly "last-gen" in terms of graphics quality and it creates a rather eerie effect in contrast to the beautiful scenery.

    Yes, the game is quite short. Even if you're achievement hunting, you can finish it in about 2 hours. To me, that's fine. The game still accomplishes what it set out to do anyway.

    I respect that the game doesn't hold your hand through it all and there's no invasive HUD elements that pull me out of the immersion.

    I'm not quite sure how to feel about the ending; it left me wondering what the story was about and how it all ties together. Perhaps another play through and/or some more research on the game is needed.

    Overall, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a good, dare I say, even great game that has my full seal of approval.
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  4. Jan 19, 2018
    8
    "This game is narrative experience that does not hold your hand." The first words leaving you with a haunting feeling of being lost. As you"This game is narrative experience that does not hold your hand." The first words leaving you with a haunting feeling of being lost. As you begin to traverse the world, every blade of grass animated to perfection in the Unreal Engine, discovering who you are, why you're there, and what you can really do. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person exploration game set in an open world environment, urging the player to roam and explore the game in any order they so choose.

    You play the game as Paul Prospero, a detective with strange, occult powers who has received a letter from Ethan. The letter explaining the boy was in grave danger and needed the detective's help. You arrive in Red Creek Valley to discover there has been a brutal murder and it might not be the only one. Your paranormal abilities involve seeing fragments of memories and past events. The game is filled with smart challenges with the reward of backstory and more mystery.

    As the investigation continues, Prospero learns the dark secret of the Carter family. Ethan has released a spirit know as the Sleeper, threatening the lives of those in Red Creek Valley. Believing that only Ethan's death can appease the Sleeper, Ethan's Uncle and Mother attempt to sacrifice him. Inspired by Love-Craftian themes and macabre tales from the early twentieth century, the game immerses you in story and atmosphere.

    Dark undertones paint the beautiful landscapes. I found myself stopping just to look across the horizon, attempting to appreciate every swaying tree, blade of grass and puffy cloud. It is truly a masterpiece on the Xbox One X as a title in the Xbox One X Enhanced collection. A must buy and a must play, few games will have you racking your brain to solve a puzzle and finding such joy when it has been pieced together correctly.

    I have always enjoyed open world games and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter gives you so much world to explore, at whichever pace you care to, in whichever order you figure it out. The discoveries will not happen on their own and not without your help. You'll have to use both Paul's paranormal abilities and your own powers of observation to solve the mystery of the trail of corpses in Red Creek Valley and the fate of the vanished boy, Ethan Carter.
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