Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Jan 23, 2018
    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
    A highly captivating narrative experience, with stunning environments and an intriguing story. A must play.
  3. Feb 6, 2018
    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.
  4. Jan 30, 2018
    The Vanishing of Ethan Carter’s too much focus on story telling might prevent it from offering a true adventure experience, but nevertheless the story, atmosphere and world design is so solid that you’ll just love it.
  5. Jan 23, 2018
    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.
  6. Jan 21, 2018
    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.
  7. Official Xbox Magazine UK
    Feb 26, 2018
    A flawed but still enthralling narrative adventure that's worth experiencing. [March 2018, p.82]
  8. Jan 22, 2018
    The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an early narrative adventure game that outdoes some of its later counterparts in ambition. That ambition is sometimes misguided and ultimately problematic for the storytelling, but a moving final scene with a major reveal salvages the overall story. Mixing in lots of different game mechanics and puzzles is an interesting pre-Edith Finch look at the genre. It still looks gorgeous now four years on from its original release, and it delivers a strong sense of time and place, but above all else, Ethan Carter is trying to move you with its narrative. In that regard, it's a story worth telling, but not always a story well told.
  9. Jan 18, 2018
    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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. Jan 19, 2018
    "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.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 29, 2018
    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.
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 18, 2020
    It's a great game, it's really something different than you could find on the video game market...give it a try ! Yes, it's not perfect, theIt's a great game, it's really something different than you could find on the video game market...give it a try ! Yes, it's not perfect, the game is way to short but it created its own atmosphere. Full Review »